TODAY1) Research and you, Part I: Veracity of a Source2) The example3) Inquiry 3 and free-writing4) Bubbl.us Time!5) “And my topic is…”6) Homework
RESEARCHTraditionally, a project like the one we are about toundertake would involve a huge stack of books. But this isnew era, and we don’t generally do research that wayanymore. Much of your research will likely be done usingthis thing we call the magical super-happy interwebz.But this introduces an interesting wrinkle: the internettheoretically represents total democracy, freedom at itsfinest. So if anyone can post… you have to check forthe veracity of a source.
Veracity: from m-w.com1) devotion to the truth : TRUTHFULNESS2) power of conveying or perceiving truth3) conformity with truth or fact : ACCURACY4) something true <makes lies sound like veracities>
SO THE QUESTION……becomes this: what out there is true andwhat out there isn’t?I used the word veracity because you’llhear politicians tossing it around thisweek. But what I really mean is that youmust find out if a source is reliable or notbefore you go incorporating it into yourpaper.Sometimes, bad sites are really obvious.
SADLY…not everyone will telegraph their Ethos for us.So things to remember:1. ANYONE with either some money or some form of subsidized access (a local library, a school, a friend) can put a website on the internet. There’s no gate-keeper.2. There are, in this world, people who lie.3. There are also, in this world, people who are ignorant.4. Notice I said “ignorant” and not “stupid.” To be ignorant is to not know. There are also idiots, who know better but do stupid things on the internet.
LET’S TEST A SITELet’s say we’re going to talk about greatpolitical speeches as part of our Inquiry 3project, tracing a line from Dr. King’s “IHave a Dream” speech to George H.W.Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light” and onto… whatever we consider to be the bestspeech so far this year.We start with Google, because we’re coollike that. And we type in “Martin LutherKing.”
CLICK!OMG! It’smartinlutherking.org!This has to belegit, right?
W. T. F. (what’s the facts?)Down the page, we find this, the attribution.The first rule of internet research: figure out whoposted/made what you’re looking at.Hosted by Stormfront? Hmmm… that’s not a nameI have ever heard. Oh, it’s a link! GLORIOUS!Let’s click it.
ON THE REAL…I looooove Google. I do. And Googleknows, because they’re watching me typethis, archiving it, and will show it topeople later. But Google is an aggregator, which meansthat when people search for something, ittabulates that into the totals and ranksthe sites most often clicked whensearching for a word. Big nerd stuff=martinlutherking.org gets a lot of hits, soit’s high on the page.
Buuuuuuuuut…Martinlutherking.org is owned by a group of hate-spewingNeo-Nazis who wanted David Duke, a known member of theKlu Klux Klan, to be President of the United States.I shouldn’t have to ask, but I will.Anyone think they’re a good source for information on Dr.King?But that was on the first page of Google’s search.At one point, a few years ago, it wasTHE TOP OF THE LIST.
So be skeptical. Always.Don’t do bad research. It’s okay– in fact for this projectto a degree it will be imperative– to use the internet todo research. It’s a big ol’ tool, perhaps the single bestresearch technology since the written word itself.But verify. Know who wrote what you see, who posted it,when, from where, on behalf of who. Don’t trust PhillipMorris for facts about cigarette smoking. Don’t trust TheEgg Council for information about eggs and cholesterol.Don’t trust Neo-Nazis at all.That last one is just IMHO.But don’t trust Neo-Nazis for info about an AfricanAmerican leader.
We can change it.Enter Franken-PowerPoint.Theme change in 3, 2….
INQUIRY 3In inquiry 3, we will be entering into a consideration ofpublic debate by looking at… public debates!This project is two parts: a research memo and aresearched argument.Your goal is to pick an argument that is somehow relatedto the Presidential campaign– my only requirement beingthat at some point either the Presidential or VicePresidential candidate on each side have commented on it.My second requirement, for your own sanity, is that it notbe something ill-conceived or petty, like the “Birther”argument.
YOUR PRODUCT……for this inquiry will be a pair of approximately fivepage texts. You can choose to compose themtogether (with a big line in the middle) or as twoseparate documents.The first piece is a research memo on the topic. In thispiece, you will gather all the information you canabout your chosen topic and synthesize it into areport. This will be packed with information andcontain NO– I repeat NO– signs of your own opinion.In the report half of this, you’re neutral , writing as agood news writer or as an amazing researcher. It’s justthe facts, Ma’am.
YOUR SECOND PRODUCT……is a five page argument for your point-of-view.It should be based on facts, and draw citations from yourresearch memo, but this piece will be all about your stanceon the issue. This is where you move from being a critic ofrhetorical strategies to utilizing them yourselves. How willyou build ethos? Do you want to make an pathos basedappeal? Logos in the house? Do you want to utilizesomething symbolic? Is it time to get hyperbolic and kick thisto the curve? You decide.The first part of this is about being fair and sticking toresearch and known facts. This second part is about, toquote my dear friend Charlie Sheen, “winning, duh!”
YOUR AUDIENCEYour audience for this inquiry is the voting populationof our great state of Ohio. I’ve chosen it because welive here and many of us grew up here or near here,but beyond knowing the terrain, Ohio is what is calleda “battleground” state.Sadly, this doesn’t mean there will be actual battles(first rule of Fight Club– never make a PowerPointslide about fight club!). What it does mean is that thepopulation of the state is split in such a way that mostviews have a counter-balance. For every conservative,a liberal. For every pessimist, an optimist. For everyBengals fan, a Browns fan.
Rubric, this time from 1501) Is the researched memo portion of the project properlyresearched, properly cited, and free from opinion/bias? 502) Is the argument portion a clear staking out of a positionby the author? 253) Is the author’s position rhetorically sound? Is thereevidence of the learning from class and the use of the skillswe’ve developed? 504) Are citations used correctly and prudently, and is outsideresearch used to enhance and support—but not tooverwhelm—the argument? 25
DUE DATESWorkshop of rough draft: October 18thDue for grading: November 1st.
Free-writingOn the next several slides are free-writing prompts.You may respond to these on your Tumblr (if youwant me to look), in a Word or other WP doc (if youwant to save them for later on your machine) or onpaper with a pen or pencil (if you’re old school).Please remember, though– keep going until I stopyou, even if you feel you’re writing somethingmundane. More ideas WILL come to you. Trust me!
Prompt 1Let’s start with something incredibly hardto think about but hopefully easy togenerate a list from.What matters to you?To be more literal, what things are mostimportant to you in terms of majorideological concepts? What do you value?
Prompt 2This might be a little heavy-handed, but Ihad someone ask me to write this once ina writing course and what I came up withwas sort of astonishing (to me). So… let’stry it.Make a list of things you’d die for.
Prompt 3Take a deep breath. Exhale.Now look at the list of things you’d diefor, and as hard as this is to imagine, try yourvery, very hardest to believe that a momenthas come and you really have to give– or atleast risk– your life for it.Cross off anything you no longer feelbelongs on the list.
Prompt 4Now it gets less Dead Poets Society andmore current events.Make a list of all the things you canremember any candidate for President orVice President making a stand on.
Prompt 5Look at all your lists.Where is there crossover between the thingsyou believe in and/or the things you woulddie for and your list of issues mentioned bycandidates?Remember, these can be unevenrelationships, or serious stretches.Make a new list of the combined things.
Prompt 6Look at your combined list.Ask yourself this question: would I feelinterested enough in this topic to spend amonth researching and writing about it?Cross off anything you can answer “no” to.
Prompt 7Look at what remains of your most recent list.Rank them in order from “the one I thinkseems the best” to “the one I think would bethe least fun/educational/awesome.”If you have more than three, spend someserious time looking at the ones after three tomake sure they don’t deserve to move up thelist.
Prompt 8Take the thing you ranked #1.Do you believe one candidate on each sidehas spoken about it? If so, begin writing aboutthe topic, listing everything you know orknow has been said.DO NOT SHARE YOUR OPINION.
Prompt 9Take the thing you ranked #2.Do you believe one candidate on each sidehas spoken about it? If so, begin writing yourstance on the topic.DO NOT REFERENCE ANYONE OR UTILIZE ANYEXTERNAL FACTS.
Prompt 10Take the thing you ranked #3.Do you believe one candidate on each sidehas spoken about it? If so, begin writing theopposite of your stance on the topic.DO NOT REFERENCE ANYONE OR UTILIZE ANYEXTERNAL FACTS.
Free-writingLook over the three pieces of writing you have.Ideally, I’d like you to pick one of them to work with,but I’m not going to force you to make that decisionuntil next class.File the three pieces away. Think about them overthe weekend. Bring them back with you on Tuesday(or better yet, put them on your Tumblr).
HOMEWORKGo here: https://me.lib.muohio.edu/ . Login, and do it. It’s a library tutorial. We’ll talk more about its content nextclass.Tumblr question: What is your Inquiry 3 topic? I’ll be holdingyou to this.Tumblr prompt: the first Presidential debate is Wednesdaynight. I won’t force you to watch it (you should, though). Iwill ask you to do this, though: if you don’t’ watch,somehow use your ninja research powersto find out if your topic was mentionedand write a summary of what each personsaid about it.
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