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Multimedia Academic Literacy


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This presentation has been used to guide workshops on research and academic writing conventions for upperclassman and first-year graduate students. However, it could be adapted for a first and second year student audience. The content is rich, emphasizing reflection, research/inquiry, as well as grammar. This material also demonstrates how to use new media as part of an overall research strategy. The presentation is designed to be presented interactively with writers across the disciplines, multilingual writers, and any writer unfamiliar with the academic writing process. The content is not linear, as many slides could be clipped and customized for integration into a first-year writing course, or even a session or workshop for graduate student writers of any classification.

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Multimedia Academic Literacy

  1. 1. Multimedia Academic Literacy: Academic Writing in the Age of Emergence Author: Alexandria Lockett, Ph.D.
  2. 2. • Who writes it? • Who reads it? • What are readers' expectations? • What are the writers’ responsibilities? • How does living in an information age affect what is perceived as 'academic What is Academic Writing?
  3. 3. • ResearchGate received $35 million from Bill Gates in 2013 • Elsevier bought Mendeley for almost $100 million • “Research in 2014 is a Brutal Business.” (Nature Editorial) • Corporate R&D at Rochester Institute for Technology (Chronicle, 2009) • Academic libraries spent a total of approximately $2.8 billion on information resources. Of that, expenditures for electronic current serial subscriptions totaled about $1.4 billion (National Center for Education Statistics, Academic Libraries: 2012 First Look) • During fiscal year 2012, academic libraries spent approximately $123.6 million for bibliographic utilities, networks, and consortia (National Center for Education Statistics, Academic Libraries: 2012 First Look) The Business of Research
  4. 4. Purpose: Create new knowledge through (re)discovery Exigence: Innovate frameworks, theories, and methods Methods  Investigate a specific problem that clarifies or explains some broader issue  Develop practical applications to solve What is the Purpose of Research?
  5. 5. One of student's major anxieties about research is the "ME FIRST" problem! - You are NOT a journalist, your job is to help us understand a story about the process of discovery, not 'break' stories. - You cannot OWN knowledge, you may acquire awareness and go through a process of conveying how you came to this awareness. Another major problem is lack of curiosity. Google may offer you access to an avalanche of data, but it cannot convert that into The Problem with Frontier and Google Logics
  6. 6. Introduction/Background • What is your reason for writing? • Who is talking about the problem? How do they talk about the problem? • What will your paper add to the discussion? Methods • How did you research the problem? Why did you do it that way? Findings • What did you discover? • How are your findings similar (and different from) to others’ researching the problem? Discussion • What are the implications of your findings? Why is your investigation’s discoveries significant? Conclusion • How do you anticipate other researchers utilizing your study? What is useful about the overall study? Map of an ‘Research Paper’
  7. 7. Introduction/Background • What is your reason for writing? • Who is talking about the problem? How do they talk about the problem? • What will your paper add to the discussion? (THESIS) Body • How did you know your thesis is true? What specific reasons and evidence demonstrate the validity of your main claim? Possible Evidence: - Discuss how others’ researched the issue (e.g. Secondary education plays a major role in social stratification. According to Jean Anyon’s seminal article, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work,” children are socialized into the habits of certain types of careers.) - Discuss others’ research methodologies and findings (e.g. Anyon identifies four types of schools based on wages—blue collar schools, middle class schools, professional affluent schools, and executive elite schools. Her taxonomy correlates with the distribution of federal funding across school districts. Testing pass rates at ‘professional affluent schools,’ for instance, far exceed those of the ‘blue collar schools.’) - Connect patterns among different sources (e.g. The negative effects of incarceration rates are acknowledged in several disciplines ranging from neuroscience, anthropology, and political science). - Discuss how researching the problem a certain way led to some conclusion(s)? (e.g. When I compared Anyon’s claims to Jonathan Kozol’s arguments about the resegregation of secondary schools, it became apparent that race and class intensifies inequality. Map of an Academic Paper
  8. 8. 1. Identify how a problem has been discussed (e.g. key terms/concepts, references). 2. Determine what is limited about the discussion o Connect missing or overlooked links. o Identify the limitations of an accepted framework or methodology o Deliberate about the impact or accuracy of some phenomena o Dispute the accuracy, relevance, or importance of findings Step 1: What’s the Conversation?
  9. 9. To demonstrate your credibility, you need to communicate about how the topic has been discussed to show that you can add something valuable to the conversation. Visit Google Scholar and Google Books before you do a general Google web search. After you do a general search, visit Google News and Google Trends, as well. Introduction and Background
  10. 10. Consider the difference between an information question and a research question: Do Americans perform better than Norwegians on standardized tests? Vs. To what extent do standardized tests adequately measure human intelligence? Step #2: Asking Good Inquiry Questions
  11. 11. ● BEFORE you do your research, recall your purpose. ● Take an hour or so and write down everything you already know about your topic ● Set the writing aside for at least a day. Come back to it, re-read it and ask: o How did I come to these conclusions about my object of study? o Who has already studied these matters? How did I come into contact with them? o What do I need to know more about? Step #3: Planning Research
  12. 12. Who's doing the research? ● Some disciplines don't do 1st person, but others may. Check with advisors and instructors. ● Planning your research will help distinguish between your thoughts and your sources ● What's the difference between personal experience and personal opinion? o Experience is knowledge, belongs in the realm of facts o How you interpret the relationships between your personal experience and other phenomena belongs to the realm of The "I" Problem. Seeing like Who?
  13. 13. You may have a personal experience, and you feel you've gained knowledge from it. However, when communicating that experience to others you have to teach us about that experience by showing us how you came to your conclusions about something. Pay very close attention to the kinds of experiences researching teaches you. The "I" Problem Continued
  14. 14. • Save time • Reduce or eliminate anxiety over being "original" or plagiarizing • Begin assessing how much you need to prove • Reflect on what kind of argument(s) you are making • Articulate your thought process more clearly • Integrate personal opinions that directly Additional Benefits of Planning Research
  15. 15. Write down what you are researching and why it is important in no more than THREE sentences. Feel free to focus on the problem, its significance, or its methods. (5 Minutes) How should someone search for your research? Which keywords identify your project? Write down as many as you can, in as many combinations as you can. (5 Minutes) Share your writing with the person next to you, and briefly discuss each other’s projects. As you talk about your projects, expand the set of keywords that ‘tag’ your research interest. (10-15 Minutes) Step #4: How do you Query?
  16. 16. • Boolean Logic: Broad/Narrow – "search a phrase": Search a phrase – AND: Both terms must appear in the result – OR: Expands searches Google Logic: Domain Specificity Additional Resource: Stay up on Google Politics! Quering Tips: The Algorithm
  17. 17. • Locate sources (can access with Woodruff remote access log-in) • Link to sources being cited (useful for background and evidence) • Observe titles of articles and note how your topic is discussed: – Which terms recur – Which authors recur – What story do these titles tell about both your research topic and research questions – What are the conflicts/events? scenes? characters? resolutions? Using Google Scholar
  18. 18. The Corpora (BYU/Google Books) Search for trends in key words featured in books for the past 100 years or so. Google News Customizable Another great way to find trends in current events. Search in realtime. Customize by key words. Modify dates. Query for Trends
  19. 19. AUC E-Resources • Academic Search Complete • PubMed • PsycINFO • JSTOR • ScienceDirect (Elsevier) • ProQuest Historical Newspapers Navigating Databases
  20. 20. • Citing Social Media: /how-to-cite-social-media-scholarly- writing/ How to Cite Social Media
  21. 21. Think of your opening as an appetizer. – Have you articulated the purpose/significance in a way that will make your audience hungry for more information? (tip: Don't start with definitions) Be direct in your approach, clearly map out your research plan. – Your research problem/question and methods should be clear within the first page if not your first paragraph. Your introduction invites your audience into your world of experience. Introduction
  22. 22. 1. What's the problem? 2. What's the scope and scale of that problem? 3. Who has tried to (re)solve it? 4. What additional approaches are needed to (re)solve it? 5. What are you proposing to do about it? 6. What are the projected benefits of doing it that way? To whom? Tip: Use these questions to develop a concise abstract! Organizing the Introduction: A Heuristic
  23. 23. Enables you to establish credibility and trustworthiness to your audience Proves that you are sensitive to how researchers talk about a subject, which makes people want to listen to you! Demonstrate how you came to the conclusion that you research problem/question is worth investigating Literature Review
  24. 24. • What's a brief definition of the subject and its importance? • Who seems to get cited most often? Which critiques are prevalent? • What trends exist (e.g. sub-topics) – Do I notice any key terms/concepts/methods recurring? – Do I notice that one work seems to be cited over another? – Do I notice certain conflicts? Do I notice that these conflicts take on different types of conversation? Strategies for Lit Review
  25. 25. • When articles stand out to you, select them. • Begin an annotated bibliography. – Here’s what this work is about: type of source, main argument, evidence presented, etc. (summary) – Here’s why I think this work is important, significant, useful, need to be critiqued, etc. (interpretation) – Here’s where and how I plan to use this work in my actual paper (utility) • [Note that any of these sentences may serve Strategies for Reviewing Literature
  26. 26. Transitions: Paper is literally a path…a path through the evolution of your thought. Like any trip, we need markers to let us know where we have been and where we are going. Stop signs, street lights, even advertising markers for attractions. Approximating reality happens in two interdependent ways: - Causal - Evaluative Grammar Tip: The Transition
  27. 27. Writing is ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS! Chronological or Causality: These demonstrate connections based on time and consequence. - First, Next, Third, Finally (All paragraphs point toward a central thing from which they emerge) - Consequently, By consequence, As a result (something is interdependent on what came before or what comes after) Exemplification: These indicate that your paragraph is demonstrating or proving something is true. ● Attribution: Citing an authority, Introducing evidence o As X states, Y points out, X opines, Y notes, X argues ● Illustration: For example, For instance ● Comparison/Contrast: In contrast, However, Nevertheless, Similarly, Likewise, Since ● Reinforce: Moreover, Furthermore, Additionally, In addition ● Summarize: In sum, In conclusion, As a result Grammar Tip: Transitions (Con't)
  28. 28. Once you've justified why you are doing what you are doing, you can write a methods section. This section lays out precisely how you are investigating your subject, why you've designed it that way, and what you think you may find. • Qualitative Approach • Quantitative Approach Both are valid, depends on your field and topic! Methods
  29. 29. Another difficult section. Use plenty of qualifiers to present the findings. Don't want to draw massive conclusions from small tests. Don't overreach, but don't underestimate what could be interpreted as interesting results. Don't fear being "wrong." If your hypothesis doesn't check out, offers yet another way of figuring out how to resolve the problem! Findings
  30. 30. Truth should be offered as a contextualized measurement. The following words assist you in this expression: Examples: Sometimes, May, Often, Typically. Can you think of more? I'll compile your responses into a list. Grammar Tip: The Qualifier
  31. 31. Being assertive and correct feels great, but we can't always be sure we are right! Being honest about what your study can't prove helps you increase your credibility to other researchers in the field. Gravitas goes a long way in building trust with others. When you do the lit review, note how and where in the article researchers admit to their limitations. Play with different ways of Limitations
  32. 32. Similar to the introduction, I should feel as if reading your research was totally worth it. Make me hungry again! Instead of simply repeating the introduction, offer us some implications: How can others benefit from your project? In what ways do you see others utilizing your findings or methods? Conclusion/Implications
  33. 33. Categorical Argument X is a Y Definition/Evaluation Argument X is a (effective) Y Resemblance X is like Y Causality X leads to Y Proposal X should do Y Claim Structures
  34. 34. ● Learn the language of your discipline. Even if it seems difficult, you can't change it until you understand it. ● Put on your anthro hat: How do researchers attempt to perform their identity as members of X field? Where do you find these performances in their research? ● Don't hesitate to question the terminology if you have ample evidence that concepts or terms are inadequate ● Don't use big words to appear smart if you don't know what they mean. Complex ideas rendered simply make big impact Word Choice
  35. 35. Who's doing what? (helps with the active voice) Try to always include a subject and a verb. Even scientific writing needs to be animated! Sentence Structure
  36. 36. Example: Many people were upset about The Bell Curve, calling it offensive to populations such as African-Americans. ---or--- Many researchers argued The Bell Curve reified segregationist attitudes towards African-Americans because Herrnstein and Murray claimed a direct link between race and intelligence. Active and Passive: ANIMATING
  37. 37. Example: This project is important because it will benefit healthcare initiatives. ---OR--- This project establishes a connection between genetics and risk-taking behavior. If this link is taken into account by healthcare professionals, rehabilitation efforts may become more effective. Active and Passive: ANIMATING
  38. 38. Revision is actually re-writing the draft! This involves modifying claims, moving around paragraphs, adding transitions, or eliminating chunks of writing altogether. Revision may require you to revise your REASONING, as well as your writing! Several revisions may be required. Note: Editing happens after revisions are made. Editing without Revising is Wack and Revision Vs. Editing
  39. 39. Editing involves modifications on the sentence-structure level such as adding commas, changing words, inverting subjects/verbs, eliminating the use of "to be," etc. To recap: Editing involves correcting grammatical errors. However, editing is NOT simply minor changes. For instance, modifying the passive voice to Revision Vs. Editing
  40. 40. Alexandria L. Lockett, Ph.D. Resources