Joining the Conversation: A Guide and Handbook for Writers
Third EditionMike Palmquist; Barbara Wallraff©2017
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Writers are made, not born.
Don’t be intimidated by the blank screen. Joining the Conversation features real students like you and offers smart, friendly advice for the writing you do, in class and in life. A brief handbook offers accessible guidance on grammar, style, and mechanics. This book includes the essays and assignments you need in order to do your coursework.
Table of Contents
Part One: Joining a Conversation
Chapter 1: Understanding Yourself as a Writer
Why think of writing as conversation?
What should I know about writing situations?
What should I know about genre and design?
What should I know about writing processes?
How can I prepare for a successful writing project?
Chapter 2: Finding and Listening in on Conversations
How can I analyze an assignment?
How can I find interesting conversations?
How can I “listen in” on written conversations?
Chapter 3: Reading to Write
How can I read critically?
What strategies can I use to read actively?
How can I read like a writer?
Chapter 4: Working with Sources
How can I take notes?
How can I evaluate sources?
Chapter 5: Working Together
How can collaborative activities improve my writing?
How can I use peer review to improve my writing?
How can I conduct an effective peer review?
What resources can I draw on as I review and collaborate?
Part Two: Contributing to a Conversation
Chapter 6: Writing to Reflect
What is writing to reflect?
The Writer’s Role: Observer
What kinds of documents are used to share reflections?
Memoir: Margo Jefferson, Negroland
Humor: David Sedaris, Keeping Up
Photo essays: James Mollison, Where Children Sleep
Literacy narratives: Salvatore Scibona, Where I Learned to Read
Genre Talk: Reflective Writing
How can I write a reflective essay?
Student Essay: Mi Famiglia, by Caitlin Guariglia
Chapter 7: Writing to Inform
What is writing to inform?
The Writer’s Role: Reporter
What kinds of documents are used to inform?
Informative essays: Liana Aghajanian, Stealth Generation
Infographics: INA/Princeton University, Magic Bean Shop/The Fries that Bind Us
Profiles: Rivka Galchen, An Unlikely Ballerina
Radio news reports: Bill Chappell, Four New Elements Are Added to the Periodic Table
Genre Talk: Informative Writing
How can I write an informative essay?
Student Essay: To Spray or Not to Spray: DDT Use for Indoor Residual Spraying, by Ellen Page
Chapter 8: Writing to Analyze
What is writing to analyze?
The Writer’s Role: Interpreter
What kinds of documents are used to present an analysis?
Articles: Carly Lewis, The Writing on the Virtual Bathroom Wall
Rhetorical analyses: Brooke Gladstone, The Goldilocks Number
Analytical blog posts: Scott Barry Kaufman, Why Creativity Is a Numbers Game
Issue analyses: Peter C. Baker, Reform of the Nerds
Genres Talk: Analytical Writing
How can I write an analytical essay?
Student Essay: Deadly Force: A Conservative Political Writer Takes On a Quickly Evolving Issue, by Mackenzie Owens
Chapter 9: Writing to Evaluate
What is writing to evaluate?
The Writer’s Role: Evaluato
What kinds of documents are used to share evaluations?
Scholarly essays: Eileen Ferrer et al, Playing Music to Relieve Stress in a College Classroom Environment
Media reviews: Jon Dolan, Adele ‘25’
Evaluative interviews: Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer, The Truth about Food Stamps (Hint: They Work and Help Millions)
Professional reports: High HOPES Campaign, Restorative Justice in Chicago Public School
Genres in Conversation: Evaluative Writing
How can I write an evaluative essay?
Making Better Choices: Two Approaches to Reducing College Drinking, by Dwight Haynes
Chapter 10: Writing to Solve Problems
What is writing to solve problems?
The Writer’s Role: Problem Solver
What kinds of documents are used to solve problems?
Problem-solving articles and essays: Anneke Jong, Leveling the Playing Field: How to Get More Women in Tech
Proposals: Carpenter, et al, Iowa State Bike Share Studio
Opinion pieces: Patrik Jonsson, Five Ways to Reduce Mass Shootings in the U.S.
Advice: Chris Colin, Carpe FOMO
Genre Talk: Problem-Solving Writing
How can I write a problem-solving essay?
The Truth about Puppy Mills: Exposing a Heartrending Industry, by James Hardjadinata
Chapter 11: Writing to Convince or Persuade
What is writing to convince or persuade?
The Writer’s Role: Advocate
What kinds of documents are used to convince or persuade?
Argumentative essays: Anu Partenen, What Americans Keep Ignoring about Finland’s School Success
Advertisements: Men Can Stop Rape, Where Do You Stand?
Point/Counterpoint editorials: David W. Kreutzer, Solar Power Presents Significant Environmental Problems; Don Kusler, We Need to Continue to Invest in Solar
Open letters: Charlotte Alter, An Open Letter to Open Letter Writers
Genre Talk: Argumentative Writing
How can I write an argumentative essay?
Student Essay: Trigger Warnings in the College Classroom, by Elisabeth Layne
Part Three: Conducting Research
Chapter 12: Beginning Your Search
How should I focus my search for sources?
How can I develop a search plan?
How can I keep track of my sources?
How can I create a bibliography?
Chapter 13: Locating Sources
How can I locate sources using digital resources?
How can I locate sources using print resources?
Chapter 14: Conducting Field Research
When should I use field research methods?
How can I conduct an interview?
How can I conduct an observation?
How can I conduct a survey?
How can I engage in other forms of field research?
Chapter 15: Avoiding Plagiarism
What is plagiarism?
What are research ethics?
How can I avoid plagiarism?
What should I do if I’m accused of plagiarism?
Part Four: Crafting and Polishing Your Contribution
Chapter 16: Developing and Supporting Your Thesis Statement
How can I develop my position on an issue?
How can I draft my thesis statement?
How can I support my thesis statement?
Chapter 17: Organizing
How can I choose an organizing pattern?
How can I arrange my argument?
How can I create an outline?
Chapter 18: Drafting and Designing
How can I use my outline to begin drafting?
How can I draft an effective document?
How can I draft my introduction?
How can I draft my conclusion?
How can I help my readers follow my argument?
How can I design my document?
What should I consider as I design an academic essay?
Chapter 19: Working with Genres
How can I choose the right genre?
How can I write an article?
How can I create a multimodal essay?
How can I create a Web page?
Chapter 20: Presenting Your Work
How can I make an oral presentation?
How can I create a multimedia presentation?
How can I work on group presentations?
How can I develop a portfolio?
Chapter 21: Using Sources Effectively
How can I use sources to accomplish my purposes as a writer?
How can I integrate sources into my draft?
How can I ensure I’ve avoided plagiarism?
How should I document my sources?
Chapter 22: Revising and Editing
What should I focus on when I revise?
What strategies can I use to revise?
What should I focus on when I edit?
What strategies can I use to edit?
Part Five. Documenting Your Sources
Chapter 23: Using MLA Style
How do I cite sources within the text of my document?
How do I prepare the list of works cited?
Chapter 24: The APA Documentation System
How do I cite sources within the text of my document?
How do I prepare the reference list?
Part Six: Handbook
Chapter 25: Style: Write Confidently
Write clear, logical sentences
Choose language that will earn you respect
Choose concise, lively phrasing
Chapter 26: Grammar: Write Skillfully
Make verbs work for you
Write in complete sentences, not fragments
Avoid run-ons and comma splices
Use pronouns to help, not confuse, readers
Use adjectives and adverbs wisely
Chapter 27: Punctuation and Mechanics: Give Your Readers Direction
Use commas to keep your sentences readable
Use periods, question marks, and exclamation points correctly
Use quotation marks when you borrow words
Use apostrophes in contractions and possessives of nouns
Use colons to point at what comes next
Use semicolons between equivalent elements
Use other punctuation in specific situations
Use sentence mechanics to convey information