10 Class TUE OCT 05
What does music look like?
Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, Part 1.
Beethoven String Quartet 16, in F major, opus 135, 4th movement. Grave. Allegro.
A Note about the Process.
- The purpose of assigning a Hypothesis very early in the semester was not to put you behind or thwart your progress, it was to get the ball rolling.
- You identified a topic. It wasn’t well-defined or as sharp as it would need to be to support an academic argument, but it was SOMETHING meaningful that prompted you to begin to explore source material.
- From here, the process is cumulative and flexible. Instead of wasting your time “brainstorming” about your vague notion, you start to read in your area of interest. From here, the process is cumulative and flexible. And repetitive. Instead of wasting your time “brainstorming” about your vague notion, you start to read in your area of interest. From here, the process is cumulative and flexible. And repetitive. Instead of wasting your time “brainstorming” about your vague notion, you start to read in your area of interest.
- AS YOU GATHER AND INVESTIGATE SOURCES, your vague notion begins to crystallize. You start to have ideas, find angles, develop theories, encounter surprising details you can’t wait to share!
- You gather the best of those sources into your White Paper and cluster them around WHATEVER HAPPENS TO BE YOUR BEST WORKING HYPOTHESIS.
- As the semester continues, you do more research, abandon early ideas, refine your thinking, place new sources into conversation with old sources, and DEVELOP A THESIS YOU CAN PROVE.
- AT NO POINT IN THE PROCESS is there a place where you can get stuck thinking, “I have to solve this problem before I can continue.” Moving forward is the solution.
- You write early drafts of short arguments along the way. First a Definition/Categorical argument. Then a Causal Argument. Finally, a Rebuttal argument, all based on your developing thesis.
- Each of these arguments can be revised as many times as you wish, always for grade improvement.
- Eventually, the entire project coalesces into a single 3000-word, well-researched, carefully argued Research Position Paper that proves a single thesis.
Late Assistance on the PTSD Claims
Sample Claims Analysis:
Consider these claims, some obvious, others hidden
When Caleb was finally screened for the severity of his TBI, Brannan says he got the second-worst score in the whole 18-county Gulf Coast VA system, which serves more than 50,000 veterans.
— “finally screened” means that according to Brannan or the author or both, Caleb should have been screened long before. It suggests that the VA was negligent in delaying his testing.
— “the severity of his TBI” clearly contains the claim that he in fact has some degree of TBI. The fact that he hadn’t until then been screened for it means nobody knew for sure that he did, but the author makes that claim.
— “Brannan says” means that the author has not independently verified Caleb’s score or where it ranked against all other screenings.
— “the second-worst score in the whole 18-county Gulf Coast VA system” is offered as Brannan’s claim that her husband is suffering more than almost anyone. Considering her vested interest in promoting this perspective, we have to be at least a little suspicious of the ranking.
— “which serves more than 50,000 veterans” gives the impression that Caleb was hurt worse than 50,000 other veterans. But let’s be clear. Many of these 50,000 will not have served in combat at all. Many will not have had active engagement with enemy troops on the battlefield. Many of those who did see active fighting will not have been near explosive devices. So we’re not comparing him to 50,000 TBI sufferers.
Mandatory makes them sound like an unpleasant chore, but for me they have been delightful opportunities to chat with students I don’t often get to speak with one on one. Most of you remembered to return to the chart to leave me feedback and a record of the progress we made together on your Hypotheses.
Although I have now met with many of you for your Mandatory first-half conferences (and will meet with another eight of you today), that still leaves quite a few that haven’t made or kept an appointment.
If we haven’t conferenced yet, let’s fix that right now, please. Before things get out of hand, get yourself to the Chart and make an appointment for WEDNESDAY, or THURSDAY, or beg me for one on FRIDAY.
Conferences are required for several reasons.
- 1) They’re entertaining for you and for me.
- 2) Early guidance on your Hypothesis is the surest way to get your research project on track before it’s too late.
- 3) The class does not wait for students to catch up. A week from now, you’ll be sharing your first 5 Sources in your White Paper. Without a strong, narrow Hypothesis, gathering sources is a waste of your time.
One small problem with our signup system: Google does not alert me when you make an appointment, so unless I go looking for it, I can miss one. Please remember to text me when you set yourself an appointment. The chart exists to avoid double-bookings.
If you’re REALLY lost, the access to the Professor Conference Chart begins under the Syllabus Plus menu.
I’ve been very upfront about requiring you to respond to feedback, but disappointed that so few of you are taking me up on that offer (threat). Perhaps you’re not receiving Notifications when you get a Reply to your posts. Let’s spend one minute to review that process.
Early Warnings about Hypotheses
Most of us have now chatted about your hypotheses, so this little section is directed at students who haven’t conferenced. For them, I offer some warnings about common Hypothesis warning signs.
A COMMON PROFESSOR OBJECTION
Your proposal for a hypothesis is risky, MyStudent, because OVERLY POPULAR topics like the one you propose pose three very real problems:
1. WORNOUT TOPIC. The arguments about them are so completely exhausted there is very little new another paper can add to the discourse.
2. PLAGIARISM RISK. The ready availability of research papers for sale create a very tempting situation for students who feel pressured to finish something original at the end of the semester.
3. RISK OF FAILURE. More than one of my students have failed the course by borrowing heavily from papers on marijuana legalization, violent video games, an end to abortion, and the negative effects of social media on the mental health of youth.
YOUR PROFESSOR’S GO-TO ADVICE
My approach to anyone interested in these broad topics is threefold.
1. I try strenuously to guide them away from the topic toward something fresh and untrodden.
2. If that fails, I help them craft a unique perspective on the topic that avoids most of what’s already been written and researched.
3. If that fails, I demand very strong, very early, and well-documented evidence of original research before the halfway point of the semester. Students who show they’re doing their own work before the end of the semester mitigate the appearance that they might be trying to copy their way to a finished product.
4. If those steps fail, so too, usually, does the student.
The White Paper Task
- Your Professor’s White-Paper-in-Progress
- 5 New Sources
- Link to sources in your White Paper
- Sketch the Bibliographic data
- Purposefully Summarize New Sources
- Use Research Tips to find New Sources at Google Search or Rowan’s Campbell Library Database
- We’ll cover “Research Tips” on THU OCT 07
DEADLINE: TUE OCT 12 (11:59 MON OCT 11)