An Insider's Guide to Academic Writing A Brief Rhetoric

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-10-16
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Based on the best practices of one of the most innovative and productive first-year composition programs in the U.S., An Insider’s Guide to Academic Writing: A Brief Rhetoric is the ideal way to prepare students no matter which discipline they are entering. Through a series of flexible, transferable frameworks and concrete connections to the disciplines—including unique Insider’s video interviews with scholars and peers—it helps students use a rhetorical lens to adapt to the academic writing tasks of different disciplinary discourse communities.

In addition to this brief, rhetoric-only version, The Insider’s Guide is also available with a thematic reader that foregrounds real readings from the disciplines. Use ISBN 978-1-319-02030-9 for this version without readings.

Author Biography

Susan Miller-Cochran is Professor of English and Director of First-Year Writing at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on instructional technology, ESL writing, and writing program administration. Her work has appeared in College Composition and Communication, Composition Studies, Computers and Composition, and Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and she is also an editor of Rhetorically Rethinking Usability (Hampton Press, 2009) and Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition (NCTE, 2002). Before joining the faculty at NC State, she was a faculty member at Mesa Community College (AZ). She has served on the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication and the Executive Board of the Carolinas Writing Program Administrators. She currently serves as Vice President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

Roy Stamper is Senior Lecturer in English and former Associate Director of the First-Year Writing Program in the Department of English at North Carolina State University, where he teaches courses in composition, rhetoric, and American literature. He is also academic advisor to the department’s Language, Writing, and Rhetoric majors. He has been recognized as an Outstanding Lecturer in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and is a recipient of NC State's New Advisor Award. Prior to his current appointment, he worked as a high school English teacher. He has presented papers at a number of local, regional, and national conferences, including the Conference of the Council of Writing Program Administrators and the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Stacey Cochran is a Lecturer who teaches academic writing for undergraduates at North Carolina State University. He has also taught academic and creative writing at East Carolina University and Mesa Community College (AZ). He earned his M.A. in English from East Carolina University in 2001 with a concentration in Creative Writing. He was finalist for the 1998 Dell Magazines Award, a 2004 finalist for the St. Martin’s Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest, and finalist for the 2011 James Hurst Prize for fiction. He is an experienced videographer and interviewer who was the host of  The Artist's Craft, a television show in Raleigh which featured interviews with many bestselling authors and literary scholars.

Table of Contents


1.  Inside Colleges and Universities
What is Higher Education?
     How do Colleges and Universities Differ from One Another?
          Inside Work:  Choosing a College
     What is the Purpose of College?
          Inside Work: Writing about College
What are Academic Disciplines?
     How Many Different Academic Disciplines Are There?
          Inside Work:  Understanding Disciplinarity
     Why Do Academics Write?
          Insider’s View:  Undergraduate Students on Academic Writing
          Inside Work:  Thinking about What Academics Write
How Does Writing in College Compare with Writing in Other Contexts?
          Insider’s View; Karen Keaton Jackson, Writing Studies
          Inside Work:  Understanding the Goals of Your Writing Course
     What Do You Already Know about Writing in Different Contexts?
          WRITING PROJECT: Composing a Literacy Narrative
          WRITING PROJECT: Interviewing a Scholar
          Insider Example: Student Interview with a Faculty Member
Tip Sheet: Inside Colleges and Universities

2.  Reading and Writing Rhetorically
Understanding Rhetorical Context
          Insider’s View: Karen Keaton Jackson, Writing Studies
          Inside Work:  Identifying Rhetorical Context
Understanding Genres
          Insider’s Link
Reading Rhetorically
Reading Visuals Rhetorically
          Inside Work:  Reading Rhetorically
Writing Rhetorically
          Inside Work:  Analyzing Rhetorical Context
Rhetorical Writing Processes
          Insider’s View:  Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan Morris, Political Science
          Insider’s View: Patrick Bahls, Mathematics
Writing a Rhetorical Analysis
          George H.W. Bush, Letter to Saddam Hussein
          Insider Example: Student Rhetorical Analysis
          Sofia Lopez, The Multiple Audiences of George H.W. Bush’s Letter to Saddam Hussein
          WRITING PROJECT:  Analyzing the Rhetorical Features of a Text
Tip Sheet: Reading and Writing Rhetorically

3.  Developing Arguments
Understanding Proofs and Appeals
          Inside Work:  Writing About Arguments
Making Claims
     Thesis versus Hypothesis
Developing Reasons
          Inside Work:  Constructing Thesis Statements
Supporting Reasons with Evidence
          Insider’s View: Moriah McCracken, Writing Studies
          Inside Work: Analyzing Audience Expectations 
Understanding Assumptions 
          Inside Work:  Considering Assumptions and Audience
Anticipating Counterarguments
          Insider’s View: Mike Brotherton, Astronomy
          Inside Work:  Dealing with Counterarguments
Analyzing Arguments
          Insider Example: Professional Analysis of an Advertisement
               Jack Solomon, from “Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising” 
          Insider Example: Student Analysis of an Advertisement
              Timothy Holtzhauser, Rhetoric of a 1943 War Bonds Ad 
          WRITING PROJECT: Composing a Rhetorical Analysis of an Advertisement
Tip Sheet: Developing Arguments
4. Academic Research
Conducting Research
     Developing a Research Question
          Inside Work: Writing a Research Question
     Choosing Primary and Secondary Sources 
          Insider’s Link
          Insider’s View: Moriah McCracken, Writing Studies
          Inside Work:  Collecting Primary Evidence
          Inside Work: Using Primary and Secondary Sources
     Searching for Sources
          Identifying Search Terms
          Inside Work:  Generating Search Terms
          Using Journal Databases 
          Searching for Journal Articles by Discipline 
     Evaluating Sources
          Distinguishing between Scholarly and Popular Sources 
          Insider’s View: Jonathan Morris, Political Science
          Inside Work:  Evaluating Sources
     Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting from Sources
          Inside Work: Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting from Sources
     Avoiding Plagiarism
          Insider’s View: Karen Keaton Jackson, Writing Studies
          Inside Work: Understanding Plagiarism
     Understanding Documentation Systems
          WRITING PROJECT: Writing an Annotated Bibliography
          WRITING PROJECT:  Developing a Supported Argument on a Controversial Issue
Insider Example: Student Researched Argument on a Controversial Issue
     Ashlyn Sims, “Condom Distribution in High School”
Tip Sheet: Academic Research


5.  Reading and Writing in Academic Disciplines

          Research in the Disciplines
          Conventions of Writing in the Disciplines
          Genres in the Disciplines
          Insider’s View: Karen Keaton Jackson, Writing Studies
Analyzing Genres and Conventions of Academic Writing
          Insider’s View:  Moriah McCracken, Writing Studies
Adapting to Different Rhetorical Contexts: An Academic Writer at Work
          Insider’s View: Mike Brotherton, Astronomy
          Inside Work:  Reflecting on a Discipline
Using Rhetorical Context to Analyze Writing for a Non-Academic Audience
          Mike Brotherton, from “Hubble Space Telescope Spies Galaxy/Black Hole Evolution in Action”
          Insider’s View: Mike Brotherton, Astronomy
          Inside Work: Reflecting on Rhetorical Context 
Using Structure, Language, and Reference to Analyze Academic Writing
          M. S. Brotherton, Wil van Breughel, S. A. Stanford, R. J. Smith, B. J. Boyle, Lance Miller, T.
          Shanks, S. M. Croom, and Alexie V. Filipenko, From, A Spectacular Poststarburst Quasar
          Insider’s View:  Mike Brotherton, Astronomy
          Inside Work: Reflecting on Disciplinary Writing  
          WRITING PROJECT:  Writing a Rhetorical Analysis of an Academic Article
          WRITING PROJECT:  Writing a Comparative Rhetorical Analysis
          WRITING PROJECT: Comparing Scholarly and Popular Articles
Translating Scholarly Writing for Different Rhetorical Contexts
          Insider Example: Student Translation of a Scholarly Article
          Jonathan Nastasi, Life May Be Possible on Other Planets
          WRITING PROJECT:  Translating a Scholarly Article for a Public Audience
Tip Sheet: Reading and Writing in Academic Disciplines

6. Reading and Writing in the Humanities
Introduction to the Humanities
          Insider’s View:  John McCurdy, History
     Texts and Meaning
          Inside Work:  Thinking about Texts
     Observation and Interpretation
          Inside Work: Observing and Asking Questions
Research in the Humanities
          Inside Work: Observing and Interpreting Images
     The Role of Theory in the Humanities
     Close Reading in the Humanities
          Insider Example: Professional Close Reading
          Dale Jacobs, “More than Words:  Comics as a Means of Teaching Multiple Literacies”
     Strategies for Close Reading and Observation
          Kate Chopin, from “The Story of an Hour
          Inside Work: Annotating a Text
          Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”
          Inside Work:  Preparing a Content/Form-Response Grid
     Responding to the Interpretations of Others
Conventions of Writing in the Humanities
          Insider’s View:  Shelley Garrigan, Spanish Language and Literature
     Structural Conventions
     Developing Research Questions and Thesis Statements
          Insider’s View: Karen Keaton Jackson, Writing Studies
          Inside Work: Developing Why, What, and How Questions
     Developing Effective Thesis Statements 
          Inside Work: Drafting Thesis Statements
     Five-Paragraph Essays and Other Thesis-Driven Templates
     Other Structural Conventions in the Humanities
     Language Conventions in the Humanities
     Reference Conventions in the Humanities
           Inside Work:  Analyzing Scholarly Writing in the Humanities
Genres of Writing in the Humanities
          Insider’s View:  Shelley Garrigan, Spanish Language and Literature
     Textual Interpretation
          WRITING PROJECT: Interpreting a Text
          Insider Example: Student Interpretation of a Text
          Sarah Ray, “ ‘Til Death Do Us Part’: An Analysis of Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
     Artistic Texts
          WRITING PROJECT: Creating an Artistic Text
Tip Sheet: Reading and Writing in the Humanities

7. Reading and Writing in the Social Sciences
Introduction to the Social Sciences
          Insider’s View:  Kevin Rathunde, Social Science
          Inside Work:  Observing Behavior
Research in the Social Sciences
     The Role of Theory
          Insider Example:  Exploring Social Science Theory
          Kalervo Oberg, from “Culture Shock: Adjustments to New Cultural Environments”
          Inside Work: Tracing a Theory’s Development
     Research Questions and Hypotheses  
          Inside Work:  Developing Hypotheses
          Insider’s View:  Kevin Rathunde, Social Science
     Quantitative Methods 
     Qualitative Methods 
     Mixed Methods 
          Inside Work:  Considering Research Methods
     The IRB Process and Use of Human Subjects
Conventions of Writing in the Social Sciences
          Insider’s View: Aya Matsuda, Linguistics
     Structural Conventions and IMRAD Format
     Other Structural Conventions
          Inside Work:  Observing Structural Conventions
     Language Conventions
          Inside Work:  Observing Language Features
     Reference Conventions
          Inside Work:  Observing Reference Features
Genres of Writing in the Social Sciences 
          Insider’s View:  Aya Matsuda, Linguistics 
     The Literature Review 
          Insider Example: An Embedded Literature Review
     Writing a Literature Review
          WRITING PROJECT:  Writing a Literature Review
          Insider Example:  Student Literature Review
          William O’Brien, “Effects of Sleep Deprivation: A Literature Review”
     Theory Response Essay
          WRITING PROJECT:  Writing a Theory Response
          Insider’s Example: Student Theory Response Paper
          Matt Kapadia, “Evaluation of the Attribution Theory”
Tip Sheet: Reading and Writing in the Social Sciences

8. Reading and Writing in the Natural Sciences
Introduction to the Natural Sciences
          Insider’s View:  Sian Proctor, Geology
Research in the Natural Sciences
          Insider’s View:  Page Geiger, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
          Inside Work:  Considering a Natural Science Topic
     Observation and Description in the Natural Sciences
          Inside Work: Thinking about Systematic Observation in the Sciences
     Moving from Description to Speculation
          Inside Work: Practicing Description and Speculation  
          Inside Work: Developing Research Questions and a Hypothesis
     Designing a Research Study in the Natural Sciences
          Insider’s View:  Michelle LaRue, Conservation Biologist
          Inside Work:  Freewriting about an Experiment
Conventions of Writing in the Natural Sciences
          Insider’s View:  Michelle LaRue, Conservation Biology
          Inside Work:  Looking for Conventions of Objectivity  
          Inside Work:  Looking for Conventions of Replicability and Recency
     Collaboration and Cooperation
Genres of Writing in the Natural Sciences
          Insider’s View:  Page Geiger, Molecular and Integrative Physiology
     An Observation Logbook
          WRITING PROJECT:  An Observation Logbook
          Insider Example:  Student Observation Logbook
          Kedric Lemon, “Comparing Efficiency of Various Batteries Being Used Over Time”
     Research Proposal
          WRITING PROJECT:  Research Proposal
          Insider Example:  Research Proposal
          Gary Ritchison, “Hunting Behavior, Territory Quality, and Individual Quality of American
     Lab Report
          WRITING PROJECT:  Composing a Lab Report
          Insider Example:  Student Lab Report
          Kedric Lemon, “Which type of battery is the most effective when energy is being drawn from the
          battery rapidly?”
Tip Sheet:  Reading and Writing in the Natural Sciences

9. Reading and Writing in the Applied Fields
Introduction to the Applied Fields
     What Are Applied Fields? 
          Inside Work: Defining and Solving Problems
          Inside Work: Considering Applied Fields
Rhetoric and the Applied Fields
Genres in Selected Applied Fields
          Insider’s View: Janna Dieckman, Nursing 
          Insider Example: Professional Research Report in Nursing
               Margaret Shandor, Diane Holditch-Davis, Suzanne Thoyre, and Linda Beeber, from “Rural  
               African-American Mothers Parenting Prematurely Born Infants: An Ecological Systems 
          Insider Example: Discharge Instructions
               “Discharge Instructions for Heart Attack”
          Inside Work: Nurse for a Day 
          Insider Example: Student Lesson Plan
          Myra Moses, “Lesson Plan”
          Insider Example: Student IEP
          Myra Moses, “Student Individualized Example”
          Inside Work: Teacher for a Day
          Insider Example: Student Memorandum
          James Blackwell, “Investigative Report on Hazen and Sawyer”
          Insider Example: Student Business Plan
          Daniel Chase Mills, “A Business Plan for the Electricity Monitor Company”
          Inside Work: CFO for a Day
          Insider Example: Professional Legal Brief
          From “Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin et al”
          Insider Example: E-Mail Correspondence from Attorney
          Joseph E. Miller, Jr., “Re: Proposed gift to the XYZ Foundation”
          Inside Work: Lawyer for a Day
          WRITING PROJECT: Discovering Genres of Writing in an Applied Field
Tip Sheet: Reading and Writing in the Applied Fields

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