Joining the Conversation: A Guide and Handbook for Writers

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-01-10
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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With a concrete, accessible approach to teaching writing with a purpose, Joining the Conversation helps your students become active participants in the exchange of ideas—with their peers, in academic communities, and in the world. Every chapter integrates advice about using technology that will help students build on the digital skills and genre awareness they already have in order to read, write, research, and respond in academic conversations. New e-Pages feature engaging selections in a range of academic and public genres, from literacy narratives and blogs to infographics and online reviews, bringing to life some of the topics students care about most. Choose Joining the Conversation with a new handbook section written by The Atlantic’s Barbara Wallraff, or add a Bedford Select e-Book to Go for even more readings. As accessible and student-friendly as the successful first edition, Joining the Conversation helps student writers gain a better understanding of—and confidence in—their own writing processes. See what's in the LaunchPad

Author Biography

Mike Palmquist is an Associate Vice Provost for Learning and Teaching at Colorado State University and the Director of CSU’s Institute for Learning and Teaching. A professor of English and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, he is recognized nationally for his work in computer-supported writing instruction and, in particular, in designing Web-based instructional materials to support writing. His most recent Web-based projects are Writing@CSU (http://writing.colostate.edu), an open-access, educational Web site for writers and writing instructors, and the WAC Clearinghouse (http://wac.colostate.edu), the leading site for communication across the curriculum. He is the author of numerous articles and essays on writing and teaching with technology and writing across the curriculum. In 2004, he received the Charles Moran Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field, which recognizes "exemplary scholarship and professional service to the field of computers and writing." In 2006, the CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition and Composition named him Outstanding Technology Innovator. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English and as chair of the NCTE’s College Section. He is the author of Joining the Conversation: Writing in College and Beyond (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010); The Bedford Researcher, Third Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009); and Designing Writing: A Practical Guide (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005).

Table of Contents

Palmquist / Joining the Conversation 2e

Table of Contents

Part 1: Joining a Conversation

Chapter 1: Making Connections

Why think of writing as conversation?

What should I know about writing situations?

What should I know about genre and design?

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?

How can I prepare for a successful writing project?

Chapter 3: Reading to Write

How can I read critically?

What strategies can I use to read actively?

How can I take notes?

How can I evaluate sources?

How can I read like a writer?

Chapter 4: Reviewing and Collaborating

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 2: Contributing to a Conversation

Chapter 5: Writing to Reflect

Genres in Conversation: Reflective Writing

What is writing to reflect?

The Writer’s Role: Observer

What kinds of documents are used to share reflections?

Reflective essays: Cheryl Strayed, What Kind of Woman Are You?

Humor: David Sedaris, Keeping Up

Photo essays : James Mollison, Where Children Sleep


Literacy narratives: Salvatore Scibona, Where I Learned to Read [e-Page]

Memoirs: Firoozeh Dumas, Waterloo [e-Page]

Audio essays: Elvia Bautista, Remembering All the Boys [e-Page]

How can I write a reflective essay?

Student Essay: Mi Famiglia, by Caitlin Guariglia

Project Ideas

Chapter 6: Writing to Inform

Genres in Conversation: Informative Writing

What is writing to inform?

The Writer’s Role: Reporter

What kinds of documents are used to inform?

Informative essays: George Chauncey, The Legacy of Antigay Discrimination

Infographics: AVG.com, The History of the Internet

Profiles: Colorado State Programs & People, Animal Welfare and Autism Champion


Web sites: The Centers for Disease Control, Concussion in Sports [e-Page]

Brochures: FEMA, Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies Makes Sense [e-Page]

Maps: The World Bank, World DataBank [e-Page]

How can I write an informative essay?

Student Essay: To Spray or Not to Spray: The Issue of DDT Use for Indoor Residual Spraying, by Ellen Page

Project Ideas

Chapter 7: Writing to Analyze

Genres in Conversation: Analytical Writing

What is writing to analyze?

The Writer’s Role: Interpreter

What kinds of documents are used to present an analysis?

Magazine articles: Sito Negron, Baghdad, Mexico

Rhetorical analyses: Brooke Gladstone, The Goldilocks Number

Analytical blog posts: Nick Bilton, Disruptions: Digital Era Redefining Etiquette


News analyses: Chicago Tribute, The Drone Future [e-Page]

Documentary films: Adriana Barbaro and Jeremy Earp, Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood [e-Page]

Analytical essays: Marlene Zuk, Misguided Nostalgia for Our Paleo Past [e-Page]

How can I write an analytical essay?

Student Essay: Living (and Dying) Large, by Ali Bizzul

Project Ideas

Chapter 8: Writing to Evaluate

Genres in Conversation: Evaluative Writing

What is writing to evaluate?

The Writer’s Role: Evaluator

What kinds of documents are used to share evaluations?

Evaluative essays: Christina Hoff Sommers and Sally Satel, Emotional Correctness

Media reviews: Lindsay Zoladz, Review of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, We the Common

Food reviews: Steve Garbarino, The Crescent City’s Greatest Po’Boys


Progress reports: LIFT, LIFT Impact Report [e-Page]

Comparison tools: U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center, College Scorecard [e-Page]

Ratings Web sites: EnviroMedia Social Marketing & the University of Oregon, Greenwashing Index [e-Page]

How can I write an evaluative essay?

Student Essay: Making Better Choices: Two Approaches to Reducing College Drinking, by Dwight Haynes

Project Ideas

Chapter 9: Writing to Solve Problems

Genres in Conversation: Problem-Solving Writing

What is writing to solve problems?

The Writer’s Role: Problem Solver

What kinds of documents are used to solve problems? 00

Problem-solving essays: Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, How to Make Lazy People Do the Right Thing

Proposals: Dan Hughes, Proposal for Skateparks under Bridges

News features: Jody Greenstone Miller, How to Get More Working Women to the Top


Guest editorials: Jim Trainum, Get it on Tape [e-Page]

Advice: Atul Gawande, Suggestions on Becoming a Positive Deviant [e-Page]

Audio reports: Cynthia Graber, FareStart [e-Page]

How can I write a problem-solving essay?

Student Essay: Death, Taxes, and College Tuition, by Jennie Tillson

Project Ideas

Chapter 10: Writing to Convince or Persuade

Genres in Conversation: Argumentative Writing

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: Alexandra Le Tellier, Judge Stops NYC Soda Ban, But Don’t Celebrate ; Karin Klein, Soda’s a Problem, But Bloomberg Doesn’t Have the Solution


Speeches: Michelle Obama, Who Are You Going to Be? [e-Page]

Opinion column: Cyrus Habib, Show Us the Money

Open Letters: SPARK Movement, Our Letter to LEGO [e-Page]

How can I write an argumentative essay?

Student Essay: A Different Vision for Online Gaming, by Vince Reid

Project Ideas


Part 3: Working with Sources

Chapter 11: 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 12: Locating Sources

How can I locate sources using electronic resources?

How can I locate sources using print resources?

How can I gather information using field research?

Chapter 13: 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 4: Crafting and Polishing Your Contribution

Chapter 14: Developing a Thesis Statement

How can I choose a main point?

How can I draft my thesis statement?

How can I support my thesis statement?

Chapter 15: Organizing

How can I choose an organizing pattern?

How can I arrange my argument?

How can I create an outline?

Chapter 16: 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 17: 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 18: 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?


Gallery of presentations

Chapter 19: 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 20: 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 5. Documenting Your Sources

Chapter 21: The MLA Documentation System

How do I cite sources within the text of my document?

How do I prepare the list of works cited?

Chapter 22: The APA Documentation System

How do I cite sources within the text of my document?

How do I prepare the reference list?


Part 6: Handbook

Chapter 23: Style: Write Confidently

Write clear, logical sentences

Choose language that will earn you respect

Choose concise, lively phrasing

Chapter 24: 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 25: 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

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