Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research
Rhetoric and Composition: Wikitext
The Process of Research Writing by Steven Krause
Writing Spaces: Volume 1, edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky
Writing Spaces: Volume 2, edited by Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky
Purdue Owl - Evaluating Sources: Overview
Rhetoric and Composition: Teacher’s Handbook
UNC Writing Center Handouts
Reading in Academia: Course Map & Recommended Resources
How to Use This Guide
This document is intended to highlight resources that can be used to address the topic of Reading in Academia in a First-Year Writing Course. All resources are Open Access and can be downloaded or added to a Course Management System via hyperlink.
The resources included here are intended to address the above listed learning objectives. They will cover three aspects of Reading in Academia: preparedness, strategies for reading, and using reading in writing ethically. Preparedness may be taught as a standalone lesson or as a group of lessons, but most other tasks would be handled in the context of meeting other learning objectives, such as Writing in Academia, Rhetorical Situations, Genres, etc.
Section 1: Introduction & Learning Objectives
This portion of the course stresses college-level reading. It will focus on three areas in particular: 1) Preparedness – how college reading may differ from high school reading; 2) Reading Strategies – how to choose, evaluate, and interact with texts; 3) Reading into Writing – how to make notes, summarize, paraphrase, and use what you are reading in an ethical manner. These skills will overlap with other learning objectives (e.g. Writing in Academia, Rhetorical Situations, etc.), and instructors will likely want to use these resources and design activities in conjunction with other learning objectives. Further, this module assumes that instructors have chosen their own primary reading (essays, literature, etc.) to which the strategies outlined in these resources may be applied.
This module is designed to address the following learning objectives:
Determine an author’s purpose in writing
Identify reasons and evidence that support an author’s argument
Distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources
Practice effective annotation and note-taking techniques
Identify words or phrases that suggest an author’s bias
Recognize appeals to logos, pathos, and/or ethos
Understand ethical methods of paraphrasing and summarizing a source
Section 2: Recommended Resources
- This is an electronic textbook published by Open Oregon Educational Resources which can be read online or downloaded in a variety of formats. Chapters on “Active Reading” and “Analyzing a Text” will be helpful for these learning objectives.
- This is an electronic textbook published by University of Minnesota Libraries which can be read online or downloaded in a variety of formats. The book covers many issues related to college readiness. Chapter 5, “Reading to Learn,” on page 180, addresses college level reading habits.
- This resource is available as a PDF and published by The Ohio State University Libraries. Chapter 6 provides a great deal of quality information on evaluating sources and determining bias. Much of the material is presented as checklists, procedures, and questions, making this source very practical for students to use. It includes a number of student “self-check” exercises that open in another tab. It discusses how and where to find resources in addition to strategies for evaluation.
- This resource is published on the Wikibooks platform, so users are able to edit or add to the content. It covers a number of aspects of rhetorical analysis and reading, such as questions for critical reading, logical fallacies, and persuasive appeals. It also includes a teacher’s guide (included below in Resources).
- Chapter 3 covers quoting, paraphrasing, and avoiding paraphrasing. It is relatively brief with many clear examples for students using both MLA and APA format. The chapter also includes links to other related activities such as close reading.
- This is a Web-based collaborative collection with two volumes. Individual chapters can be accessed online or downloaded as PDFs. “So You’ve Got a Writing Assignment: Now What?” from volume 1 and “How to Read Like a Writer” and “Reading Games” from volume 2 may be helpful for these learning objectives.
Section 3: Supplemental Content
- This overview offers brief and direct information including a bullet-point list of questions for assessment.
- This handbook is intended to accompany the Rhetoric and Composition: Wikitext referenced earlier. It contains some broad suggestions for lessons, plus a few sample lesson plans for visual and rhetorical analysis. May be useful even if an instructor does not use the related text.
- The University of North Carolina Writing Center publishes a great array of handouts for writing and research. Among the handouts pertinent to this set of learning objects are “Evaluating Print Sources,” “Fallacies,” “Reading to Write,” and “Understanding Assignments.”
Section 4: Preparedness Activities
Depending on your student body, you may find it necessary to prepare your students for college-level reading. You may find it helpful to dedicate a few class periods to this topic early in the semester or intersperse lessons as needed.
- Chapter 5 of College Success begins with a self-assessment. This could be completed as homework or in-class and would serve as a good starting point for a discussion of what Reading in Academia entails (Learning Objective 1).
- Chapter 5.2 of College Success includes a table identifying the different parts of a book and their purposes. Having students identify and analyze these elements in a text for a different class could work as an in-class activity or as a low-stakes homework assignment (Learning Objectives 1, 2, and 3).
- After reading or covering Chapter 5.5 of College Success in class, you may want students to complete a “reading log.” This log could include questions they developed while first skimming the reading, answers to those questions, and/or notes on their reactions during and after the reading (Learning Objectives 1, 2, and 4).
- Volume 1 of Writing Spaces includes a chapter titled “So You’ve Got a Writing assignment. Now What?” You may find it helpful to assign this reading early in the semester and follow up by breaking down your assignment description/rubrics in class to model careful preparation for writing assignments (no particular objective).
Section 5: Reading Strategies Activities
- About Writing: A Guide includes short chapters on “Active Reading” and “Analyzing a Text.” Both chapters include a simple list of questions that students should ask of a text as they read. These questions could be converted into a worksheet or students could be asked to reference the lesson and keep a reading log with those questions in mind. This could be done in a standalone manner (i.e. assign a reading expressly for the purpose of developing students’ reading skills) or used in conjunction with the other primary reading materials for your course (Learning Objectives 1, 2, 3, and 6).
- Understanding a text’s Rhetorical Purpose is handled very briefly in About Writing: A Guide. This could be used to simply introduce the topic if an instructor wishes to elaborate and apply the ideas to a text through an in-class discussion (Learning Objectives 1, 2, and 6).
- Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research has a chapter devoted to “Evaluating Sources.” Chapter 6 will help students if they need to find and evaluate their own sources (if you include a research essay in First-Year Writing).
- Many aspects of this resource could be used to generate reports or evaluations of an author’s credibility, a source’s bias, or the appropriateness of a source to the particular task. There is also a helpful metaphor about a source’s “neighborhood.” Students could be asked to illustrate or describe a source’s neighborhood as a pre-writing assessment (Learning Objectives 3 and 5).
- An examination of logical fallacies in arguments can be made simpler with the handout from the University of North Carolina’s Writing Center. It clearly explains each fallacy with examples. After a class discussion, the resource includes a link through which students can practice spotting fallacies. Everyday resources like letters to the editor, found in newspapers, can also be a good place to gain experience spotting fallacies (Learning Objectives 3 and 5).
- The “Rhetorical Analysis” chapter of Rhetoric and Composition: Wikitext provides a very thorough breakdown of many different rhetorical strategies, everything from exemplification and classification to symbolism and diction. The list from the Wikitext may be too overwhelming for students, so instructors may want to copy and edit it to best meet the immediate needs of their class. Use the list when analyzing primary texts in your class. This would work well in preparation for a genre-based writing assignment (Learning Objectives 1 and 2).
- Similarly, this resources offers a fairly clear breakdown of Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle, which could be used as homework reading or fashioned into a worksheet in order to analyze the appeals of a primary text read for class. (Learning Objective 6)
Section 6: Reading into Writing Activities
Reading into Writing
- Chapter 3 of The Process of Research Writing covers the issue of Quoting, Summarizing, and Avoiding Plagiarism. Use the examples of good and bad quoting and summarizing for classroom discussion, which can lead into practice of these skills with the texts you are reading for class (Learning Objectives 4 and 7).
- After a first draft of a project is done or during the peer review process, use the material in Chapter 3 of The Process of Research Writing to have students assess their own work or that of their peers (Learning Objective 7).
Section 7: Assessments
Following is a list of quizzes, assessments, and exercises included in the resources for this module:
- College Success provides Self-Assessment of preparedness for college reading at the beginning of Chapter 5. At the end of each sub-chapter are “Checkpoint Exercises.”
- Choosing and Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research – Chapter 6: Evaluating Sources includes Quick Check assessments and activities following the readings; available via hyperlink.
- The Word on College Reading and Writing includes chapters each concluding with a short “Check Your Learning” assessment. Answers are available in the appendix, so students could check their own work. Alternately use assessments as in-class exercises.
- The Process of Research Writing includes hyperlinks to related activities such as close reading.