Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Booth pages 173-229

These chapters in Booth discuss planning, drafting, and organizing the research essay. Words like "planning," "drafting," and "organizing," I would suspect, are very common to you from high school English classes as well as 1001 here at LSU. Yet, what seems to be different in the way Booth discusses these three elements of writing? And list at least four-five topics from these chapters that you believe will be helpful to you in the coming couple of weeks, explaining why they will be helpful to you.


  1. Chapter 12- Planning
    I originally thought of planning as an organizational tool, to help you as a writer "stay on track," and to give you a general outline of what you are writing. I never thought about it as reorganizing the elements of your argument from a form that may seem coherent to you into one that will be both coherent and persuasive to your READERS. Sadly, I don't think I have ever taken my readers into consideration when making an outline or planning my paper; I just did how it made sense to me. Some topics/advice I found helpful were "readers what YOUR analysis, not a summary of your sources"-- this I think deals with "unpacking" the quotes, "most readers prefer to see your main point at the end of your introduction" and it "also helps keep you on track," for the body of the essay I thought the ordering tips of "less contestable to more contestable" and "general analysis followed by specific applications" would be good for my topic, and in these body paragraphs "imagine what readers might object to, then outline a response"-- I think this will help make your argument more definite throughout your paper.

    Chapter 13- Drafting
    Usually when "drafting" in the past, I have basically written my final paper and just need to get it checked for grammatical errors. Booth describes it as "an act of discovery" which I think is interesting-- writing out a draft might help you find something that you didn't know until you expressed it on paper. Some tips I found helpful in this chapter were "weave the grammar of the quotation into the grammar of your own sentence" (I really liked the tips on ellipses and square brackets)-- this is something I need to work on in my essay to make it more interesting, to avoid plagiarizing look away, think about it for a moment, and then paraphrase it in your own words while still looking away-- sometimes you really don't intentionally mean to plagiarize like Booth says, but it's hard not to if you keep flipping back and looking at your source while paraphrasing, and the tips on working through writer's block ("divide the process into smaller tasks" and to tell yourself you are only writing a draft, so it doesn't have to be perfect)-- these help me because I get really frustrated with writer's block sometimes so hopefully these tips will help me.

    Chapter 14 Revising
    In the past, I considered revising going and changing grammatical errors or subject/verb agreements, not going back and analyzing it for what your reader may look for. Revising can be as big as the entire frame of your report. I liked the tip of make your report seem like "a conversation with colleges" and "less like a contest between competitors." Another point I liked is that your readers must be able to understand where a section begins and ends but also why they are arranged that way-- I haven't even put much thought into this when writing papers in the past. I also liked the advice of "letting your draft cool;" this means coming back to it the next day with fresh-eyes you might see something wrong or want to take it in a different direction completely.

    Chapter 15- Visual Aids
    I thought this chapter was pretty interesting in general, but I was wondering if we would be using this in any way in our essays?

    Katie Clark

  2. Planning:
    I usually think of planning a paper as an organization of thoughts. Usually it is an outline or similar method to place to order of the topics to discuss in the essay. Like Katie, I never really think about my reader at this stage in writing. Booth advises to uses this time to organize thoughts for your reader. One tip I found helpful was the ways in sketching your introduction. This always seems to be my biggest problem, getting the paper moving and started. I also found the ways to unpack quotes helpful, as it makes a better transition into and out of quotes in your paper.

    Typically when I write a draft copy of my paper, I try to make it as close to the actual paper as possible. In this case the only revisions I think of are more grammatical, then in changing major parts of the context. Booth mentions the two different types of writers when it comes to drafts. I find myself being one of the writers who works his way slow and carefully through the paper. However, Booth describes the benefits of doing quick drafts to get your ideas on paper. I liked the idea of using key words throughout your paper. I always seem to take my reader off course and in the wrong direction. The tips on the different ways of quoting and mentioning the author appeared to be helpful as well. It gives types of target phrases so that every quote doesn’t follow the same format and appear repetitive.
    When I think of revising, I usually think of fixing grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes in my paper. I never think of revising the framework of the paper, other than move a sentence or two around. I like the ways that Booth gives in making sure that you can clearly see where your introduction ends and the location of the beginning of the conclusion. I also like the idea of rereading your draft, and paraphrasing another paper based on that work. I always find myself using the same words over and over again.

    -Shawn Mitchel

  3. Planning:
    Before reading this chapter, planning to me was simply creating an outline of what my paper would look like, and which subject or sources would go where. In planning in the past I never wrote my introduction first, but after reading I see this can be very helpful. Booth says not to make your paper a patchwork of your sources. I know for a fact in all my previous research papers that is exactly what I did. I found it also helped to ask the "so what if we don't find out?" question in making your paper argumentative because it forces you to pick a side. I never thought of planning sections and subsections or highlighting key terms in the paper.
    I agree with Shawn in this aspect. I know when I write my draft I try to get it as close to the final paper as I can, so all I have to correct are grammatical errors. I like how Booth tells you when you should quote and when you should paraphrase. For example, Booth says you should quote when the words themselves are evidence that backs up your reasons. Also, I did not know when a qoute is more than five lines you have to set it off as an indented box. In this chapter Booth helps you understand how to avoid plagiarism when paraphrasing which is very helpful. Like Katie said earlier he says look away from the information while you paraphrase it. Booth helped me understand the importance of citations in this chapter. Before I thought they were just a pain, now I realize they benefit me, the reader, and those that wrote the sources.
    In high school and even in college I considered revising just fixing the simple errors like punctuation and grammar. Now I realize it may involve re-framing your whole paper. Usually, at this point I never considered my reader at this point. In some cases you mught have to revise your argument. This will help me because now I know when writing my draft I need to take my reader into consideration so I don't have to change my argument or possibly the whole organization of my paper.

    -Nicholas Roger

  4. The planning section was very helpful, and definitely proposed some different ways of planning an essay than I have done in the past. In past classes, the planning part was just a brain dump of all the information I knew about a topic, and how it fit into the purpose of whatever assignment we were doing. However, Booth kind of advises against that, because they suggest not just answering the question at hand, but going beyond it. The most important tip to me was instead of dumping all the information down together, break it up and summarize only the key points and sources, and then work toward rephrasing and refining them from there. Although the drafting section of Booth was extremely helpful, I do not thin it is really that different from what I have been doing in the past. It did though remind me of some important things to do, like integrating direct quotes, and guarding against plagiarism. First of all, the thing I found most helpful was the way it showed how to incorporate the grammar of a quote into the grammar of my own sentence because this way I am not just writing quote after quote and have to explain what they mean afterward. Also, their suggestion of separating the notes I take from a source with my own opinion, and the summary of what the source actually says, will help me from forgetting to site something. One thing in the revising the organization of a paper chapter that really sticks out as something that I never had to do or think about before is thinking like the reader. This is helpful because instead of revising my paper by what I think is most important or makes the most sense to me, I can revise the organization in a way that the reader will better understand and follow where my paper is going.

    Ben Dussouy

  5. Planning:
    When I think about planning a paper, I usually just pick a few main topics and find information about them and try to put it all together using my sources. Booth describes it much differently, saying that it should be your own analysis of the topic, not just a compilation of everything you've read. I also like Booth's idea of considering the reader first and foremost. The strategy of putting your information in a way that would be easiest for the reader to understand was definitely interesting and something that I will be considering when writing my paper.

    Like Ben, this way of drafting doesn't seem much different that what I've been doing since high school. All of the tips are very helpful, but also very common. My favorite sections was showing the reader how the information is relevant, which I know is a very important part of our research papers this semester.

    This part is all about revising for your reader, which is something that I definitely haven't considered before. For me, revisions were always done in groups and helped with grammatical errors and how to make the paper flow better as a whole. Booth describes that revision should be done to make it flow better not just logically, but in a way that the reader can understand and easily interpret.

    Things from the chapters that will be helpful in writing my paper:
    1. All of the tips from page 183 on how to organie your information based on your readers' needs are really good and seem like they'll make the paper much easier to read and understand for my audience.
    2. Section 12.2.1 offers a really good way to get down what ideas you would like to discuss and how to go about doing it. I'm definitely going to use this when I do more planning.
    3. I really like the information presented in graphs and tables in chapter fifteen. I'm not sure if we're allowed to use these at all, but I think they would be really helpful in conveying the severity of my topic to my readers.
    4. The section on page 190 about the relevance of evidence for readers is kind of what we've been doing with our IPP papers, but I'm going to use their advice when revising my IPP and writing my paper.

  6. I found the planning section to be very helpful as well. The three planning flaws were very interseting. I've noticed with our current paper that I have been doing two of the three things he discusses not to do. I've always thought of planning as an outline of the key points and then backing those key points with your opinion and supportable quotes, but Booth meaning of planning is much more detailed and beneficial for both the writer and the reader. He shows you not only how to plan to make a good paper, but also how to make it a good paper from a reader's perspective as well. The most interesting thing I found in this chapter is 12.2.3. The drafting section was useful, but like Ben said, it's not really different from what I am doing now and what I have done in the past. I really liked 13.5 when he talks about showing readers how to evidence is relevant. I feel like I would benfit from this section if I can utilize this idea. I liked the revision section because it's something he talks about analyzing your paper from a reader's perspective and not a writer. In class it seems like Ms. McCray has been kind of hinting that to us. If you want to have a good paper you have to make it good for the reader as well. It's not all about the your facts and what you feel and what you like. You have to write you paper from a reader's perspective. What is the reader going to get out of this? Will my reader's understand this? Will my reader's like my arguements? These are some of the questions that should cross your mind when writing your paper and if you can't answer them without thinking about it you may have to do some revisions/

  7. I use to think planning was just deciding how you would divide up your three to five body paragraphs with one quote in each. In high school we were always required to turn in an outline with out papers to show how we “planned” the paper. I would always just make it after writing the paper because I never really knew how to go about planning without just writing. I like Booth’s advice about planning the body of the report by breaking down what you know you’re going to want to write about then putting them in a logical order. I have also never focused so much on my reader. I really don’t think I’ve ever thought about it at all to be honest. Now that I do think about them every time I write I can see that it’s important to organize and analyze my topic in a way that will be interesting and persuasive to them.
    I also like Booth’s process for picking and explaining quotes. In the past I usually just used quotes to restate what I had already written just to prove it had been said. His purposes for choosing quotes make me want to go back and read through my research articles and pick more quotes and evaluate them. And again thinking about your reader, analyzing and explaining how the quote is relevant and fitting it into a body paragraph, as I now know, is extremely important, especially to get through to the readers.
    As far as revising goes, I’m with Shawn, I try to write my final paper as my draft then look over it for spelling and punctuation errors. I like how he suggests going back through and circle keywords and terms to make sure everything is tied together throughout the paper. Although going back though and doing the paraphrasing tip would be somewhat tedious, I think it would be extremely helpful in perfecting the organization and explanation of the research.

    Erin King

  8. Planning for me in the past had been to just simply think about what I was going to write about. I would kind of just dwell on my topic for a little while and think of some good things to say. I never though about planning in the great detail as the chapter describes. Also, I had never seen a set list of things to do and not to do when trying to plan for your paper. I like the part in the planning section that talks about writing the introduction of your paper last. I had never heard that before. I particularly liked the examples of different ways to order your ideas they talk about on page 183. This could be very helpful in writing any type of paper.

    Drafting was always something that I used to think you did first when writing any kind of paper. The planning and drafting stages just kind of blended together. After reading Booth, I see that is probably not a very good thing to do. The paper can be so much better if you will take the time to prepare for it. I like the way that Booth talks about drafting in a way that would be most comfortable to the writer and lists some examples. The chapter also talks about some rules for quotations and integrating them into your paper. That section is extremely helpful. A big thing for me when writing a paper is how to make it sound relevant. The book has some ways of using quotes and text to show relevance. I particularly liked the little section on some reasons why writers might have writers block and ways to address these problems.

    Organization is key within a paper, especially in our case of the research paper. People don't want to read about stuff that's scattered all throughout the paper in no particular order. I have always thought that organization was very important in my writing, maybe not to the extent that the book takes it, but still important. In my opinion, almost every single page we had to read in this chunk of the book has something on it to do with organization. You have to organize your thoughts and put them on paper. The drafting process should be one that is organized and well thought out. To be honest, I never had any idea that all this work went into writing a little 10-13 page research paper. With all the guidelines to follow and crucial steps to keep your paper organized and well thought out, it is a job in itself. I can only imagine the time and effort that must go into writing a book if one tried to follow even most of these guidelines in the book.

    Andrew "A.J." Hubert

  9. I always considered planning as the process of framing and preparing for writing the essay. I traditionally planned before researching a topic in order to have a sense of what I needed to say. Booth's suggestion that I first write a sketch for what I think the introduction should sound like could be beneficial to staying on task during my research and development of the essay. The suggestions for finding a suitable order are also going to be helpful in compiling the information at hand by helping generate ideas for the next statement.

    Drafting, to me, has been a horrible experience every time I have attempted it. The process usually begins late at night and the work goes on to early in the morning. This style of drafting isn't the most comfortable (as Booth would suggest doing) but results from a lack of inspiration. The process provided to use quotations in the drafting process may be just the ticket I need to keep myself from keeling over trying to think of the right wording for each sentence.

    Organizing was always done during my drafting process for all reports I have done in the past. This was the ideal way since I only usually wrote one draft anyway. The organization aspect of my papers generally was only broken down to accommodate rubrics provided by teachers. The 'Cooling' process is one I hope I will have the luxury of doing with this report; I feel as if I would be better at editing my work after some time has passed and my pride of work has worn off a little. For my formal reports in Lab classes, the graphical organization piece on using figures to boost a claim will be helpful in the near future.

  10. In the past, planning to me was researching your topic, finding main topics to discuss about in your paper, and then writing the paragraphs as separate divisions of the topic and tying them together with transition statements along with your opening and closing paragraphs. Like many of the other students, I kinda of think about the reader but he or she usually gets lost as I start writing. I think it is very helpful to never forget who you are writing to. For instance, not all people agree with gay adoption so thinking about reasons why they do not and counteracting the reason makes the subject more relatable to the audience. I also love the idea of "unpacking" quotes within your paper. I have seen it done before, but I am just use to quoting the whole sentence. I think it makes your paper more thoughtful and intelligent.

    When I first write my draft, I usually try to do it based on little information. I will research my topic, but try to make outside sources unavailable. Then I will try and incorporate my facts in afterwards to tie in everything else. It is almost like have three drafts: "feeling" draft, formal draft, and final draft (after checking for grammar, etc.). This process was similar to what we did in class and some of the ideas that Booth suggests. I think the ideas of mentioning authors and key words are ways to help me improve my drafts. Like Shawn, I tend to get off topic and put to much feeling into my paper and take the reader in a different direction (almost to much writing it seems).

    Like everyone else, revising to me has always been going back to check for grammar, spelling, and other mistakes. I never even thought that re-framing your paper would take place here. At this point, my reader usually has been lost to me. I usually become more involved on getting a good grade then the paper itself and how it sounds to my reader. I think taking the time to place myself in the opposing shoes will help to make sure my paper is organized and well written so that I do not have to go back to revise the whole paper again and it's organization. Like Katie, I enjoyed Booth's idea of "letting the draft cool". I sometimes get frustrated writing because I am not the best at it, so walking away from it and coming back to it later could help. Also, having someone else read it and getting their opinion and suggestions could spark an idea to help in finishing your paper successfully.

  11. Planning:
    The section about planning for the essays was very helpful because it gave a lot of good tips about keeping everything organized and not to just take everything you know about a topic and just dump it into a paper but rather break it up into smaller sections and use each section as part of a paper. Also, the part about writing the opening statement of the essay as sort of a sketch made a lot of sense, because it will give you a specific basis for research and makes it quicker

    Drafting has always been tough for me because when I actually sit down to write the paper the words never actually want to come out and I can never put specific thoughts or ideas into words or sentences that make sense. The section about writers block made a lot of sense, and I feel that when writing my IPP it will help a lot and continue to help on the final paper

    Organization has never been my strong point and I always seem to neglect it until the very end and seem to get easily bored and frustrated with it. But, through working in groups on the paper, it makes it a lot more lively and getting other peoples perspectives on things that you might not have noticed helps a lot with revising and organizing the paper.

    Erik Ross

  12. Planning:
    After reading Booth I have a totally new perceptive on writing my research paper. I discovered that my research paper should not be a body of words complied around some quotes from sources; instead it should my analysis of my topic. However, when I read and re-read what Booth was explaining I was anxious to know how I would compose such an essay without a structured outline. Then I found it helpful when Booth suggested to write the Introduction paragraph first. Now, after reading over Booth and analyzing my Introduction paragraph of my IPP paper I see where I can improve.
    Normally when I write a draft it is exactly what I am going to say with a few lines added or taken away for the final and all grammatical errors fixed. Also, I have always been a nervous wreck about accidentally plagiarizing; however, after reading this chapter of Booth I feel more confident to paraphrase. His helpful tip to read over the information and then do not look at the information while trying to paraphrase it I believe will encourage me to paraphrase more often. He also helped me to understand the importance of the pathetical citations in this chapter.
    Like I said above, when I write a draft I normally plan for the draft to be exactly what the final draft will say, word from word. However, after reading this section of Booth I learned that revision is more then correcting grammatical errors. Instead, revising could require re-organizing or re-structuring a draft. I also believe in writing a draft and then coming back to it another time and rereading it- this is helpful I normally do it!

    -blanche lambert

  13. Organizing:
    I normally find this easy because I plan a detail outline; however, now that I am throwing out the strict outline I am going to have to learn how to re-organize my paper. I believe the organization will come as I get more familiar with my sources and how they relate to each other.
    - Blanche Lmbert

  14. Planning:
    When I would write a paper, I would generally forgo the planning and dive right into writing the paper from the top of my head. What little planning I did do took place during brief pauses between writing – hardly planning at all. Booth's suggestions for planning have made my reconsider my previous approach, and begin to see the virtue in taking some time before you get to work to get all of your thoughts in order. Hopefully adding the planning step will keep me from having to go through the “now untangle this mess of words and transform this into a coherent train of thought” step.

    Like with planning, drafting for me was sort of blurred into the writing step, with the draft basically being the final paper without all the bumps smoothed out. Like Shawn, I consider myself to be a “slow, careful” writer, the kind whose one-shot approach to writing a paper leaves him without the benefits of “sketching” out a few quick drafts.

    Revising for me involved taking the products of the other two steps and polishing them out into what I thought was a good final copy. Of course, I figured my strategy to be the best – certainly moreso than those that take the time to write out an outline – however without having ever actually tried taking some time to draft and plan, I was not even in a position to compare. During my “revising”, I would not even consider changing a major portion of my paper, as Booth suggests might be required at times. For me that was just too much work. With Booth's advice, though, maybe I will be able to improve the quality of my writing and change the way I write for the better.

    -- Brandon Ross