Access For All: Exceptional Idea!

Since I have an interest in moving onto Durham College’s Access and Support Centre, I thought it would be interesting to research and report on presentations using on line tools for individuals with exceptionalities.

Do you remember a time when people around you broke out in laughter, but you didn’t hear the joke? 
Be careful not to leave out information for some people in your audience. For example, if you say “you can read it on the screen”, you are probably excluding people who cannot see the slide.

a visual

Giving an online presentation with text and/or images

Difficulty scale (in terms of creation): varies from low to high depending on the format choice.

 

What are the benefits to presenting online?

 

In blended and/or online courses, delivering presentations online reduces the amount of time spent covering course concepts and allows more face-to-face class time to be spent in small group activities or discussion.  It also allows students to review materials 24/7, and for courses that are entirely online, this is a strong way to be able to convey lessons to the students. In online courses, narrated presentations increase instructor presence which is connected to student perception of engagement.

What are the most common formats?

Online presentations can be delivered in a number of ways.  Here are the most common:

  1. Text-only – these are usually documents created in a word processing program and converted to PDF.
  2. Text + image – these are usually PowerPoint (or Key Note) slides with text-based notes.
  3. Text + visual (image + sound) – these are usually narrated presentations (PowerPoint).

Accessibility

As with all digital content, accessibility is an important consideration.  Not only is it important to ensure that materials are accessible to students with exceptionalities, it is also important for some students with family or work obligations.

Online presentations should be readable by screen readers.  This means that the presentation should have accompanying text that has identifiable characters.  You can ensure that your presentation has accompanying text through one of the following methods.

PDF documents created in MS Word

If you used word processing to create a text-only lecture, Microsoft Word or Mac will convert documents to PDF format.  Screen readers should be able to read text that was originally created in MS Word.

Scripts to accompany narrated presentations

If you plan to create a narrated presentation, create a text-based script before you record your narration.  This will ensure that students with exceptionalities have access to the content.

Voice recognition software

While not as common as scripts, it is possible to record your narration and then use voice recognition software to create a transcript.  After “training” the software for your voice, you can import an audio file and software, like Dragon Naturally Speaking will create a text transcript.

References:

http://www.w3.org/WAI/training/accessible

Standard

Reports: Intricate Information Sharing

This is a three part blog. Since our assignments this week had a few components, I thought it would be nice to include all of my research within one blog entry.

Professional Reports & Assessments within Career Counselling

I chose to evaluate professional reports within the scope of Career & Guidance Counselling. Not only are these area’s related to my work, but they also often require meticulous case notes, and in some cases assessment reports for clients. Assessment activities are key components of career and guidance counsellor practice, therefore recording, understanding and imparting information is equally as important. Assessments are considered to be part of the responsibilities laid out by the scope of practice of counsellors and guidance counsellors and are recognized as a professional activity.

Reasons for an assessment in relation to an individual’s situation may include:

  • Request for help
  • Evaluate psychological functioning
  • Explore resources and limitations
  • Assess the persons situation

Code of Ethics:

  • Guidelines to follow within work and reports include;
  • Good practice within professional standards
  • Refrain from opinion giving and advice that is contradictory or incomplete
  • Oral reports must limit contents to interpretations of assessments, findings and recommendations should be based upon professional expertise

Gathering Data:

Since gathering data includes exploring how the client views their situation, a full exploration of the individual’s life will need to be completed. Data collection makes it possible to substantiate, explain and enhance the decoded, analyzed and reported information. At this point it is important to realize that delivering and presenting this information may require creativeness.

Reporting:

Communicating the results of assessments must be delivered in a clear presentation and must include the initial request of the client, the request for services agreed to by the originator of the request, the formal process, as well as the results and conclusions formulated by the counsellor. The release of the written report must not harm or cause injury. Often assessment tools gather data and deliver results into formats that are easy to read and share with clients such as graphs, figures and charts.

Summary: Edward Tufte – Maps moving in time.

I explored Edward Tufte’s link for “maps moving in time” I chose to explore this link because I love maps. They are logical, interesting and like a puzzle to the eye. The Swiss mountain maps by Edward are stunning. I appreciated how sensitive my eye was to the softness of the colours, contrasts and contours. I could easily track the terrain and variations in height and importance of objects. A traditional map can be difficult to read, with many bright colours and confusing lines and effects. The softness and beauty of the Swiss mountains made me want to stare for a lot longer that I was able. Some of the highlights of the map were:

  • The focus on content
  • The high-resolution
  • Local details embedded within larger content
  • Use of light colours to avoid optical clutter
  • Three dimensional effects

Graphical data…..

“. . . is the well-designed presentation of

interesting data—a matter of substance, of

statistics, and of design.

 . . . consists of complex ideas communicated

with clarity, precision, and efficiency.”

 

Edward R. Tufte, 1983. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

Key points in presenting information within a graphic format:

  • Visual perception is more immediate that sequential scan of numbers and letters
  • Takes subject from specific and literal to abstract and general
  • Visual arrangement of data can tell a story
  • Visual depictions of data are almost universally understood without requiring knowledge of language
  • Reveals data patterns that are difficult to detect otherwise and requires truthful interpretation
  • Label important events in data
  • Never use 3d effects
  • Focus on clarity

Edward Tufte’s Graphical Efficiency Measures

 Data-Ink Ratio = Ink used portraying data

Total ink used = proportion of a graphic’s ink devoted to the non-redundant display of information = 1.0 – proportion of a graphic that can be

erased without loss of information

Sources:

 

Cleveland, William S. The Elements of Graphing Data, 1994, revised ed., Murray Hill, NJ: AT&T Bell Laboratories. Tufte, Edward R.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 1983, Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, 1997, Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

http://www.counselling.net/jnew/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=71&Itemid=62

Standard

Research & Ethics: One Size Fits All?

blog

Compared to the Social Sciences, which focuses directly with human subjects, the humanities do not have a deep relationship with research ethics–as they are developed institutionally. (Gaertner, 2014)

Ethical: A Meaning

Pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

Being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct orpractice, especially the

standards of a profession

 

Postcolonialism:

Postcolonialism is the study of the aftermath of colonialism. This area of study examines and explores how our present day has been shaped by the historical events surrounding one colony invading, dominating, and controlling a weaker colony. Postcolonialism study includes examining the cultures and peoples that were colonized and the colonial powers. Studies may examine pre, and post colonization periods for all nations involved. Post-colonial study has existed and grown since the middle of the 20th century and can now be found in sciences concerning history, literature and politics.

As with any area of study, the topic is of sensitive nature. The knowledge we research and share with others can directly influence and direct actions and assumptions as we move forward. Postcolonialsm is a relatively young study; we need to ensure that there are standards and repercussions for unethical research and information sharing. If there were not, it might be too tempting to direct and share unreliable or untrue data to meet our own needs.

Research & Ethics: One size fits all?

Conducting research is such a delicate matter that various Institutions, agencies, associations and governing bodies have developed specific codes, rules and policies in relation to research ethics. An example of research ethics as they relate to an agency:

National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have ethics rules for funded researchers.

If you did not follow or respect the code of ethics as it applies to your area of study, you could easily manipulate damage, mislead, deceive and essentially hurt your subjects, those who study and follow your work, and your reputation. There are many things to consider in regards to ethics, but from an interesting article that I found – I have chosen the ones that may apply to the humanities (specifically Postcolonial research)

Things to consider as they may apply to Postcolonial research:

Honesty

Because you want to represent and share your data and research with an unbiased and objective delivery, it is important to adhere to the code of honesty. This means that you must honestly report findings, methods, practises and results; you may not deceive, fabricate or mislead your test subjects, colleagues or the public in regards to your research.

Objectivity

In order to deliver honest and correct data it is essential to remove any personal assumptions, feelings or bias in relation to the area you are studying, researching, reviewing. It may be a challenge to remain objective, and it will be important to remain highly self-actualized and remain open with those around you in an attempt to be transparent.

Integrity

This also reminds me of a professor that taught me to remain “congruent”. Do what you say, say what you do. Do not make it difficult for others to trust your actions.

Carefulness

This requires a system for checking, keeping and providing accurate and authentic work. You may apply the thought “measure twice and cut once” within this category.

Openness

I feel that it is so important to seek and be open to constructive feedback. Share data, results, ideas, tools, and resources as you will need to rely on the knowledge of others throughout your research.
Confidentiality

Do not disclose information that you have gathered in good faith. If contracts are signed – honor the confidential nature of the document.
Social Responsibility

Strive to promote social good and prevent or mitigate social harms through research, public education, and advocacy.

Legality

Know and obey relevant laws and institutional and governmental policies.
* Adapted from Shamoo A and Resnik D. 2009. Responsible Conduct of Research, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press).

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ethical

https://novelalliances.wordpress.com/tag/aboriginal-research-ethics/

Standard

My Future, My Work, My Passion!

Important Books and Articles

Given our undergraduate degree is focused within the field of Interdisciplinary Studies; I thought it fitting to include a list of ten books and articles related to several topics. Since I have been researching my topic for our upcoming essay assignment, I am going to include three articles that relate to that essay specifically. The essay I am currently researching is “Why do children with a perceived lower socio-economic status have lower grades within the secondary school system?” and so the three articles below reflect my research.

  1. Socio‐economic Status and Academic Achievement Trajectories from Childhood to

Adolescence (Caro, 2009) This article discusses the age which children begin to become influenced academically by their socio-economic status (SES) in relation to our Canadian democratic society. I will be using this article to highlight the fact that students may be affected negatively within the school system in relation to their SES, and how this is measured.

  1. Summer Learning: Research, Policies, and Programs, edited by Geoffrey D. Borman & Matthew Boulay. This book contains useful information exploring SES in relation to summer upgrading classes and post-secondary grades. I will use just a couple of quotes from this book, as it is not directly related to my thesis.
  2. High School Guidance Counselor Recommendations: The Role of Student Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Academic Performance (Linnehan & Weer, 2011) This is useful for my research article there are a few graphs and charts that I may include regarding students with a perceived lower socioeconomic status and how guidance counselors advise them.

When I initially began my learning plan for Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies I had every intention of adding in courses that would allow me to teach. I have since had a change of heart and wish to eventually pursue a Masters of Counselling Psychology. The next six resources that I am including are in relation to that particular area of study.

  1. Rural Youth need Help in Choosing Occupations. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED011806.pdfThis bulletin was created for guidance counselors within the secondary school system in an effort to assist them appropriately in choosing careers. Rural youth may face barriers (or simply wish to pursue alternative careers) and I am interested in this topic since I serve a college that is populated by rural and city dwelling students.
  1. A Preliminary Analysis of Counseling Students’ Attitudes Toward Counseling Women and Women of Color: Implications for Cultural Competency Training. By: Ancis, Julie R.; Sanchez-Hucles, Janis V. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development. Jan2000, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p16-31. 16p. This article explores and cultural sensitivity and specialized training in regards to counseling diverse populations. Given that I work and live in a diverse province with fabulous ethnicities abound, this article may be important as I educate myself in regards to cultural sensitivity within the field of counseling.
  2. Gender and Infertility: A relational Approach to Counseling Women. http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/ehost/detail/detail?vid=5&sid=95c95eaf-c914-4bd7-939b bf906287464f%40sessionmgr198&hid=110&bdata=#db=sih&AN=3738540

I found this article to be fascinating and since I plan to eventually change from the Educational to the Mental Health System, Articles such as this will be imperative to my diversity and success.

  1. Counseling Women who want both a Profession and a Family. Janet Dreyfus Gray http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=95c95eaf-c914-4bd7-939b-bf906287464f%40sessionmgr198&vid=7&hid=110 This articles interests me specifically as it explores coping mechanisms and counseling strategies within this demographic.
  2. Counseling College Students: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Parents, & Counselors by Archer, JR James 1991. 170p. This book outlines the issues and stresses and challenges faced by college students. This book would be interesting as it explores issues deeper than the career related problems I currently deal with.
  3. Counseling College Students: A New Arena for Social Work Practice By: Jones, James A; Donovan, Rebecca. Social Service Review. 1986, Vol. 60 Issue 2, p251-271. 21p. Explores the challenges and techniques used to counsel and support college students.

The final area that I wish to include within my resource list is in relation to College students with Exceptionalities. I would like to be able to transfer into the Durham College Student Accessibility Centre once I have completed my undergraduate degree and will need knowledge specific to this area in order to do so.

  1. How University Counseling Centers Serve Students with Disabilities: A Status Report. By Clairressa J. Goad and John m. Robertson Journal of College Student Psychotherapy. 2000, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p13. 10p. This article tracks how college and university centers are serving students with disabilities. It covers best practices and current technologies.

 

References

Caro, D. H. (2009). Socio‐economic status and academic achievement trajectories from childhood to adolescence. Canadian Journal of Education, 32(3), 560-590. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.royalroads.ca/docview/215376532/fulltextPDF/1E8FD724AE3C4F20PQ/1?accountid=8056

Linnehan, F., & Weer, C. H. (2011, march 1). High school guidance counselor recommendations: The role of student race, socioeconomic status and academic performance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(3), 536-558. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00725.x

Standard

Guess what I am trying to say, in my passive way….

What is a passive voice?

I was able to research first, what it is not in order to dispel some myths:

Use of the passive voice constitutes a grammatical error.

Use of the passive voice is not a grammatical error. It’s a stylistic issue that pertains to clarity. There are times when using the passive voice can prevent a reader from understanding what you mean.

Any use of “to be” (in any form) constitutes the passive voice.

The passive voice entails more than just using a being verb. Using “to be” can weaken the impact of your writing, but it is occasionally necessary and does not by itself constitute the passive voice.

The passive voice always avoids the first person; if something is in first person (“I” or “we”) it’s also in the active voice.

On the contrary, you can very easily use the passive voice in the first person. Here’s an example: “I was hit by the car.”

You should never use the passive voice.

While the passive voice can weaken the clarity of your writing, there are times when the passive voice is OK and even preferable.

Once you know what to look for, passive constructions are easy to spot. Look for a form of “to be” (is, are, am , was, were, has been, have been, had been, will be, will have been, being) followed by a past participle. (The past participle is a form of the verb that typically, but not always, ends in “-ed.” Some exceptions to the “-ed” rule are words like “paid” (not “payed”) and “driven.” (not “drived”)

Here is an example of how to spot a passive sentence:

The mouse was caught by the cat.

If we ask ourselves whether there’s an action, the answer is yes: a mouse is being caught. If we ask what’s at the front of the sentence, the actor or the object of the action, it’s the object: mouse, unfortunately for it, got caught, and there it is at the front of the sentence. The thing that did the catching—the mouse—is at the end, after “by.” There’s a form of be (was) and a past participle (caught). This sentence is passive.

How to change passive constructions into active ones:

You can usually just switch the word order, making the actor and subject one by putting the actor up front:

The field has been flooded by the relentless rain.

Becomes:

The relentless rain flooded the large field

 

Why should we bother to weed out the passive voice?

Because passive sentences can leave your professor (or reader) guessing about what you are trying to say (and who is responsible for the action)

Both Lily and Ewan write want to write Santa a letter. He receives letters. (from who? Ewan and Lily?)

Because academic writing has a focus on research, too many passive sentences can cause confusion regarding who is talking:

A survey has been done to support this argument (by who? Me, the writer, or a researcher etc.)

Passive sentences can be used when you are lacking information:

Santa has been celebrated since the 1800’s (by who?)

Here is an example of one paragraph from one of the three assignments that I re-wrote taking out is,are,was.were:

 

Three Important Concepts or sues as Discussed By Newell

Kinds of Systems

It  within this portion of the reading that Newell distinguishes between a variety of systems: simple, complicated and complex. He proceeds to break the systems into detail by using the example of road maps. By providing this visual, I was able to grasp and piece together not only this portion of the reading, but also a few pages that I had struggled to grasp a little earlier on. I found this to be very helpful. It was during this portion of the article that I began to really understand components, connectors and linear relationships. I could relate to the example of Geographic Information Systems which discussed how a large American city  made up of maps, waterways, local transit, schools, public service offices, watershed’s and how each sub-system can greatly impact the larger complex system (Newell, W.H. 2001)

References:

A Theory of interdciplinary studiessues in Integrative Studies, 19, 1-25.

http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/style-and-editing/passive-voice

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/539/

Standard

Citations: How I Loathe, yet Love Thee!

Citations: a powerful opponent, yet greatest supporter!

I will openly admit that I have been struggling with citations since my return to academia. I had forgotten how difficult and tedious citing can be at first, although, once re-learned, becomes a useful tool for enhancing work and backing up valuable points and arguments. I am slowly coming around to the fact that practise makes perfect. There will not be a quick fix in regards to the slow and painful learning curve, but there will be a strong sense of accomplishment upon re-gaining the knowledge that I once possessed.

I titled this blog entry the way that I did because I know once this learning curve passes into…well, something else, I will be thankful for the structure and guidance that citations allow me within my academic writing. Until that time – please note how white my knuckles are! This blog entry is written to give you a snapshot of how my experience with our citation assignment affected my essay writing journey this week.

I learned a lot regarding In-text citations. I researched many, many sites and instead of simply relaying that information into a blog – I wanted to show how I tried to use the information I gathered directly into my essay and experiences (including the point that made me cringe)

I used three in text citations within our essay assignment as required and I second guessed myself several times regarding the outcome. In using a long quotation I slowly followed the rule that if the quotation was over 40 words I could remove the quotation marks and enter the summary into my essay indenting from the left (like a paragraph) and ending the quotation with a page number. I am not joking when I tell you that my heart was in my mouth when I created the following within my essay:

A study written by Malatast & Associates (2009) found the following:

Counsellors spend approximately two hours on administrative and non-guidance related activities, approximately one       and a half hours on individual career counselling, and 47 minutes on career education either teaching in the class room, facilitating small groups or supporting the career education courses being taught by other teachers. There were some regional differences here as well, with counselors from Saskatchewan (predominantly part-time counselors) reporting that they spent almost half their day on administrative and non-guidance activities. (p. 2)

I also included an in-text summary within my essay. This seemed to be less strenuous on the heart, and I didn’t feel so badly about the outcome. The example is as follows:

This suggests that our students are not utilizing Co-op education as a means to further explore their skills, strengths, abilities and interests, even though counselors do strongly endorse experiential learning and time spent with professionals job shadowing and on the job training (Dietsche, 2013, p. 13)

Stop the press – here comes the cringe!

It was at this point that I suddenly realized I may have made a few essay fatal error mistakes. In continuing my research for the purpose of this blog, I noted the following:

Use quotations at strategically selected moments. You have probably been told by teachers to provide as much evidence as possible in support of your thesis. But packing your paper with quotations will not necessarily strengthen your argument. The majority of your paper should still be your original ideas in your own words (after all, it’s your paper). (The University of North Carolina Writing Center, n.d.)

So, in trying to become familiar with in-text short and long quotations I became hyper aware that this may not bode well for my 750 word essay! (I had included one in each paragraph) I’m going to be honest – I became very stressed regarding this topic over the course of the weekend! But, I recognize that if I am uncomfortable – it usually means I am learning. I decided to re-work my essay slightly. This added another (4) hours onto my essay writing time as I researched, erased, re-worked and struggled along.

Other In-text Citations that I uncovered and toyed with:

Direct Quotations:

An example of a direct quotation: Essay writing can be a stressful “and certainly a timely and complex endeavor” (Stiles, 2006, p.16)

In text citations are to include:

The sources author(s)

The Year of publication

The page number (although not always)

Reference within a source:

I have been successful in locating original works thus far, but I was interested to discover how to cite a reference, within a source.

I discovered that it should look like this:

The work of Stiles (as cited in Clarke, 2014)

Citing multiple times in one paragraph:

I found this to be very interesting, because as I am trying to remember how to write an essay – these citations rules are guiding me along and aiding me in putting together my paper. I’m aware that citing after every sentence would be ridiculous and really break up my writing style. You don’t have the option not to cite however, as that could lead to plagiarism. So, by introducing the source early on, you can continue writing without completely interrupting your flow:

Stiles (2014) describes citing and the lessons learned as tricky at first, but helpful and……

For the rest of the paragraph, the author can be referred by name: She notes that citing can be tricky. Stiles also found……

So my ongoing research and learning experiences (again, really well thought out and designed by our faculty in terms of timing and activities) have made me uncomfortable, yet I feel that I am slowly beginning to become aware of the requirements that I am facing now, and over the next year and a half. What happened with my essay you might wonder? Well, I did manage to complete it, but realize that I have quite a way to go as far as academic writing is concerned. As I learn, I’m making mistakes – but I figure that this is the only way forward and I’m not going to give up!

References

http://owll.massey.ac.nz/referencing/apa-in-text-citation.php

The University of North Carolina Writing Center. (n.d.). http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/quotations/

Standard

I Write: Therefore I Learn

I have chosen to provide my top ten tips in accordance (where possible) to one of the Journals that I reviewed for last week’s assignment. The journal is GLBT Family Studies and I found some really interesting articles surrounding various issues and studies within the LGTBQ community. The reason this journal stood out to me is not only because I have very close relationships with friends that identify as gay, but also because within my work as a Career Advisor it is important to understand the challenges and issues faced by my LGTBQ students.

The Register

The register of GLBT Family Studies is most certainly formal. This means that you are not likely to find a conversational, familiar or personal style of writing within the articles published. Because the topics within the journal are serious in nature, the authors are often sharing strong opinions. It is suggested that in order to remain objective, a formal register is applied. I am using an example from an article that I reviewed for last week’s thesis assignment to highlight the formal nature I have described. The article is: Heterosexual Attitudes toward Same-Sex Marriage: The Influence of Attitudes toward Same-Sex parenting by Stephanie Newton Webb and Jill Chonody:

“Legal recognition of same-sex marriage is a controversial social issue. Despite a positive shift in attitudes toward gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, sexual prejudice still exists. Research suggests that religion and religiosity, contact, education, sex, gender ideologies, age, and marital and parental status contribute to biases against sexual minorities. Similar findings have been established for attitudes toward same-sex marriage; however, attitudes toward same-sex marriage have been found to be more complex and resistant to change, suggesting the influence of other factors”.(Webb & Chonody, 2013, p. 405)

10 top tips for development/evidence for articles found in GLBT Family Studies:

Note: After reading a few articles I have discovered that the majority of the papers are argumentative, with several research papers included. My tips are presented around an argumentative style of paper and overall writing for research as a general rule.

Plan Ahead:

Deciding what type of journal you wish to write for is the first step. Once this is determined (in this case GLBT Family Studies) you will want to examine the other authors that have recently published within the journal. What is their writing style and what about impact factors? Since a journal often rated by how many citations are used (impact factors) and greater citations are valued highly, this will need to be taken into account.

View Abstracts:

In order to be able to create work that may be sufficient for publication, viewing article abstracts may be helpful.  Focus on how the abstracts are structured and what the article is aiming to do. Decide how you can also give your paper a direction and how this would best be presented in an abstract. Compare various papers and select two; one that’s the type of paper you can use as a model for yours, and one that you can cite in your paper, thereby joining the research conversation that is ongoing in that journal. (Murray, 2013, para. 4)

Arguments:

The argument you have decided to focus on is your interpretation of the topic you are working with. For example, an essay discussing the impact of transgendered individuals sharing unisex washrooms in the workplace would be your assessment of what the impact is. Moving forward, a thesis statement needs to be considered and presented in the introduction paragraph of the essay/article.

Crafting a Good Paragraph:

Paragraphs are the foundation of the essay and should be longer than two or three sentences. The sentences that are included in the paragraph are related to one main point. The point is elaborated throughout the paragraph using details, citations, opposing points and examples.

Using a Topic Sentence:

Once you have decided on your topic sentence, use this as a guide. The topic sentence is used to develop and keep your argument or research in order, so that your reader (and you) may follow your thoughts easily. Structure and organization are important, so the essay focus and points are easy to follow.

Prove and Analyze:

Evidence is one of the most relevant portions of the paragraph for argumentative and research essays. For example, a supportive piece that relates to my journal could be, “Transgendered students face threats and bullying when using the unisex washrooms.” Then, it is recommended to introduce a statistic showing the rise of incidents and police reports supporting this claim. A citation will be necessary at this time, followed by an analysis explaining why this type of bullying is detrimental to our student’s graduation rates.

Stay on Track:

It may be easy to become side-tracked by facts that you consider to be important. An essay focused on research regarding children of same-sex marriage to be as well-rounded and successful as children from “traditional” marriages should not be interrupted by tangents regarding orphaned children and their lifelong success, for example. This may sway the essay away from the argument or research that is important

Language:

The type of language that you choose to use is important. The language that you use will also affect the development of the paragraph. Words such as “good,” “nice” and “bad” are extremely vague and should not be used in professional writing. Find clearer words such as “respectful,” “giving” and “selfish,” for example, with which to replace these vague words. Furthermore, do not using confusing words, or words of which you do not know the meaning, because your lack of understanding will translate to the reader. (http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-paragraph-development.html)

Transitions:

You need to be able to complete the paragraph you have been working on and move into the next. This should be accomplished by using a transition. You may want to outline that your next paragraph will be a continuation of sorts, or, that the next paragraph will contain opposing arguments to allow you to prove your argument to be valid.

Friends and Errors:

Writing with others, or certainly including others (trusted friends or fellow students)  within your writing process can help to eliminate errors and remain on track in regards to the evidence and writing style you have decided to present.

Side note:

Interesting tips that I did not include, but enjoyed:

http://conferences.sigcomm.org/co-next/2006/files/pres/10tipsforwritingapaper.pdf

 

References

Murray, R. (2013). Writing for academic journal: 10 tips. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/sep/06/academic-journal-writing-top-tips

Webb, S. N., & Chonody, J. (2013, November 21). heterosexual attitiudes toward same-sex marriage: The influence od attitudes toward same-sex parenting. GLBT Family Studies, 10(4), 404-421. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1550428X.2013.832644

http://www.trentu.ca/history/workbook/strongparagraphs.php

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/sep/06/academic-journal-writing-top-tips

 

Standard