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Research answers are found by knowing how to search and where to look. The college library is one obvious source of knowledge; so too are Web sites, textbooks, laboratories, and your local community. To write effective college papers, learn where to locate diverse sources of information, how to assess their value, and how to include it in your writing.


1. Describe the differences you already perceive between your high school and college learning environments. Explain in what ways you are treated differently by your professors than you were by your high school teachers. Are your reading or writing assignments noticeably different? How so?

2. Which of this chapter's so-called ground rules (for example, that your job as a writer is to create belief) are new to you? On which ones could you elaborate further, with examples from your own experience? Can you add other rules to this list?


1. Describe your evolution as a writer from one or another fixed points in time (e.g., third grade or summer camp). Explain how you developed, and identify any milestones along the way.

2. Agree or disagree with one of the ground rules described in this chapter. Support your assertion with as many examples as you can.


1. INDIVIDUAL: Locate two or more successful (A or B) papers you wrote for one of your high school courses. (If you're not living at home, you may need to send home for samples.) Examine these papers and ask: Is the writing believable? Does the paper have a serious persuasive intent? Are my assertions supported by evidence? Have I documented all claims? Is my voice relatively subjective or objective (or is it sometimes one, then another)? Do I make any claims that something is absolutely true? Would I call this paper's treatment of the subject balanced?

See if you can point out words, sentences, or paragraphs where your writing specifically acknowledges or violates these different academic conventions. Write a short paper in which you analyze your own past writing in terms of whether or not it subscribes to the premises of the academic community described in this chapter, being sure to append a photocopy of your original paper(s) to the end of your paper.

2. COLLABORATIVE: Think of a discipline that you and some of your classmates are considering for a college major. Examine it as an academic community. Which ground rules seem to apply most? To find out more information, some of you look this up in the library while others interview professors in the field. Options: (a) write a collaborative paper or (b) share research but write an individual paper that describes the special ground rules of your possible major. Include full interviews and library sources as appendix material.

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