As you begin this course, you are beginning a journey—a journey that adds to one that you are already undertaking as the hero in your own story. Importantly, you may be a little anxious about taking a writing course like this one; it might be because you believe some myths about writing. For instance, some people say that writing is a mysterious activity that cannot be taught or learned, and that some people who are good writers just write everything correctly the first time. It will become clear that these ideas are simply myths as your learning progresses during this course.
Throughout this course, we will be following the Hero's Journey. The Hero's Journey is a writing archetype or structure that follows a hero's progression from birth and quest to trials and epiphany, ending in death.
Further, as you work your way through the course, you will see that you are indeed on a Hero's Journey. You might wonder what this is at this point. This idea will unfold for you as you write assessments that solidify this notion, and as you progress through the course, you will see a variety of heroes depicted. As you encounter each one of them, think about what qualities you know about each and how any of these qualities might define you as your own hero.
This course emphasizes the importance of good writing, providing an introduction to the basic skills and processes used in writing for college courses and in the workplace. You will demonstrate basic skills and forms of writing that will also be used in your professional life after you complete your program at Capella. Have fun in this course!
In this course, you will learn:
Essential elements of the writing process: invention, drafting, revision, and editing.
Critical reading and thinking skills necessary to produce sound written work.
Research and documentation processes.
Strategies for producing papers with various goals.
Develop a one-page informative essay, addressing a concept or subject that drives your academic and career interests within your field.
Your quest continues as you apply your knowledge of the writing stages to the assessments for the second theme of the course: writing to inform. The purpose of writing an informative essay is to provide information and explain a concept. The purpose is not to give a personal opinion or tell a story.
You will start at the initial stage of writing again and complete the prewriting and outlining for this essay. Draw on the wisdom and experience you have acquired to further develop your academic writing skills.
Here are more heroes who use their experience for good:
oDr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, successfully led the response to the H5N1 flu outbreak in 1997 and SARS outbreak of 2003 in Hong Kong.
oBono, leader singer of the band U2, is also an activist who used his platform to create the organizations ONE (organization committed to end extreme poverty) and RED (organization committed to raising awareness of about the AIDS crisis).
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
oCompetency 2: Integrate into text the appropriate use of scholarly sources and evidence.
Select a scholarly library article relevant to a chosen informative essay topic.
oCompetency 3: Apply prewriting, planning, drafting, and revision skills.
Apply in text the standard writing conventions for the discipline, including structure, voice, person, tone, and citation formatting.
oCompetency 4: Apply accepted style conventions and written expression skills.
Apply proper formatting, including a title page, correct margins, font, and spacing.
Produce text with minimal grammar, usage, spelling, and mechanical errors.
All writing assessments have a purpose. The purpose of this theme's assessment is writing to inform. The Capella resource Q: What is the difference between informative and persuasive writing? explains the purpose of informative writing. As you move through your academic career, you will learn how to support your beliefs and ideas with accurate research from your discipline. You will become a researcher.
Audience, Focus, and Context
Consider your audience. Who you choose to write for influences how you write. Your instructor is, of course, part of the audience for your paper; however, you do not need to write exclusively for your instructor. Think of this: who needs to hear what you want to say?
Understanding your audience will help you to focus your writing. Effective writing is focused writing.
Focused writing is easier to accomplish within the appropriate context.
In this assessment, the context is to write an informative paper about an area within your discipline, for example.
Use the Pathbrite ePortfolio resources available on Campus to help with establishing and building your ePortfolio.
The purpose of your essay is to inform the reader about a topic within your discipline. Identify and explain how a concept, a subject, or an experience within your discipline drives your academic and career interests. You can choose from the following disciplines: nursing, public health, business, information technology, or psychology. For this assessment, compose your outline for the informative essay. Find one peer-reviewed, academic article from the Capella library to use as support.
Begin your library research by going to the Capella University Library and searching using the Summon search tool. Locate one article in the library that contains information about your selected topic. Remember: You will write both your informative and persuasive essays on this topic.
1.Go to the Capella University Library and locate the Summon search box.
2.Click Advanced Search.
3.Enter your search term in the box. Check Items with full text online and Scholarly materials, including peer-reviewed under the "Limit to" filter. This way, you will know that your results are both in full text (so you will be able to read the entire article online), and that they meet the important requirement of being scholarly and peer reviewed by other experts in the field.
Remember that research is a skill set that, like writing, takes ongoing practice. For search word guidance, see the video Choosing and Using Keywords from the General Education Information Research Skills Guide. Also, feel free to Ask a Librarian for help.
Contact me if you need any support to find article
Remember: The purpose of an informative essay is to provide information and explain a concept. In this assessment, you are not persuading or trying to convince your reader of something. Ask yourself: What does my reader need to know?
Complete the following:
oCreate an outline for your informative essay.
oSelect a scholarly library article relevant to a chosen informative essay topic.
oList the article at the end of your outline on a separate reference page.
oCredit the author of the article within the outline.
oApply in text the standard writing conventions for the discipline, including structure, voice, person, tone, and citation formatting.
oApply proper formatting, including a title page, correct margins, font, and spacing.
oProduce text with minimal grammar, usage, spelling, and mechanical errors.
Use the Developing an Outline [PDF] to guide you as you develop your outline.
Use the Paper Formatting Example [DOCX] to guide your writing and formatting.ï»¿
Your assessment should also meet the following requirements:
oWritten communication: Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
oStandard formatting: Include one-inch margins, appropriate headers, and a title page.
oLength: Submit one double-spaced page.
oFont and font size: Use Times New Roman, 12-point font.
Note: In addition to the scoring guide, your faculty member may also use the Writing Feedback Tool to provide you with feedback on your assessment related to writing.
Writing to Your Audience
The best way to get attention is to figure out what the audience needs or wants. Always consider the reader’s perspective or point of view; it will provide a new perspective. Tell the audience why the material is essential. Say, “If the organization wants a research grant, this is what to do.”
Developing Context and Focus
In your program at Capella, you are developing your credibility and scholarly skills. Part of this skill development means that you’ll be considering your audience of other scholars as you write. The readers of your text are all scholars like you, but each has different skills and backgrounds that they are bringing to the table. It’s important that you provide your scholarly readers with the information they need to fully understand your topic. You can do this through developing context and maintaining focus in your text.
Setting your own writing in context is important because it allows you to speak to your intended audience at a level appropriate to the purpose of the assignment and to the audience's expectations. Context impacts your approach to the research, organization, and formality of the text. From a research writing perspective, being aware of the context of your discipline, field, or topic helps you identify the most applicable sources while avoiding logic errors and quoting out of context.
There are two main types of context.
Field or Discipline Context: Setting your writing in context means knowing key concepts, scholars, terms, and events of your discipline.
Situational Context: Situational context means that you are aware of and have set your own writing in the correct time, space, and framework. To set your work in situational context means that you have drawn conclusions based on sources or arguments that have relevance to your topic. To have strong skill in situational context, you must have situational awareness in your writing. This means that the audience will easily follow the topic of your writing, as they can also place it in context.
Quoting Out of Context
Be sure that you are using quotes accurately and completely enough to be both accurate to your point and true to the source. For example, it would be out of context usage to include the quote, "self-driving cars have proven to be safe," when the complete source quotation is, "self-driving cars have proven to be safe only when testing under controlled conditions."
Having a clear focus is essential for strong writing. The focus of an academic piece of writing should be easily identifiable in the title, the abstract, or the introduction. As a reader moves through a strong piece of writing, everything will fit together in ways that are easily understood and that support the paper's focus. The reader should never have to look back to the beginning to try to see how a section fits with the main idea. To maintain focus, ask yourself if every paragraph in your paper contributes to the purpose of the assignment. What are you being asked to do, and are you delivering on that?
What is Academic Writing?
Academic writing, or scholarly writing, aims to educate a scholarly or knowledgeable audience. Based on investigated research, academic writing reinforces a particular argument or challenges a specific concept. It considers existing theories and causes while respectively seeking alternative explanations to interpret findings.
Academic writing follows specific rules and practices. Ideas are organized in an orderly fashion and supported by references from academic literature. Academic writing requires a tone that is concise, formal, and unbiased.
Scholarly writing is objective and void of personal opinion or preference. It seeks the respect and trust of the audience. Objectivity develops with experience. One best practice is to select an exciting and challenging topic, issue, or problem and then follow through with a problem-solving approach as to increase objectivity and eliminate bias.
Types of Academic Writing
The four main types of academic writing are descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical. For example, an empirical thesis uses a critical writing style for the literature review, or to identify knowledge gaps for continued research. Often, an author uses more than one type.
Illustrative or descriptive writing observes details by using all five senses. When used in academic writing, it may define or outline the way things are (i.e., a particular theory) or the way things happened (i.e., series of historical events). The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place, or thing in such a way that creates a picture in the reader's mind.
Investigative or analytical writing attempts to show relationships between two pieces of information. Its purpose is to compare and contrast or evaluate evidence and often includes several approaches, theories, methodologies, or outcomes.
Convincing or persuasive writing attempts to convince the reader of a particular idea or point of view. The author uses non-fictional writing to develop a logical argument through carefully chosen words and phrases.
Analytical or critical writing observes, interprets, and evaluates evidence to make a reasonable conclusion. An inexperienced writer uses one or no sources to conclude. This mistake known is as unsubstantiated statements. Instead, academic writing uses three to five current peer-reviewed references for closing remarks.
An outline is like a grocery list. While shopping with a list you can organize and prioritize items—for example, you can buy everything you need in the frozen food section instead of wasting time picking things up piecemeal. Like a grocery list, an outline builds a framework a writer can use to guide her through a paper.
Some skip outlines because they think outlines are busywork rather than part of the writing process – but the benefits of an outline far outweigh the time needed to make one. After all, an outline need not be “fancy” or terribly complex. The outline’s purpose is simply to help make organizational and structural sense of a paper before it begins. The following are a few ideas to consider as you develop an outline:
When to Outline
Many writers have different preferences for getting started with a new writing assignment. Some writers prefer to approach a topic via various prewriting strategies, such as freewriting, looping, listing, and clustering, while other writers prefer to begin with an outline of words, ideas, categories, or even full sentences to be considered as the initial main ideas or supporting points for the first draft.
When writers are uncertain about how to approach an assignment or when they need to determine what ideas they do have for a topic, then prewriting strategies are usually a better choice than outlines. However, once the prewriting stage is complete, some writers forget or are unaware of the benefits to using an outline as a vital link or bridge between each stage of the writing process.
Use an outline between each stage of the writing process – Prewriting, Drafting, and Revising – as it can help writers:
• to inventory ideas and give boundary and form to the ideas discovered in prewriting
• to determine the interrelationship between ideas as they develop
• to inventory ideas and needs as they develop in multiple drafts
• to organize ideas for logical structure and chronology
• to verify connections between supporting points and the thesis
• to verify connections between supporting points and evidence/examples
• to verify opportunities for paragraph development (MEAL Plan), and
• to verify audience needs and analysis
This is the concept of the “working outline,” how an outline is updated to record changes between each stage of the writing process. Rather than conceiving of an outline merely as the final representation of the content and organization of a final
DEVELOPING AN OUTLINE paper, writers need to be aware of how outlines can “work” throughout the writing process to provide opportunities to discover the strengths and weaknesses in focus, development, and organization. Tips on Developing an Outline
• Start general and work toward the specific • You can begin an outline anytime—even before the scope of a project is fully realized • If possible, allow time between outlining and writing your paper • Shape your outline in a way that is interesting for you • Share your outline with a friend before starting to write • Unless your outline is an assignment, it doesn’t have to be “perfect”
Example of Basic/Generic Outline
I. Transforming chaos into order
A. Definitions of chaos and order 1. Etymology and historical views B. Chaos as a social problem 1. Inner and outer chaos 2. Social problems are chaos 3. Amount and intensity of chaos is increasing C. Transforming chaos 1. Why transformation, not destruction a. intangible things are indestructible b. chaos is a mind thing
II. Methods of transformation A. Increase understanding 1. Ways of understanding B. Decrease confusion 1. Ways of decreasing confusion C. Maintaining a healthy balance between inner and outer worlds
III. Conclusion – “Chaos needs to be properly understood” A. Misunderstanding chaos is not an option 1. Confusion breeds discontent ; discontent breeds violence 2. Outer peace requires reducing inner discontent, reducing inner discontent requires more understanding