Being a chemist. Oops, science is POWERFUL!

ENGL 390, 390H, and (sometimes) 398V  Class Journal


A document of guidance on this review

is posted here.  LINK FIXED!

Aim to have half or more of your document drafted for Monday.  You do not know what questions you have until you write!

We will talk about voice in this document as well as metadiscourse and counting out, as a way of binding the document.  


EXTRA CREDIT folder here:


Posted on Friday, April 6, 2018 at 06:44AM by Registered CommenterMarybeth Shea | CommentsPost a Comment

Detail on the one-article review

Article review will be due on MONDAY, April 16. SORRY ABOUT THE DATE PROBLEM.  Wednesday if you ABSOLUTE NEED THIS. But MONDAY IS BETTER.

Final peer review on Friday, April 13. Here is a prose version of the lemon-pear shaped document discussion we had last week:

Documents have beginnings, middles, and ends.  For this work, think LEMON-shaped.  Here is a good way to arrange your analysis:

Beginning: 1-3 paragraphs that prepare the reader to understand and trust the center portion of your analysis (three or four body paragraphs).  Use a cognitive wedge strategy aka "lemon nipple." Think:

    • Opening (see the seven strategies -- you can combine them.)
    • Ethos of lead author
    • Definitions/descriptions or backgrounds, which is largely common knowledge. 

Middle: 3-4 body paragraphs. Start with one paragraph per point BUT you may need to divide complex material into two shorter but connected (by transition) paragraph. These are your larger paragraphs.  You MAY need to nest small definitions -- use the appositive technique -- near the material.

End: Taper off, with some useful information or thoughts for closing.  For example, brief critique (this is hard and will NOT count against your work grade-wise), applications, further line of inquiry, implications for society.

New links for class discussion today:

Academic language phrase bank (really useful for analysis and writing). Spend some time here AND save the link.   Thank you to the fine folks at Manchester University, UK.

Opening moves for technical documents: (seven ways! With examples.)

Citation/ethos/introduce your lead researcher:  in class, we will talk about the conventions of citation in a close read of an article.  Basically, the steps are:

  1. first mention, full name (in the ethos paragraph that also introduces the article).
    • (author, date)
  2. last name throughout
  3. Example:  Marybeth Shea is a professor of technical writing at the University of Maryland. She studies stasis theory in environmental policymaking.  Her research article appears in the Journal of Conservation Biology and is the subject of this review (Shea, 2014). Then, in rest of document, refer to the work using the last name:
    • Shea's approach...
    • Her findings...
    • What Shea's inference fails to account for...

Handful of language conventions:

1) That-which: which takes a comma; that does not! See this  handout on choosing which and that.

2) What is an appositive?

What is an appositive? A bit of information you insert in between the subject and the verb.  You need commas or other sorts of punctuation to set this off.  This image of bunny paws can help you remember to do this:

3) Alot v. A lot: Grammar moment: the abomination of alot. alot is not a word.  Let's see what this blogger says about remembering to use a lot and not alot(click into image to access her website).

Now, to this bit of charm from N.N. Ta DAH!

4) punctuation with quote marks (nice summary  here at Grammar Monster)
5) colon and semi colon use (start here with The Oatmeal's take)

Posted on Monday, April 2, 2018 at 07:38AM by Registered CommenterMarybeth Shea | CommentsPost a Comment

Friday wrap up

Over the weekend, start the reading process of your article.  Use the grid, by making a copy for your use. You can use Pachego-Vega's Abstract-Introduction-Conclusion pattern to start: AIC. Here are two entries about his AIC approach:

  1. Start here for more conceptual discussion of AIC
  2. Good follow-up AIC post here.
  • Hint from me:  I use two high lighters: one color as I look for background and context while I do a first read of the document. Then, I shift to another color as a look at the M E A N I N G of the paper (Results section and Discussion).  Finally, I shift to post it notes, where I paragraphs the findings in my own words and place them on the paper.

Directions:  for those who did not earn the coveted sticker -- typically because of the missing audience analysis -- will need to resubmit their directions.  You will lose a half grad for that lapse.  :(

Extra-credit for directions share:  one half grade.  Share with a real audience:

  • email (bcc me or cc me; or forward later)
  • post to facebook as a note
  • share hard copy in a lab setting
  • us as a TA for office hours
  • share hard copy with interested friend
  • post to a website (yours if you blog or microblog)
  • share on social media
  • share via WikiHow, eHow, Instructables. etc.
  • other?  Let me know. 

Let's spend some time thinking about science research articles. This google slide set is from a campus radio show. We will look at about 3/4s of the slides.

Now, to the whiteboard, to map out some paragraph arrangements and shape of the document. Most documents are lemon-like.

However, some documents are a related shape: bottom-heavy, so we need a pear for that document shape.

Images like this are available at this wonderful open source clip art site.


Posted on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 06:32AM by Registered CommenterMarybeth Shea | CommentsPost a Comment

Toward the end of the semester

All downhill from here. Let's look here, to get an idea of what a final project proposal looks like. READ THESE SAMPLES.

However, what we do now is select an article for close reading. This article CAN be related to your final project. Many efficiencies for you, in doing this. We will spend time READING and writing. Spend some time here, with Raul Pachego-Vega.  Here is one way to use his techniques: Grid to guide your reading (download or copy to use).


Posted on Monday, March 26, 2018 at 07:43AM by Registered CommenterMarybeth Shea | CommentsPost a Comment

Directions all week

Planning the directions assignment. We divide the material into three sections:  front matter, the heart of the directions (numbered, ordered commands, with bolded verbs), and back matter. We also build ethos with acknowledgement.

Directions, like the resume, rely on "document design."  The way we arrange the material for the audience, context, and purpose is as important as the content.

Audience/Context/Purpose -- essential aspects of all documents.  In designing directions or procedures documents, think of the audience as a user more than areader.

Sample of a directions document:  Surviving a Cougar Attack. 


What about recipes?  Consider Bones of the Dead.


Posted on Monday, March 12, 2018 at 07:57AM by Registered CommenterMarybeth Shea | CommentsPost a Comment