« Little pause to contemplate the end | Main | Week 2: day 2 »

Week 3: Day one


  • Drafting, revising, perfecting the article review you are writing now: peer review of entire document (7-12 paragraphs) on Thursday, with final copy due for a grade on TUESDAY, June 21. (FIXED THE DATE)
  • At home, you need to revise your rain garden memo.  Start by using the checklist given, reviewing the entries on this class journal, and your class notes.
    • Checklist!
    • Topic sentences/transitions sentences
      • SV early, let detail trail
      • SV together
      • NO ITs in the document, period.
      • No There is/there are subject
      • Discussion guide in class here, for rain garden revision.
    Knitting up from earlier:
  • Transitions/paragraphs example
  • Empty subjects (there is/are; it) READ THIS ENTIRE PRESENTATION FOR THURSDAY!!!!!!!!

New links for class discussion today:

That/Which (recall that that/who notes)

Opening moves for technical documents

Citation:  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).

Here is a checklist for the article review.

Back to that/which: That-which: which takes a comma; that does not! See this  handout on choosing which and that.



Let's review some conventions of standard written English (take notes from our work on the board).  I do want to mention a few new ones:

  1. punctuation with quote marks (nice summary  here at Grammar Monster)
  2. colon and semi colon use (start here with The Oatmeal's take)
  3. that/which distinction
  4. hyphens are little and used with words; dashes are longer and used between words (See this guide from DOOK)
    1. setting off appositives (dashes)
    2. some words where hyphens are helpful
      • fast-sailing ship and fast sailing ship

Empty subjects DRAFT HANDOUT.

Please, focus particularly on your sentences.  A good approach is to write short, clear direct sentences at the beginning and ends of paragraphs.  Why in these positions?  The brain is attending carefully to

  • the topic sentence position, where the main idea of the paragraph is announced
  • in the transition position BETWEEN the two paragraphs
  • tight (best for most documents; allows the audience to skim)
  • loose



One of Aristotle's canons for writing is ARRANGEMENT.  The order and "chunking" of information matters very much for reader cognition and receptivity to what you write.  This care in arranging information for the audience is also part of the cognitive wedge strategy.  Another way to think about this is the given-new contract to help ensure clarity and coherence for readers.  Look at this discussion on Given-New. (read three pages of this).

Citation in paragraphs, here.

 STRUCTURE FOR REVIEW (Paragraph by paragraphy:  content in the paragraph and what you ask the paragrapg to do, in order, for the audience)

  • Beginning (hook with strong opening, establish credibility of author(s), introduce context for research)
  • Middle (select three or four points to share, devoting one paragraph per point)
  • End (close with your commentary on application, controversy, idea for new research, and perhaps a limitation on the research)

Here is another structure guide. Can you see the stasis steops here:


Paragraph 1: introduce, hook, establish exigence

Paragraph 2: present credibility of authors and institution; announce article by focus on topic (not title) and journal (in ITALICS)

Paragraphs 3 and perhaps 4:  brief background definitions or descriptions or context

BODY PARAGRAPHS (your three or four point paragraphs)

Analysis or discusison paragraphs (1 or 2)


  • application
  • further research
  • suggested reading

But, let's spend some time on stasis theory.  Let's consider that many times in professional life, we need to focus on the fifth stasis of policy. WHAT OUGHT WE DO?  Here is a recent document all about policy: the proposed Northern Virginia deer managment plan. You do not need to read this entire piece. However, this document came across my desk last night. I think a great deal about deer management in urban areas like ours. So, this is an example of how stasis thinking can help us with work documents.  Note: nested within this document are the other stases:

  • definitions
  • causal patterns (deer population effects)
    • plants and ecosystems
    • homes and business (eating plant instations)
    • safety (cars)
    • human health (ticks, along with other animals, including white-footed wood mice)
  • value (within the causal patterns, we can see economic and social costs)
    • are white tailed deer good for our area?
    • what rights to these animals have?  (Consider the Bambi effect.....)
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at 08:04AM by Registered CommenterMarybeth Shea | CommentsPost a Comment

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.