This is the next forum in which you’ll comment extensively and analytically on a paper written by a student. This paper is a paper written by one of my own students from a previous semester.
Please remember: there are three primary ways that writers get better at writing: 1) they write often, 2) they get honest reactions from readers of their writing, and 3) they read a lot, especially of the kinds of writing they want to do well. This activity is where you aim to do focused practical reading of an example of a research paper by Brittany Fauzer entitled “The Effectiveness of Internet Detoxes on Stopping Mental Deterioration.” This paper can be found as a PDF in Module 6.
The questions for this activity are what exactly is this paper doing? What is its design? How does it work?
The goals of this activity is a) to practice close analytic reading from the perspective of a writer, b) to see what a paper can look like, and c) to sharpen your analytical reading of academic argument.
Specific Instructions: below are a series of questions.
- Carefully read Childs’ paper.
- Always aim to use paragraphs (Note: paragraph = 5-8 sentences), complete sentences, and well-developed thoughts.
1. How exactly does Ms. Fauzer’s introduction set-up or frame the central problem of the paper? A thorough description would be useful here. Now, given what the whole paper is about, does her frame make it clear what’s important for readers to understand?
2) Fauzer uses paragraph 2 for defining a key term (because a dictionary can’t do justice to what’s needed). So what does she do after that? In other words, what are paragraphs 3 (which begins with “In order to determine…”), 4, 5 and 6 (which begins with “Even those who do not follow…”) come together to mean, exactly? How is her organization here supposed to affect readers? What should readers think and feel by the time they finish paragraphs 3 through 6? And do you agree with what others think about this complex problem?
3) How does paragraph 7 fit the framework of the paper so far? What set of duties or purposes does Fauzer have this paragraph serve? Do you think your fellow classmates have the reading right on this interesting paragraph?
4) Do paragraphs 8 and 9 have a connection? What is it? How well can you offer a description of what these two paragraphs are doing? Look at your classmates’ efforts: are their descriptions of the paragraphs complete and accurate? What’s not right? (Or what is right?)
5) In paragraph 9 (beginning with “I strongly disagree …”) Fauzer offers a concession (where she actually writes “I concede”). How does this concession work? What point is she expressing through conceding a point she doesn’t seem to agree with? How effective do you find Fauzer’s concession and refutation? What works or doesn’t work here?
6) How are paragraphs 10 and 11 connected? Can you describe what they’re up to accurately and completely? Have you classmates done so? Or do you disagree with their interpretations?
7) How can you explain what paragraph 14 (beginning with “Since it can be said…”) is doing in the paper? Aim to offer an account of the function (that is, the purpose or job) of that paragraph. Now consider: how does paragraph 15 make sense following paragraph 14?