Response Using Sources
In this essay, you'll return to the response format you used earlier. Only this time, instead of using personal experience, you'll use other sources to support your agreement or disagreement with the author's ideas. This is a more common type of response in academic writing, and also one way that academic writers begin to make arguments of their own.
The question you'll answer is "Now that you've done some research on the topic, do you agree or disagree with the position your author takes in his or her argument? Why?"
You're answering it for a reader you identify. You might imagine the reader of this paper to be the professor of a class on your group topic. Based on the discussions we've had in class and your reading, what can you assume about his or her likely expectations for focus, organization, evidence, and style?
Your goals: This is your chance to pull together everything you've learned about academic writing. You'll use those summary skills one more time and, as in the last response paper, focus on agreeing or disagreeing with one of the author's main ideas. You'll also want to think about
- What will my audience be most interested in hearing?
- How can I select the sources that will best support my points?
- What kind of organization will be most useful for my reader?
- What's the most effective balance of my own thoughts and outside source material?
- First, select the essay you want to respond to and focus on the particular idea you agree or disagree with. Remember you need to use other sources to support your agreement or disagreement, so pick an idea that comes up in other texts as well.
- Think about why you agree or disagree. Do some freewriting on what in your own experience might lead you to feel this way.
- Look through your group's research for other writers who support your position. Take notes on what exactly they say and where, so you can find those spots easily while you're drafting. (Remember to think about the source evaluations you've completed and read when choosing your sources!)
- Organize your essay into the most coherent draft you can, concentrating on maintaining your focus and using source materials without letting them overwhelm your own thoughts.
- When you have a draft you're comfortable with, share it with other members of your group. Do they think you've represented all of the texts accurately? Can they identify your focus, and do they feel you've supported it effectively?
- Revise and rewrite based on your workshop group's responses. Don't forget to double-check the accuracy of quotations and proofread!