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LS526-01 Seminar 6


Title: LS526-01 Seminar 6 April 5, 2012 Author: Vicki Hill Last modified by: Vicki Hill Created Date: 3/27/2012 7:09:33 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: LS526-01 Seminar 6

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Unit 6 Seminar
  • Dr. Vicki Hill
  • Planning the Major Project
  • Constructing a Thesis
  • Using Deductive Logic
  • Avoiding Logical Fallacies
  • Sources include KU Writing Center, Purdue OWL,
    University of Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Step 1 Solidify Your Topic
  • The best papers arise from real interest and
    enthusiasm therefore, the more you look around
    and read up on your topic, the more likely you
    are to find an angle that you are enthusiastic
    about. The first step in research is exploring
    the topic to see where you, as an individual, fit
    with it.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Step 2 Plan Your Strategy
  • Before you jump into finding the right sources
    to meet the requirements for a project, you
    should understand that an important element of
    researching a topic is planning your strategy.
    Students often make the mistake of choosing one
    or two broad search terms and then finding either
    too many sources or sources that are not specific
  • Your goal should be to find the very best
    sources you can, not just to meet the
    requirements. The best way to do this is to make
    some important decisions

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Which search terms will yield good sources?
  • This is often a trial-and-error process, but you
    will eliminate a good deal of error if you think
    about all of the points you plan to make in your
    assignment and all of the different ways of
    expressing your ideas.
  • If your first round of search terms does not
    satisfy your needs, try some others. See what
    keywords are used in the sources you have already
    found, or go to a thesaurus for synonyms and
    antonyms of your original search terms.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Which databases and books should I focus on in my
    search for information?
  • You can easily ignore some of the best sources
    if you do not know where to look. For most
    research topics, you will want to use a general
    periodical database, such as Academic Search
    Elite. You will also want to perform a general
    book search. In addition to these venues, you
    must seek out the most likely places to find
    information specific to your subject.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Step 3 Evaluate Your Sources
  • Just because a source exists does not mean that
    it is a credible or reliable source. Your reader
    is only going to respect your work if your
    findings are backed by solid support.
  • Guidelines for Assessing a Research Source
  • Does the website appear to be professionally
  • Does the article sound like an objective news
  • Are there any authors or editors listed?
  • Is there a publication or last updated date?

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Step 4 Use Your Sources Well
  • Once you have located good sources, you will
    need to decide which of these sources will best
    support your various points.
  • Sometimes, a direct quote will work best to
    illustrate your point.
  • In other cases, you might paraphrase statistics
    to support a claim.
  • Plan your source placement strategy as you plan
    your overall paper structure and content.
  • Present your sources in a variety of ways.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Step 5 Document Your Sources
  • Finally, it is necessary to document your
    sources properly. If you do not, you are not
    following the rules of academic integrity and
    may, depending on the situation and the severity
    of the oversight, be downgraded, failed, or
    reported to a higher authority.
  • The importance of proper documentation cannot be
    emphasized enough, and the general rule is that
    not knowing how is not an excuse.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Potential Mistakes in Academic Research
  • Not giving yourself enough time to research
  • Using unacceptable websites or other problematic
  • Expecting to find sources that say everything you
  • Assuming you can find everything in one or two
    searches in one database
  • Not using sources to find other sources

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • More potential mistakes in academic research
  • Not taking the time to learn about the databases
  • Thinking too narrowly about your topic
  • Taking sources at face value, especially if you
    agree with them
  • Using the first sources you find on the topic
  • Choosing poor key words and/or search strategies

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Develop a strong thesis statement
  • Make a debatable assertion that states the
    conclusions that you have reached about your
  • Make a promise to the reader about the scope,
    purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Make sure the thesis is focused and specific
    enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of
    your paper.
  • Identify the relationships between the pieces of
    evidence that you are using to support your

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Assigned Topic Analyze Spain's neutrality in
    World War II
  • Narrowed version of topic Francos role in the
    diplomatic relationships between the Allies and
    the Axis
  • Avoids generalities such as Spain and World
    War II
  • Addresses instead
  • Franco's role (a specific aspect of "Spain")
  • Diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis
    (a specific aspect of World War II).

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • The controlling idea for your thesis will
    emerge from your evidence.
  • As you consider your evidence, look for
  • patterns emerging
  • data repeated in more than one source
  • facts that favor one view more than another
  • These patterns or data may then lead you to some
    conclusions about your topic and suggest that you
    can successfully argue for one idea better than

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Imagine that you discover, for instance, that
    Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis,
    but when he couldn't get some concessions that he
    wanted from them, he turned to the Allies.
  • This information may allow you to conclude that
    Spain's neutrality in WWII occurred for an
    entirely personal reason Francos desire to
    preserve his own (and Spain's) power.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Based on this conclusion, you can then write a
    trial thesis statement to help you decide what
    material belongs in your paper.
  • As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the
    rest of your paper in mind at all times.
  • Your thesis may need to evolve as you develop
    new insights, find new evidence, or take a
    different approach to your topic.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • You must be willing to reject or omit some
    evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and
    your reader focused or, you may have to revise
    your thesis to match the evidence and insights
    that you want to discuss.
  • As you work, read your draft carefully, noting
    the conclusions you have drawn and the major
    ideas which support or prove those conclusions.
    These will be the elements of your final thesis

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Sometimes you will not be able to identify these
    elements in your early drafts, but as you
    consider how your argument is developing and how
    your evidence supports your main idea, ask
  • What is the main point that I want to
  • How will I convince the reader that this is
  • When you can answer these questions, then you
    can begin to refine the thesis statement.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Sample Assignment
  • Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of
    American culture. Your essay should cause the
    reader to think critically about the society
    which produces and enjoys that activity.
  • Inadequate Thesis
  • The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an
    interesting symbol of American culture, and these
    facilities demonstrate significant
    characteristics of our society.
  • Analysis This statement does not fulfill the
    assignment because it does not require the reader
    to think critically about society.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Improved Thesis
  • Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American
    culture because they represent Americans
    significant creativity and business ingenuity.
  • Analysis This statement is better because it is
    more precise, identifying two American
    characteristics that drive-ins appear to
    symbolize. However, this statement also seems to
    be one that few would argue with, so it is not
    really debatable.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • More debatable and more interesting
  • Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar
    during the twentieth century, drive-in movie
    theaters best represent American creativity, not
    merely because they were the forerunner of later
    drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of
    their impact on our culture they changed our
    relationship to the automobile, changed the way
    people experienced movies, and changed
    movie-going into a family activity.
  • Analysis This statement introduces a new idea,
    and it is genuinely debatable.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Even Better
  • While drive-in facilities such as those at
    fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and
    dry cleaners symbolize Americas economic
    ingenuity, they have also negatively affected our
    personal standards.
  • Analysis The shift in sentence structure
    (factual information in a dependent clause,
    with the arguable material as the independent
    clause) changes the focus of this statement and
    makes the debatable quality of the thesis more

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Strongest thesis example
  • While drive-in facilities such as those at
    fast-food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry
    cleaners symbolize Americans business ingenuity,
    they have also contributed to an increasing
    homogenization of our culture, a willingness to
    depersonalize relationships with others, and a
    tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.
  • Analysis This statement no longer presents a
    self-evident fact all the points here will have
    to be proven with evidence in the body of the

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Deductive Logic The Syllogism
  • Example
  • Major Premise All men are mortal.
  • Minor Premise Socrates is a man.
  • Conclusion Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Notice that the order of the syllogism is the
    reverse of the Toulmin argument
  • Conclusion Claim (thesis) Socrates is mortal.
  • Minor Premise Evidence (specific observation)
    Socrates is a man.
  • Major Premise Warrant (assumption) All men are

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Major Premise Non-renewable resources
  • do not exist in infinite supply.
  • Minor Premise Coal is a non-renewable
  • resource.
  • From these two premises, only one logical
    conclusion is available
  • Conclusion Coal does not exist in infinite
  • supply.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Often, deductive logic requires several premises
    to reach a conclusion.
  • Premise 1 All monkeys are primates.
  • Premise 2 All primates are mammals.
  • Premise 3 All mammals are vertebrate
  • animals.
  • Conclusion Monkeys are vertebrate
  • animals.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Deductive logic allows specific conclusions to be
    drawn from general premises.
  • Major Premise All squares are rectangles.
  • Minor Premise Figure 1 is a square.
  • Conclusion Figure 1 is also a rectangle.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Notice that logic requires decisive statements in
    order to work. Therefore, this syllogism is
  • Major Premise Some quadrilaterals are squares.
  • Minor Premise Figure 1 is a quadrilateral.
  • Conclusion Figure 1 is a square.
  • This syllogism is false because not enough
    information is provided to allow a verifiable
    conclusion. Figure 1 could just as likely be a
    rectangle, which is also a quadrilateral.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Logic can also mislead when it is based on
    premises that an audience does not accept. For
  • Major Premise People with red hair are not good
  • checkers.
  • Minor Premise Bill has red hair.
  • Conclusion Bill is not good at checkers.
  • Within the syllogism, the conclusion is
    logically valid. However, it is only true if an
    audience accepts the Major Premise, which is very
    unlikely. This is an example of how logical
    statements can appear accurate while being
    completely false.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Logical conclusions also depend on which factors
    are recognized and ignored by the premises.
    Therefore, different premises could lead to very
    different conclusions about the same subject. For
    instance, these two syllogisms about the platypus
    reveal the limits of logic for handling ambiguous
  • Major Premise All birds lay eggs.
  • Minor Premise Platypuses lay eggs.
  • Conclusion Platypuses are birds.
  • Major Premise All mammals have fur.
  • Minor Premise Platypuses have fur.
  • Conclusion Platypuses are mammals.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Understanding how syllogisms work can help you
    build a stronger argument by helping you foresee
    relational problems between your claim
    (conclusion) and your evidence and warrant (major
    and minor premises).
  • Clear understanding of your own logic can also
    help you avoid logical fallacies (unreasonable
    argumentative tactics) that can arise from
    misguided or dishonest uses of legitimate
    argumentative strategies.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Hasty Generalization
  • In a single year, scores on standardized tests
    in Californias public schools rose by ten
    points. Therefore, more children than ever are
    succeeding in Americas public school systems.
  • False Analogy
  • If we can put humans on the moon, we should be
    able to find a cure for the common cold.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc (faulty cause and
  • Since Governor Cho took office, unemployment of
    minorities in the state has decreased by 7
    percent. Gov. Cho should be applauded for
    reducing unemployment among minorities.
  • False Dichotomy (faulty either/or reasoning)
  • Our current war against drugs has not worked.
    Either we should legalize drugs or we should turn
    the drug war over to our armed forces and let
    them fight it.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Non Sequitur (argument with missing cause)
  • Violent crime is increasing.
  • Therefore, we should vigorously enforce the
    death penalty.
  • Ad Hominem (personal attack or name calling)
  • Senator Johnsons new tax bill has some good
    points, but I oppose it. Johnson has been
    divorced five times and he may be charged with
    fraud in the future.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Slippery Slope (appeal to consequences)
  • If we allow the legislature to outlaw smoking in
    public, the next thing we know it will be against
    the law to eat doughnuts and Big Macs.
  • Circular Reasoning (begging the question)
  • The President is a good communicator because he
    speaks effectively.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • False Authority
  • Mrs. Smith (personal communication, July 21,
    2010), owner of The Daily Grind Coffee Shop,
    insisted that pregnant mothers need not be
    concerned about the effect of caffeine
    consumption on the behavior of their unborn
  • Faulty Emotional Appeal
  • The only opposition to this proposal comes from
    narrow-minded, do-gooder environmentalists who
    care more about trees and fish than they do about

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • By the end of Unit 6, you will turn in
  • an outline or map of your chosen topic
  • a freewrite about the topic
  • a preliminary thesis statement for your major
    project, which will be a persuasive essay on the
    topic youve chosen.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • Our discussion this week will focus on three
    things you need to know, based on what you have
    discovered in your freewriting and
    mapping/outlining of the topic.

LS526-01 Seminar 6
  • As you work, please let me know
  • if I can be of any assistance.
  • Good luck, and see you in the DB!
  • Vicki Hill