Introduction to Composition 110

Abigail Undem - Fall 2014 Beth Undem - Instructor

Abigail Undem

I have never considered myself to be a strong writer. I tend to ramble when I write; however, this part of my writing style has changed drastically throughout the course of this class. I am a much more descriptive and grammatically correct writer. Thanks to this class, I have learned how to summarize, correctly reference sources, and how to write a research paper, a division or classification paper, and a narrative paper. This portfolio will provide examples of what I learned this semester.


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Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the main idea or the most important point the writer is trying to make. It is a general statement that is supported by facts and ideas. The thesis statement should never be at the beginning of a paper. It is more often than not located at the end of the first paragraph, but it can sometimes be at the end, and is usually one to two sentences long. In order to ensure that one has a strong thesis statemet, it must not be a question. The thesis statement determines the content of the essay or research paper. I used a thesis statement in my narrative paper, and it was located at the end of my paper.

My thesis statement in this paper was, "Spending time with family, friends, and relatives is important, and no matter how busy a schedule is, or how tired one may be, always set aside time to spend with the ones who mean the most."

Effective Summaries

An effective summary is a condensed or shortened form of the original information that accurately represents the author's point of view. It should start with a transitional phrase to show that it is borrowed, but it should be written with one's own language, style, and sentence structure. An effective summary should conclude with a parenthetical citation. There are some examples of effective summaries in my research paper. A link to my research paper is shown below.

Referencing Sources

When correctly referencing sources, one should be sure to use the MLA 7 style. If one is using a quote, a summary or paraphrased information, statistics, charts and graphs, or not commonly known facts a parenthetical citation should be used directly after this information. A parenthetical citation is usually the author's last name and page or the first word of the works cited entry. The works cited should be on a new page by itself at the end of the document. One should be sure to alphabetize the sources, double line space the entry and between the entries, and indent all of the lines of the entries excluding the first line of each individual entry. There are examples of parenthetical citations and a works cited page in my research paper. A link to my research paper is shown below.

Process Analysis

A process analysis paper presents a series of events in the order they happen and relates them to one another; it also explains how something happens. The explanation in a process analysis must be clear, chronological, and it must connect the steps clearly. There are two types of process analysis papers. These are directional and informational. A directional process analysis paper gives instructions on how to do something in order to get the desired results. The instructions must be in a step-by-step order, offer advice, and encourage effort. An information process analysis paper tells how something works, how it is made, or how it occurs and is informative. For this class, I wrote a directional process analysis paper on how to serve a volleyball. A link to this paper can be found below.

Division and Classification

A division paper and a classification paper are quite similar; however, a division paper separates classes of ideas or subjects into categories while a classification paper groups ideas or subjects into already established categories. Each type of paper examines the common characteristics of subjects. These said subjects only belong to one category. Each category of the subject should be thoroughly explained. They should each end with a stated conclusion that can be drawn on subject. I wrote a classification paper for this class on the different types of sports fans who attend sporting events. A link to my classification paper can be found below.

My Best Work–Research

A research paper usually requires the most time out of all types of essays to plan, organize, and write. In order to write a research paper one must first establish a schedule and keep up-to-date with this schedule. One should organize their time accordingly with their schedule, and divide the workload evenly each day one is planning to work on his or her research paper. After a work schedule has been made the next step in writing a research paper is to conduct research using print and internet sources. When searching for sources one should be sure to try a variety of keywords and Boolean terms when researching to narrow or broaden one's search. Also try to use databases that have full text and peer-reviewd articles. Once one has plenty of sources and databases to retrieve valid information from the next step is to create citations for these sources while taking notes for the works cited page, and to use parenthetical citations as neeed. When taking notes one should not plagiarize. To ensure that one does not plagiarize be sure to copy notes in one's own words unless a quote is being used. Also, if one is using notecards, put one note per card for sorting and put the topic on the top of the card. Organize the notecards into different sub-topics and then proceed to write the research paper. A link to my research paper about driving while using cell phones can be found below.

Writing Skills – Levels One and Two

Level One
  • Expresses clearly thoughts and ideas in informal writing contexts.
  • Composes structurally correct sentences in Standard American English.
  • Generates well-developed, coherent paragraphs.
Level Two
  • Processes information to produce writing that clearly and accurately summarizes and/or reports.
  • Writes well-developed, focused essays.
  • Searches for information and inserts research appropriately.


At the beginning of the semester I would have considered myself to be more of a level one writer because I met the criteria to be a level one writer. I clearly expressed my thoughts and was more often than not grammatically correct when I wrote. I also wrote well-developed paragraphs; however, I would now say that I am in between levels one and two because I search for information and I utilize it in my writing. I can also process information easier, and I'm able to write accurate summaries with this information. My essays, however, are not always focused. I tend to get off topic when I write, but not as often because of this class. My strengths as a writer include strong theses and transitions. My weaknesses include getting off topic easily and rewording statements I have already written. My goals for future improvement as a writer include working on my weaknesses and writing more often to ensure that I don't lose my abilities taught to me this semester.


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