Intro to Comp 110 Final Project

Allison Klein, Fall 2015, Mrs. Undem

Introduction feel free to follow along with the text below.

Prior to this class I have never described myself as a strong writer. From a young age I have always enjoyed writing, but I was never interested in the structure that comes with successful essays and short stories. I have empathy for those who struggle with writing because I now know how difficult the writing process is. I have recently learned structure, mechanics, and all of the little details that go along with writing. I have discovered that writing is not "easy" and that nothing of quality can be written in an hour. Writing involves much revision, as well as peer editing from another perspective. Those who are successful writers genuinely work hard, and deserve the credit they get from writing. I have found a new respect for the books I read by acclaimed authors who have worked their whole lives to be in the position that they are in. The main thing that I have learned throughout this process is that anyone can write, but it takes hard work to write something great.

Throughout this course, I have written five papers. Each of these papers had a different genre and different requirement. I have given examples of some of these papers below. I have also explained: A good thesis statement, a good summary, and how to reference sources. I have added some of my favorite and best works. This semester has definitely been a lot of work, but I have grown so much as a writer.

Writing an Effective Thesis Statement

Writing an effective thesis statement is a multi-step process. Thesis statements need to express the main point, or the most important points of the essay. A thesis statement should be no more than two sentences. The point of a thesis is not to summarize every part of the essay, but to explain to the reader what the main idea of the essay is about.

When deciding where to place a thesis statement in an essay, there are a few guidelines to follow. Never begin a paper with the thesis statement. The attention getter and introductory sentence should come first. Thesis statements are to be placed toward the end of the first paragraph. It is also acceptable to have the thesis statement be the last sentence in the first paragraph. Here is an example of a thesis statement that I have used:

Depending upon preferences, the extreme amount of light, or lack there of, may greatly affect student and staff performance in school settings. Other benefits have also been discovered in the area of hearing, creativity, and emotional intensity in regard to light levels.

This is a relatively long thesis statement. However, it is still only two sentences long. This is a strong thesis statement because it slightly covers each part of my research paper without explaining every detail. I have captured each section of the topics that I discussed in my research paper without giving away the details. This is one example of an effective way to write a thesis.

Effective Summaries

An effective summary is a condensed, shortened version of the original work. In order to correctly write a summary, one must find information from a certain source and fit that information into one's own words, as well as one's own structure. Summaries must remain in the author's point of view. The writer may not change what the author's point of view was in one's essay while summarizing.

When writing a summary, start with a transitional paragraph to represent that the work was found from such source. Then, after summarizing, add parenthetical citations to give credit to the author of the information. Summaries are often done in research papers to avoid plagiarism. Here is a research paper that represents a summary. In my paper, I took certain pieces of information from a multiple-page work. By summarizing what the author was saying, I avoided plagiarism, and was able to expand on a fact from the author without changing that author's original point. Here is an instance when I used a summary, also in my research paper.

A study conducted by Rita Dunn has shown that by altering lighting techniques, students perform better in school, and get tasks done more efficiently. To prove the theory of light affecting learning style, a study was performed on a fourth grade class in New York City. Thirty-two students were tested on their reading speed and accuracy with regard to academic achievement (Dunn). They could indicate whether they preferred bright or dimly lit areas to work in and were given test and retest practices in both settings...

This summary was taken from the article in parenthetical citations. It is very important to use in text citations for this type of summary to avoid plagiarism and to give credit to the author. I did not copy this entire article as it was found. Instead, I summarized the most important parts, and took than information to help prove a point I was making. I also made sure to use language that I am familiar with to make sure not to copy the author. This summary would be most appropriate for a research-type paper.

How To Reference Sources Correctly

It is very important to correctly give credit to the writer of the source. The best way to do this is to use the newest MLA 7 style. This is the most up-to-date referencing technique. Here is an example of a correctly cited source.

Dunn, Rita, et al. Light: One Element of Learning Style, n.p.:1983. ERIC. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.

Citations are not bolded, but I bolded this to show the citation. If this were a research paper, the print would be regular. The citation begins with the author's last name, followed by the author's first name. The words, "et al" mean that there were more than three contributing authors. The next part of this reference is the title of the article. This is in italics. The name of the publisher follows the title. There was no publisher for this source, but 1983 is the published year. Eric is the website that the source was found. This is put in italics. The last and final part of the reference is the date that they article was accessed. Writing citations is a process that starts out quite confusing, but continues to get easier each time one does it. Writing citations is something that I definitely improved on throughout this course.

A work cited page is the last page of a research paper. This is the compilation of all of the citations that one used in his or her paper. The most important things to remember on a works cited page is to alphabetize each citation, double line space the entry between each of the entries, and indent the second line of each citation. If the citation is only one line long nothing is to be indented, but if the citation is two lines long the second line needs to be indented. The reason for works cited page is for one to find the information that the author used. If the reader wanted to do some further research, the works cited would be a great place to start.

Parenthetical citations go hand-in-hand with works cited. Parenthetical citations are used after quotes, summaries, statistics, tables, charts, and graphs. Usually, parenthetical citations are the author's last name in parenthesis. This is an example of a parenthetical citation.

“Learning style encompasses at least 20 variables, including each person’s environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological, and cognitive process preferences (Burke).”

The period is always placed after the parenthesis. In some situations, the title of the article needs to be used instead of the author's last name. This could be because the author chooses to stay anonymous, and does not include their name. Here is a situation where this needed to be used.

Utilizing one’s light learning preference is beneficial to the case subjects. Darkness reduces the feelings of constraint and sparks creativity (“Can Dim Lighting Make Our Students More Creative?”).

As previously mentioned, I was very uncomfortable with using these referencing techniques. With some research, and outside help, it became very easy to feel familiar with MLA 7, as well as parenthetical citations. The most important thing to remember is, with every fact, there must be a parenthetical citation. It is very easy to forget this while writing a paper, but make sure to always check over the paper to look for any missed citations. I now feel very comfortable with using all types of referencing tools, and I feel that this is definitely a great thing to know for future college classes.

Writing Narrative Essays

A narrative speech recounts the details of an event that happened in the past. Narrative speeches are arranged in chronological order. A narrative speech is intended to teach the reader a lesson or a moral about a life event. My narrative speech was written to describe my experience as a housekeeper during my summer job. I started my speech by explaining how I got the job, and my experience towards the beginning of the summer, and progressed through the essay to explain my thoughts on the job toward the end of the summer. I kept my paper in chronological order to keep the integrity of the story. The end of the essay explained the lesson that I chose to portray, and the conclusion explained my reason for writing the paper. I did not need to cite sources for this information because I did not use outside sources. Below is an example of my narrative essay. The main thing that I took from this essay was the use of spacing paragraphs between thoughts, and making sure that my information stayed in chronological order.

What did I Learn From This Course?

Throughout this course, I gained a lot of writing knowledge that I believe will help me with writing in the future. First, I learned how to space paragraphs between thoughts. Before this class I would write an essay with only five paragraphs; each having one thought. I discovered that breaking apart my paragraphs was the grammatical, and correct approach to writing college-worthy papers. After each thought, I learned to start a new paragraph. The second thing I learned was the proper way to use subject verb agreement in an essay. For example, before this class, I would say a sentence such as:

When one stays at a hotel they order room service.

This is incorrect because the number of people cannot change within a sentence. "One" is singular, meaning one person. "They" is plural meaning two or more people. The correct way to add a pronoun would be to explain that he or she order room service to keep the sentence singular. I believe that this course has helped me to identify problems in my writing that I may not have realized before. By taking this class I have a higher writing ability and awareness of the structure of quality essays.

My Best Work

For my best work, I chose to include my research paper. This paper started out difficult, but I really enjoyed writing it towards the end. The main thing that I learned was to never stop short on an assignment, and always make sure that things are perfect. I never realized what I was capable of before this project. I also love my works cited page. It felt really good to know that I finished a tough project, and did a superior job on it. This paper was my best work because it was very detail and research oriented, and the structure was well done. I really liked the research that I found, and in the end, I learned a lot about my topic. The main point of a research paper is to inform the audience, and I feel like I did that. My paper was both professional, and accurate. Below is an attached copy of my sources and research paper.

One the contrary, my favorite paper to write was my description essay. This essay was about a memory that I still keep close to my heart. A description essay is meant to create a picture in the reader's head than invokes each of the five senses. Each time I read my essay, I felt like I was with the person I was describing. I left the dominant impression that the person I wrote about was very special to me, and that the memories we made would stay with me forever. Below is also a copy of my description essay.


Throughout this course, I have greatly improved as a writer. I have really been working hard on my writing throughout this first semester, and I am glad to say that the hard work has paid off. My essays are very well-developed, and my paragraphs are well spaced, and relevant. My essays have stayed on topic, and the ideas behind them were developed very well. I have now learned about certain subject-verb agreements, and I no longer make that mistake in my writing. I have also excelled at citing my sources, and I do not fear research papers any longer. I am excited to see if I continue to grow as a writer, and I look forward to producing more writing works in the future.