Notes Hillger

Chapter 1

  • Higher education has two interrelated functions: to communicate and to create knowledge.
  • You'll use the skills, knowledge, and habits that you learn as an apprentice scholar throughout college and in your personal and professional life.
  • To develop your writing ability, you only need four things: knowledge, practice, feedback, and most important, motivation.
  • When writing don't write the same way every time.
  • Break the writing process down into four parts: discovery, drafting, revision, and editing.
  • Three types of audiences: target, secondary, and tertiary.
  • Make it matter, understand exactly what you are arguing.

Scholarly Arguments

  • Have real purposes based in problems that interest the participants.
  • Address a specific audience.
  • Belong to larger conversations, histories, and contexts that determine the rules for what counts as a good argument.
  • Pursue ideal purposes.
  • Address sophisticated, demanding audiences.

Rhetorical Situation

  • Any time you are reading an argument, you need to ask yourself questions that fall under these primary categories:
    • Who (Author, Audience)?
    • What and How (Subject matter, Argument, and Style)?
    • When and Where (Context)?
    • Why (the Writer's Motivation-So What?)

So What?

  • Scholars read and write arguments to investigate three basic questions:
    • How do we know what we know?
    • Why do we believe what we believe?
    • How can we improve what we know and believe?
  • Take them to the challenge, using argument as a tool to discover, communicate, and revise what you know, think, and believe.

Chapter 2

  • Arguments originate from a catalyst: a gap or imprefection, an unknown answer, or an unsolved problem that matters to the writer.
  • All arguments begin with a question or uncertainty and use some method of investigation and case building to arrive at a conclusion.
  • Scholars arguments respond to a catalyst that matters to them and to their audience. For example:
    • Discover a disciplinary question that puzzles them
    • Feel aggravated by a problem in their teaching
    • Vehemently disagree with another scholar's findings
    • Notice something new that contradicts previous experience
  • Arguments that anticipate have the best chance for changing our audience's mind.

How do we build arguments?

  • It is like a bridge. We start with a thesis, which is our claim, and build supports to hold the road up and linkages to tie everything together.
  • The three most common categories of support used by scholars are evidence, verification, and illustration.
    • Evidence includes things we can observe (primary source).
    • Verification includes things we can look up (secondary source).
    • Illustrations involve things we imagine (original source).
  • When we collect our support we need to think carefully if we want to build credibility, activate reasoning, or evoke emotion.
  • Linkages connect support and claims together. It explains the "because" part of an argument.

Making Assumptions

  • Assumptions are any elements of the argument that either the writer or the audience are thinking but not saying. Can include:
    • Evidence, verification, or other background knowledge that we assume our audience already knows
    • Values and beliefs
    • The catalyst or implications of the argument
  • We have to make some assumptions but don't do it all the time, especially if the demographic is mixed.

Rookie Mistakes

  • Arguing the obvious. To avoid:
    • Read more.
    • Ask an expert.
  • Arguing without support. To avoid:
    • Highlight your argument.
    • Consult a reader.
  • Supporting without arguing. To avoid:
    • Use topic sentences.
    • Search for stranded support.

Chapter 3

  • The first lesson in strategic reading is to have a clear, specific purpose in mind every time you read.
  • Ask yourself these three questions below to determine your reading pace, place, and approach.
    • Am I reading to get a basic idea of what this is about?
    • Am I reading to learn and fully understand a concept?
    • Am I reading to analyze or criticize something?
  • Knowing something about the author's credentials and background can give us insight into his assumptions, motives, biases, and credibility.
  • Arguments have their own genres such as editorial and warning label.
  • The guide of reading a scholarly argument includes:
    • Identify the catalyst
    • Identify the central claim
    • Identify the support
    • Identify the linkages
    • Identify the implications

Reading Strategies

Reading experts advocate a reading process that involves three different phases:

  • Previewing
    • Before you read something, scan the table of contents, headings, tables, images, and keys words.
      • What are the main ideas?
      • What is the writer trying to accomplish?
      • How does this reading connect to the course I'm taking?
    • Then, skim quickly through the whole text, refining you sense of the main ideas.
  • Reading
    • If you encounter a confusing paragraph, stop and try to work out what the author is saying.
    • Take notes while reading.
    • Write down your reactions to the argument.
    • Improve concentration by limiting distractions.
  • Reviewing
    • Stop reading and recall what you just read.
    • Repetition needs to happen in fairly quick succession after you first learn new material.

Identifying the Controversy

Controversy Categories

  • Existence or fact
    • Is it true? or Did it happen?
  • Definition or interpretation
    • Does this case fit the definition?
    • How do we interpret this information?
  • Cause, consequence, or circumstance
    • What caused this?
    • Was it intentional?
    • Are there extenuating circumstances?
  • Evaluation
    • Is it right or wrong?
    • Is it serious enough to warrant our attention?
  • Jurisdiction, procedure, policy, or action to be taken
    • What, if anything, should we do about it?

Chapter 4

  • Starting with sources
    • Verify whether our work will yield something new
    • Begin collecting info to answer our research questions
    • Provide context for our investigation by relaring our study to another scholar's work
    • Borrow methods of investigation or theories that worked for other scholars
    • Identify views, assumptions, or conclusions to build on or diverge from
  • Writing that follows research
    • Begin with a very specific problem or question
    • Review scholarly publications
    • Design and conduct some kind of investigation
    • Report results of the research
  • When sifting through sources remember they need stability, credibility, and reliability

Ask Yourself

  • Who wrote this? What makes them credible?
  • What are the authors to achieve?
  • How do they support their claims?
  • Is anyone profiting from this? Who? How might money-making efforts influence the content?
  • When was this written?
  • Will this still be here next month?


  • Read the text
  • Create a "reverse outline," or schematic, of the text's layout
  • Select the most relevant points
  • Write a summary
  • Revise the summary


  • Read carefully
  • Think about what it's saying
  • Rewrite the gist of what the source says
  • Double check the orginal
  • Cite the author

Generate ideas

  • Play the believing and doubting game
  • Find a source with which you strongly disagree
  • Create a table that compares and contrasts your sources
  • Pair two sources in conversation with each other
  • Look at one source through the "lens" of another source

Chapter 5

Ask the right questions

  • Controversies about existence or fact: (Is it true? Did it happen?)
  • Controversies about definition or interpretation: (Does this case fit the definition? How do we interpret this information?)
  • Controversies about cause, consequence, or circumstance: (Was it intentional? Are there extenuating circumstance?)
  • Controversies about evaluation: (Is it right or wrong? Is it serious enough to warrant our attention?)
  • Controversies about jurisdiction, procedure, policy, or action to be taken: (What, if anything, should we do about it?)

Writing an Evolving Thesis

  • To show readers your evolving thoughts
  • To build a complicated argument
  • To develop a controversial argument
  • To keep the reader interested or surprised

Chapter 6

Building Credibility

  • Verification
  • Reputation
  • Presentation

Activating Reasoning or Logic with Evidence

  • Quantitative Evidence
  • Qualitative Evidence
  • Reader-Centered Writing
  • Scrutinize Your Linkages
  • Research Methods
    • Interviews
    • Surveys
    • Observations
  • Representing Results Graphically
    • Line charts
    • Pie charts
    • Bubble charts
  • Analysis
  • Drawing Conclusions
  • Personal Experience as Support (Narrating)
    • You can't forget the audience
    • You need evidence

Chapter 7

Fallacies in Arguments

  • reasoning or logic
  • credibility
  • emotion

Respond to Objectives

  • We can concede
  • We can refute

Elaborate to Fill Gaps

  • Incorporate more examples
  • Respond to more objections
  • Relate the argument to real-life contexts
  • Discuss the larger implications of your argument
  • Make connections to other related issues

Chapter 8

Techniques for Organizing Your Thoughts

  • Visualize your organization
  • Experiment with maps, graphics, and software
  • Create a reverse outline

Developing Your Arguments

  • Arguments about existence and fact
  • Arguments about defintion
  • Arguments about cause and consequence
  • Arguments about evaluation
  • Arguments about policy
    • describes a problem
    • presents solutions, and
    • justifies a course of action

Select Scholarly Arrangements

  • The Scholarly Model
    • Introduction
    • Background
    • Support
    • Consideration of alternative arguments
    • Conclusion
  • Scholarly Moves
    • Start with what others have said
    • Highlight agreement before disagreement
    • Put your best foot forward

Structure your writing process

  • Break the assignment into a series of manageable tasks; then assign a deadline for each task
  • Break a long assignment into chunks
  • Get feedback along the way
  • Don't insist on following a fixed or linear plan

Chapter 9

Writing with Integrity

  • Plagiarism
  • Unauthorized Collaboration
  • Recycled Writing
  • Tips for avoiding plagiarism
    • Get to know your honor code
    • As you read, pay careful attention to how writers use their sources
    • Maintain careful notes as you read and conduct research
    • Don't be tempted to write your paper and then go back to fill in the citations
    • Don't procrastinate

Quote and Integrate Sources

  • Create a conversation
    • Interpret the source
    • Explain how the quotation relates to our argument
    • Tell readers what make the quotation significant
    • Consider ways to make a source our own
  • Paraphrasing
    • Original text
    • Proper paraphrase
    • Proper paraphrase with quotation
    • Patch writing

How do we know when we need to cite something?

  • Always cite quotations and paraphrases
  • Cite summaries, too
  • Cite statistics, dates, and other details

Chapter 10

Higher order and later order concerns

  • Perfectionism can cause writer's block
  • Polishing can waste time and energy
  • Editing while drafting is less effective


  • Errors
  • Grammar versus usage
  • Punctuation
    • period
    • dash
    • colon
    • semicolon
  • Intentional errors

Clarity and Vividness

  • Use strong verbs
  • Remember, less can be more
  • Vivid and Precise Language

Creative choices we make to improve style

  • Imitation
    • What's the typical length of articles?
    • How are they usually organized?
    • What style is typical?
  • Sentence Variation
    • Rhetorical variation
    • Amplification
    • Linguistic variation
    • Genre translation
  • Figures of speech
    • Reference failure
    • Inappropriate style
    • Misinterpretation
    • Cliches
    • False comparison

Writing in Digital Spaces

  • How is writing online different?
    • It's hypertextual
    • Online writing is always public
    • Audiences move quickly
    • The web is big and noisy
  • Writing E-mails
    • Choose an appropriate style
      • Explicit greetings
      • Some introduction
      • An explicit question or statement of what you want or need
      • A polite closing
    • Write like it's official

Proofreading and editing

  • Reading your writing aloud
  • Reviewing with others
  • Using technology
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