Essay on the Use of Sources in Academic Writing

4 pages
1041 words
George Washington University
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Journal Entry 13

It is appropriate to use sources when an essay requires extensive information about a certain topic. Sources help supplement the information one writes down. Essays that do not need sources require real life encounters or personal opinions. Nonetheless, most essays require sources otherwise; they would have a very low standard in terms of the information provided.

Bias refers to the tendency to favor one side of an argument more than the other. Facts refer to an existing truth. Opinions refer to individuals feelings or thoughts regarding a particular argument or situation. It is important to differentiate between the three. This enables a researcher to know when he or she is supposed to provide evidence when he or she states a fact. Also, it prevents the researcher from exhibiting bias even when they think they are stating their opinion.

Journal Entry 14

There are various methods of organizing research information. They include annotated bibliography, computerized notes, and notecard notes.

When writing a research paper, I prefer using annotated bibliography. This method is easy to use compared to computerized notes or notecard notes. The method requires one to include the source as a title of a paragraph. Hence, unlike notes, which require one to keep retracing the source, annotated bibliography is less tedious.

Plagiarized information is information borrowed directly from another source. Writers commit plagiarism when they cut and paste information from books, internet sources, and student papers. To avoid plagiarism, one is advised to read the information in the external source and then paraphrase it in the way he or she understands it. Nonetheless, when one borrows information, it is appropriate for one to cite where he or she borrowed the information. Personal opinions and facts do not require citation.

Journal Entry 15

A direct quotation is a short statement taken from a speech, book, or play. A direct quotation is useful when writing a review. First, it shows that the reviewer has thoroughly read the play, book, or speech. Also, it shows the reviewers ability to create his or her own opinions based on what another individual said.

Paraphrasing is expressing what someone else has stated using one's words. This technique is important because it prevents plagiarism. When one paraphrase, he or she is able to understand what the other person was trying to say. A summary is a brief statement or paragraph that provides the main points of something that has already been written. A summary helps the reader understand a concept or material quicker.

Journal Entry 16

Social media platforms are gaining popularity. This is a fact. The purpose of the research paper is to explore the impact of social media on peoples behavior. First, medical experts are diagnosing some users with physical and mental illnesses due to the huge amount of time they spend on their devices. Second, due to social media, people are becoming less interested in making real human connections. Third, social media has greatly encouraged cyber bullying.

Recent research shows that intensive use of social media affects individual self-esteem. It also shows that those who like bullying others are finding social media platforms very useful (Botella, 2012). Today, there are millions of social media users in every country and according to predictions; even more, people are likely to join. Hence, unless the use of social media is regulated in some way, it is likely to affect more people.

Journal Entry 17

I can identify opposing views in my argument by focusing on statements in which I have used negative words such as cannot and do not, linking words such as however and nonetheless and personal pronouns such as I. Including opposition in ones essay helps to show that there is another side to the argument.

In my opinion, acknowledging the opposition does not weaken Safires argument. One does not have to support another persons argument provided he or she has good reason to support his or her opposing argument. The strength of Safires argument comes from the reasoning he provides to support his argument.

Journal Entry 18

My writing has changed significantly since the beginning of the course. First, I have learned the essence of sources in essay writing. Before, I used to rely heavily on my brain when writing essays. Hence, most of the time I was unable to come up with interesting arguments. However, I have now learned that relying on information from other sources can help improve your arguments.

Also, I have learned how to write essays in different academic formats. This should prevent me from making obvious mistakes in my essay format. Combined with information on how to use sources, I have been able to understand the different ways of citing relevant sources in my essay. Unlike before when I used to quote almost everything I read, now I can quickly go through particular sources and paraphrase the necessary information.

I still need to work on a few skills to ensure that I present quality essays. First, I need to learn how to conduct good research when looking for sources. Normally, I rely on the internet when looking for information. However, I have learned that the internet has a lot of unnecessary information, which is inapplicable in academic papers. Also, I need to work on the use of unnecessary vocabulary in my essays.

Previously I used to think that use of pompous language helped spice up my essay. Hence, I often find myself using unnecessary vocabulary. However, I am working on this because I have learned good essays should be easy to read and understand. The use of sources is something I feel I should have differently before taking this course. Using sources not only shows where one got added information, it also shows that one read deeply.

When writing future assignments, I will be focused on presenting well-argued papers. Hence, I will rely on as many sources as possible when doing my future assignments. Also, before writing an essay, I shall first outline the main points. Then using external sources and personal opinions where possible, I shall build upon the main points.

Work Cited

Botella, C., Riva, G., Gaggioli, A., Wiederhold, B. K., Alcaniz, M., & Banos, R. M. The present and future of positive technologies. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(2), (2012): 7884.


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