You are on page 1of 6

McGuire 1

Heather McGuire
Instructor Nathan Cole
7 August 2015
Reflection Assignment
The basis of writing in multiple genres requires an ability to choose a topic that appeals to
various audiences. Methods used to improve writing skills include research, self-analysis,
methodical organization, peer reviews, revisions, and correct citations. It is important to
determine what is credible, and what information should be ignored. Eliminating unreliable
information can greatly improve the writers ethos. Feedback and critiques provide insight as to
what is working in the piece, and what should be removed or revised. Adding visual or audio
elements can help an author reach more audience members by appealing to more than one sense.
In varying degrees, these elements should be combined in writing to create the most effective
and persuasive academic paper.
As I brainstormed rhetorical topics that could span three assignments, I realized that the
topic had to be something I was passionate about or knew a significant amount about. Obesity
was at the forefront of my mind. After establishing a topic, I listed issues associated with obesity
and potential audiences for each issue. Through process of elimination, I directed my focus
toward childhood obesity treatment, childhood obesity causes and effects, and the major force
behind Americas obesity epidemic. These subjects allowed enough variation to appeal to
different audiences and genres. As I outlined each writing assignment, I focused on researching
articles, books, medical journals, and government statistics that supported and opposed my

McGuire 2

thesis. With an abundance of evidence supporting each topic, it was easier to disprove opposing
For each rhetorical topic, the audience grew in size as the issue gained a broader focus. In
focusing on childhood obesity treatments, the main audience was parents of overweight children.
In the second topic, childhood obesity causes and effects, the audience expanded to add
economic experts, community leaders, and obese adults. This expansion resulted from
encompassing a wide range of facts to aid the audience in understanding the impact of obesity on
the United States. Eventually, my final position paper opened the subject of obesity to highlight
the reasons why Americans are obese. In the position assignment, the audience included the
entire American population. Each assignment required new research, a new audience, and a
renewed focus on using ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos to persuade the audience. Each genre
and audience pushed me to adapt my writing style.
In the beginning, it was somewhat difficult to cite sources in the MLA format because
each specific source requires different data. After receiving instructors feedback on my citation
errors in the first two rough drafts, I went back through the textbook guidelines and my writings
to determine which formatting issues were bogging me down. Peer review comments from
Shannon Meers, about how to cite sources within the text, helped me revise my in text citations
for the final drafts. She also helped me realize a few errors in abbreviating the organizations
names within the text. This was something that I would not have realized on my own.
Another issue presented by the instructor, in my initial profile rough draft, was that most
academic papers should avoid using first and second person voice. After the rough draft was
graded, I researched ways to address the audience with the correct voice. One specific issue I
faced in rewriting the first paper was I used my own story of childhood obesity as personal ethos.

McGuire 3

The problem was it referenced I, me, my, and mine throughout the story. With some guidance
and suggestions from Professor Cole, I was able to revise these issues in a creative way by
changing first person to Heather, she, her, and hers. I followed this up by creating an in text
citation and works cited source for an unpublished memoir. This taught me how to overhaul an
entire rough draft to correct voice and ethos. This research also assisted me in writing the report
piece in third person. Once I understood how to use first and third person correctly, I was able to
use a combination of the two in writing my position paper.
Additionally, I realized that organizational structure was a point of weakness in my
writing. In the second paper, I used the report genre. This required a very well thought out and
organized piece. However, after peer reviews and instructor comments, I felt conflicted with the
two concluding paragraphs. My peer review partner, Shannon Meers, commented I like the
arrangement of your report, and how you end on suggestions for change before leading into the
conclusion. On the contrary, the instructor noted that the last two paragraphs were repetitive.
After I analyzed both suggestions, I determined that it was most effective to revise the second to
last paragraph, and eliminate the repetitive points in the conclusion. Upon suggestion, I also
revised the introduction and conclusion of the report piece to reflect the proper sequence of
research presented in the article. This helped in my efforts to determine a solid thesis statement
with supporting facts presented in sequential order.
In analyzing my peers rough drafts, I noticed that it was easier to point out quotation,
spelling, and simple grammatical errors. However, I firmly believe that most improvement in
writing comes from strong positive and negative critiques. So, in reviewing my peers
assignments I attempted to give thorough feedback.

McGuire 4

After reviewing Roldan Diaz profile, I made a few suggestions as to how he could
improve and clarify his ethos and quotations. My suggestion was Insert a sentence before or
after this quotation to establish why James M Henslin is credible. This would improve your
ethos. I also suggested that he follow up a quotation with an explanation as to why he felt the
piece of information was relevant to his piece. I felt that this feedback would help him clarify
whose work he was citing and why it was important.
Then, as I read Tanner Griffins report, I found many of the facts presented as evidence
actually opposed both the thesis statement and the conclusion. My suggestion was It would
greatly enhance the paper if the author could eliminate the contradictions between the facts about
illegal guns being less likely to be used in killings and the assumption that if gun restrictions
became harsher those criminals would resort to obtaining guns illegally. Many of the facts were
presented without background information, so as the reader I was able to draw multiple
conclusions from the research presented. I felt that if Tanner could clarify his research then the
reader could ultimately be persuaded to see things his way.
The use of a multi-media component in my writing was not extensive, but appropriately
fit each topic. I used two images with captions in the profile and position genre assignments.
While I was researching sources for the profile assignment, I realized that the majority of the
articles I found included photos of people who were try to improve their lives. From the
beginning, this concept grabbed my attention, so I searched for images that would appropriately
fit my writing in this same manner.
In my profile paper, I incorporated an image of a boy who had successfully lost dozens of
pounds and his mother in the background analyzing nutrition labels in front of their refrigerator
full of healthy food. My intent was to appeal to the emotions of the parents. The caption that

McGuire 5

accompanied this image helped illustrate the logical reasoning behind the need for parents to
help, model, and encourage their children to eat more nutritiously. The second image used in the
profile assignment was a before and after picture of a young girls sixty-five pound weight loss.
The image and the caption were intended to capture the attention of the parents by appealing to
the logical reasoning behind why one childs weight loss is a family effort. Additionally, the
image was intended to encourage parents to feel empowered and as though there is hope in
helping their children get better.
In the third paper, I also used two graphics. One of the images was a photograph,
presumably enhanced by technology, of a popular fast food chains bacon cheeseburger. The
intent of using such a bold image was to appeal to the audiences analytical reasoning. By
presenting a bold marketing image at the beginning of the paper, and referencing it again, at a
later point, the audience is presented with a direct experience of the marketing tactics used by
fast food companies. The intent in the experience was to appeal to the audience in the right
organizational sequence, their logical reasoning, and present the credibility of author to speak
about the subject by providing a firsthand experience. Additionally, in the position paper, I used
a chart that outlined statistical percentages of obese adults eating habits. This chart tied back
into the text, and helped establish the evidence provided by researching the topic. It also gave the
audience a visual representation where numbers alone may seem daunting.
Throughout this course, I have learned that one topic can be applied various genres with
substantially different results. Also, the foundation of an academic paper relies on choosing a
topic that means something to an intended audience. I found that critical thinking, research, peer
support, revisions, and reflection are essential elements to writing. Throughout this course, I
chose to write in the profile, report, and position genres. This enhanced my understanding of

McGuire 6

writing in different voices, choosing both complex and simple thesis statements, and how to
appeal to multiple audiences. Also, to enhance my credibility and gain the audiences attention, I
used reliable sources and visual elements in writing. I was able to reflect on my mistakes, and
revise my papers to fulfill the highest criteria with feedback from peers and the instructor. I
believe my ability to communicate to and persuade my audience has improved by combining
these processes.