ENG 123 1.2: Locating a Research Article

Today’s Plan:

  • Quick Hits
  • Reviewing summaries
  • Team formation
  • Searching in Summon, Google Scholar
  • Homework

A Few Quick Hits

What’s wrong with this sentence and how do we fix it?

In the article “Stress Training for Cops’ Brains Could Reduce Suspect Shootings”, it discusses the reaction the brain often has in stressful situations

Ok, similar one:

While reading, “Stress Training for Cops’ Brains Could Reduce Suspect Shootings (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.”, we learn about how stress can aid or make certain situations deadly when cops are in active shooter or stressful situations. Rachel Nuwer, the author, begins with how stress is a survival instinct that has kept us alive for for centuries.

What’s wrong with the syntax of this sentence and how do we fix it?

Scientists have linked it to a specific type of pesticide, neonicotinoids. While agricultural businesses, such as DuPoint, say that the bees are being killed by mites.

Reviewing Summaries

Today we are going to start off with Cathy Davidson’s Think-Pair-Share method for generating discussion. Davidson describes:

In Think-Pair-Share, you hand out index cards and pencils (this is not necessary but it somehow sets the mood fast and fast is important in TPS). You set a timer for 90 seconds (really, 90). And you pose a question. For example, if this were a class on “Why Start With Pedagogy?” I would ask everyone to take 90 seconds to jot down three things (there are no right or wrong answers) they do in their classrooms to engage students. When the timer sounds, I then have students work in pairs for another 90 seconds in a very specific, ritualized way. Their objective in this 90 seconds is to, together, come up with one thing to share with the whole group, it can be a synthesis of various comments on both cards, but one agreed upon thing to share. BUT before that each person has to hear the other. One member of the pair reads their three things while the other is silent; then the second person reads to a silent listener. Hearing your own voice in a classroom—and witnessing being heard– is the beginning of taking responsibility for your own learning. It’s not only about meeting someone else’s criteria but setting the bar for yourself. There is also something about the ritual of writing down, then reading to someone else, that allows the introvert to speak up in a way that avoids the panic of being called on and having to speak extemp before a group. It is extremely egalitarian—it structures equality. The final 90 seconds involves going rapidly around the room and having one person in each pair read their contribution.

Here is your question: what is one thing that stood out in your article? Can you frame that thing in terms of a “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” meme (as in Noun. It’s what’s XYZ.)?

Team Formation

Ok, let’s see how this works out. To Google Docs!

Searching in Summon, Google Scholar

Once we have divided into teams of 3-4, I will ask each team to put together a list of 6 peer reviewed sources for their topic. If possible, each source should have a direct connection to the Scientific American article. How can you find sources? Try searching for any reports, researchers, articles, etc mentioned in the SA article. Let’s look at Summon and Google Scholar.

For instance, let’s say that I was working on Gillam’s Bees article. Scanning through it, I see a quote from Michele Simon, who Gillam describes as “a public health lawyer who specializes in food issues.” To Summon! To Google Scholar!

So what happens if I try Jeff Pettis? To the Google Doc!


For homework, I want you to dive into Mueller’s article “Mapping the Resourcefulness of Sources: A Worknet Pedagogy.” Remember to print out a copy.

Structurally, Mueller’s article is a typical humanities/pedagogy academic article (an article on teaching). It begins by laying out a problem and surveying previous research–focusing on research that is important for his “worknets” approach. In this case, the problem concerns student use of sources and the previous research is Marilyn Cooper’s work on writing ecologies (that writing is always connected to a network of cultural and social forces, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum). He also points to a few other theorists that follow or echo Cooper’s work: Sirc, Rice, Latour.

After the “Opening” section, the next few sections offer more theoretical support for his idea. That is, in order to teach sources in an “ecological way,” we have to have an idea of what ecology means both in general and as it pertains to writing. He begins by explicating Cooper a bit, then turns to Richard Lanham’ notion of “interfaces” to interrogate how current approach to source use are insufficient. His focus, as the section header suggests, is on prepositions.

Mueller writes:

[…]methodical approaches to source use are not so much lockstep processes of search, retrieval, selection, and integration, but rather routes across and beyond particular problems. Simply, methodical approaches to source use can become restrictive too early in an inquiry process if we understand source consultation and use as following too narrow or monolithic a set of procedures. When approaches to research writing tolerate stagnant or unquestioning operations, source integration risks turning into unchecked ritual–a flat but requisite gesture involving finding and slotting excerpts. In general, this is what I wish to avoid in my teaching of research-based writing. My intention is neither to abandon methodical approaches to source use nor to put too deeply in doubt rationalist sensibilities about the functions of sources in researched writing. Rather, worknets as an alternative framework may provide a complementary approach that supports writing conceived and carried out along “wiggyly paths or irregular courses.”

The remainder of the article articulates the four specific “wiggly paths” that comprise Mueller’s worknets: semantic, bibliographic, affinity-based, and choric.

I offer this layout to give you an inroad into understanding Mueller’s article. Before next Wednesday’s class, I’d like you to read Mueller’s article and post a 400 word summary to Canvas. The summary should:

  • What is Mueller’s issue with the way research is taught? What is his issue with Lunsford’s approach (since he points to her famous textbook as an example)?
  • Explain what theory grounds Mueller’s approach to worknets–what does he mean by ecology? What’s the deal with prepositions? Why call the four elements of the worknet “wiggly paths”?
  • Put the four elements of the worknet–semantic, bibliographic, affinity-based, and choric–into your own words.
  • Make sure you conclude by stressing how these four methods fix the problem that you/he articulates in the beginning! How is this different from Lunsford?
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