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Writing: Ten Core Concepts 2nd Edition

Robert P. Yagelski

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Robert P. Yagelski's WRITING: TEN CORE CONCEPTS covers ten fundamental lessons students must learn to become effective writers. This resource introduces students to the key rhetorical moves of three essential aims of writing -- analysis, argument, and narrative. Emphasizing writing as an interaction between a writer and a reader, it offers students a way to participate in the important conversations that shape our lives. This edition includes 21 new readings, new strategies for academic reading, a new section on summary-response essays, and updated guidance on finding digital resources and on MLA documentation.

Robert P. Yagelski, State University of New York, Albany

Robert P. Yagelski is Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Program in Writing and Critical Inquiry and Professor of English Education in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. He also teaches courses at SUNY-Albany in writing, composition theory and pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and qualitative research methods and helps prepare secondary school teachers. Considered a leading voice in composition theory, Professor Yagelski is widely published in the major journals in the field. He is also director of the Capital District Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, and former director of the SUNY-Albany Writing Center. He earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from The Ohio State University.

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  • Ten Core Concepts: The ten core concepts represent the ten most important moves and habits of effective writers, and as presented in this writing guide, they function as a set of principles and processes that students can apply to any writing project. The core concepts serve as a framework for understanding writing and as a practical, step-by-step guide for negotiating the demands of academic writing assignments. The text relies on the repetition of the ten core concepts to give students the practice they need to make the concepts part of their repertoire as writers.
  • Five Part Organization: The book is organized into five main parts, including an introduction to the core concepts; guidance in the three main categories of writing (analytical, persuasive, and narrative); and practical advice about research skills and the conventions of writing. Throughout, the core concepts serve as a step-by-step guide to negotiating the demands of academic writing tasks.
  • Visual, Interactive Guide: Chapter 3 presents a visual, interactive guide that students can use to apply the core concepts to any piece of writing. Students who use the questions and flow charts in this chapter can be assured that they will do the critical thinking and make the decisions necessary for creating an effective writing project.
  • Detailed Case Study: Chapter 4 presents a detailed case study of a first-year student writer as she applies the concepts. For students who like to see a model in action, this chapter demonstrates Chloe Charles's process of discovery and learning. Students see the evolution of her guiding thesis statement, draft with peer and instructor comments, and final draft.
  • Emphasis on Analytical Writing: Chapters 5–10 help students become competent in the most common forms of analytical writing in college. Following an introductory chapter on understanding analytical writing, each of the subsequent five chapters explores the purposes and features of a different form of analytical writing. Using the ten core concepts, the chapters guide students through analytical writing projects.
  • Emphasis on Argumentative Writing: Chapters 11–14 cover the principles of effective persuasive writing. Students use the ten core concepts to explore the nature and purpose of argument in academic and popular contexts and for different rhetorical purposes.
  • Emphasis on Narrative and Informative Writing: Chapters 15–18 help students learn how to write narratives for different rhetorical purposes and to appreciate the uses of narrative in academic contexts. A unique chapter on composing digital stories gives students guidelines on using media while still focusing on writing. The chapters in this section guide students in applying the ten core concepts to writing effective narratives and informative texts.
  • Fundamentals of Academic Reading and Writing: Students learn how to work with ideas and information in Chapters 19 and 26. Through instruction and example, they learn about the principles of academic inquiry and how to write like a scholar; how to read academic texts; how to write well-developed, coherent, and cohesive paragraphs; how to summarize, paraphrase, and synthesize ideas; how to frame an argument; and how to introduce a writing project and guide readers through it by effectively using transitions.
  • Using Sources: Five chapters on using and documenting sources (Chapters 21-25) provide all the research information students need to find, evaluate, integrate, and document sources in MLA style. The rhetorical context is emphasized throughout to help students make choices that will resonate with their readers.
  • Document Design: The rhetorical usefulness and the principles of document design are covered in Chapter 20. The chapter also discusses three design projects in different media: print documents, Prezi presentations, and website design. Advice about working with visual elements such as tables, charts, graphs, and images is also included.
  • Grammar, Punctuation, and Mechanics: Common problems of grammar and usage are addressed in Chapter 27. The chapter begins with strategies students can use to avoid making errors and then covers five major categories of the conventions of written English.

Writing: Ten Core Concepts


1. Why We Write.
Understanding Writing. Writing in College. Writing in the Workplace. Writing as a Citizen. Writing to Understand Ourselves.
2. Ten Core Concepts for Effective Writing.
Core Concept 1: Writing Is a Process of Discovery and Learning. Core Concept 2: Good Writing Fits the Context. Core Concept 3: The Medium Is Part of the Message. Core Concept 4: A Writer Must Have Something to Say. Core Concept 5: A Writer Must Support Claims and Assertions. Core Concept 6: Purpose Determines Form, Style, and Organization in Writing. Core Concept 7: Writing Is a Social Activity. Core Concept 8: Revision Is an Essential Part of Writing. Core Concept 9: There Is Always a Voice in Writing, Even When There Isn''t an I. Core Concept 10: Good Writing Means More Than Good Grammar.
3. The Ten Core Concepts in Action.
Step 1: Discover and Explore a Topic. Step 2: Examine the Rhetorical Context. Step 3: Select an Appropriate Medium. Step 4: Have Something to Say. Step 5: Back Up What You Say. Step 6: Establish a Form and Structure for Your Project. Step 7: Get Feedback. Step 8: Revise. Step 9: Strengthen Your Voice. Step 10: Make It Correct.
4. A Student Writer Applies the Core Concepts.
Step 1: Discover and Explore a Topic. Step 2: Examine the Rhetorical Context. Step 3: Select an Appropriate Medium. Step 4: Have Something to Say. Step 5: Back Up What You Say. Step 6: Establish a Form and Structure for Your Project. Step 7: Get Feedback. Step 8: Revise. Step 9: Strengthen Your Voice. Step 10: Make It Correct. Chloe Charles'' Final Draft: "Why Is College So Important in the United States?"
5. Understanding Analytical Writing.
Occasions for Analytical Writing. Understanding Analytical Writing in College. Doing Analysis. Features of Analytical Writing. "Why Mothers and Daughters Tangle Over Hair," by Deborah Tannen.
6. Examining Causes and Effects.
Occasions for Causal Analysis. Understanding Causal Analysis. Reading Causal Analysis. "The Flight From Conversation," by Sherry Turkle. "Everyone''s Gone Nuts: The Exaggerated Threat of Food Allergies," by Meredith Broussard. "The Reign of Recycling," by John Tierney. Writing Causal Analysis. Writing Projects.
7. Comparing and Synthesizing.
Occasions for Comparing and Synthesizing. Understanding Comparison and Synthesis. Reading Comparative Analysis. "Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z," by Alex Williams. "The Whole Truth," by Julian Baggini. "Sherlock Holmes Can Teach You to Multitask," by Maria Konnikova. Writing Analysis Involving Comparison and Synthesis. Writing Projects.
8. Conducting Rhetorical Analysis.
Occasions for Rhetorical Analysis. Understanding Rhetorical Analysis. Using Classical Rhetorical Theory for Rhetorical Analysis. Analyzing Images. Reading Rhetorical Analysis. "Obama''s Graceful Pause in Charleston," by Peter Manseau. "Rhetorical Analysis of a National Health Service of England Public Service Advertisement." "A Rhetorical Analysis of the Declaration of Independence: Persuasive Appeals and Language," by Jim Stover. Writing Rhetorical Analysis. Writing Projects.
9. Analyzing Literary Texts.
Occasions for Analyzing Texts. Understanding Textual Analysis. Reading Textual Analysis. "Literary Analysis of ''Hills Like White Elephants,'''''' by Diane Andrews Henningfeld. "Dangerous Illusions," by Caetlin Benson-Allott. "Watchmen and the Birth of Respect for Graphic Novels," by Karl Allen. Writing Textual Analysis. Writing Projects.
10. Evaluating and Reviewing.
Occasions for Evaluating and Reviewing. Understanding Reviews and Evaluation. Reading Reviews. "What We Owe the MythBusters," by James B. Meigs. "Review of Destiny," by Trace C. Schuelke. "Review of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher," by Bryan Gillis. Writing Reviews. Writing Projects.
11. Understanding Argument.
Occasions for Argument. Understanding Argument in College. Making Arguments. Developing a Main Argument. Considering the Rhetorical Situation. Making a Persuasive Appeal. Appraising and Using Evidence. Structuring an Argument. Features of Argument. "Why N.C.A.A. Athletes Shouldn''t Be Paid," by Ekow N. Yankah.
12. Making Academic Arguments.
Occasions for Academic Argumentation. Understanding Academic Argument: A Case Study. Reading Academic Arguments. "Crime and Punishment," by Bruce Western. "Fulfilling Her Mother''s Dream," by Patricia McGuire. "Mark Zuckerberg''s Theory of Privacy," by Michael Zimmer. Writing Academic Arguments. Writing Projects.
13. Making Arguments in Public Discourse.
Occasions for Public Argument. Understanding Argument in Public Discourse. Reading Public Arguments. "Trigger Warnings Don''t Hinder Freedom of Expression: They Expand It," by Lindy West. "American Wind Power," by American Wind Energy Association. "The Problem With Affirmative Consent," by Alyssa Imam. Writing Arguments in Public Contexts. Writing Projects.
14. Presenting a Proposal.
Occasions for Writing Proposals. Understanding Proposals. Reading Proposals. "University of California Student Investment Proposal," by Fix UC. "Puppies Behind Bars," by Anne Teillon. "Proposal to Reduce the National Drinking Age," by Choose Responsibility. Writing Proposals. Writing Projects.
15. Understanding Narrative Writing.
Occasions for Narrative Writing. Understanding Narrative Writing in College. "Playing the Odds," by Amy Monticello. Telling Stories. Maintaining Focus. Structuring a Narrative. Writing Purposeful Description. Showing and Telling. Features of Narrative. "The Art of Butchery," by Amanda Giracca.
16. Writing Personal Narratives.
Occasions for Personal Narrative. "$110,000 in Debt," by Jenna Levine. Understanding Personal Narrative. Reading Personal Narrative. "The Balancing Act," by Haley Lee. "Some Thoughts on Mercy," by Ross Gay. "Red Boat, Blue Sky," by Edmund Jones. Writing Personal Narratives. Writing Projects.
17. Writing Informative Essays.
Occasions for Informative Writing. Understanding Informative Writing. Reading Informative Writing. "Sculpting Identity: A History of the Nose Job," by Tiffany Hearsay. "Gamification: How Competition Is Reinventing Business, Marketing, and Everyday Life," by Jennifer Van Grove. "What Honeybees Can Teach Us About Gang-Related Violence," by Emily Badger. Writing Informative Essays. Writing Projects.
18. Digital Storytelling.
Occasions for Digital Storytelling. Understanding Digital Stories. "Good Will," by Christi Clancy. Managing the Technical Components of a Digital Story. Reading Digital Stories. "Mountain of Stories," by Mazbah Tom. "Common Ground," by Scott Strazzante. Composing Digital Stories. Writing Projects.
19. Working with Ideas and Information.
Understanding Academic Writing as Conversation. A Strategy for Reading Academic Texts. Summarizing and Paraphrasing. Synthesizing. Writing Summary-and-Response Essays. "The Dynamics of Internet Addiction," by Avery Brahaum. Writing Projects.
20. Designing Documents.
Understanding Document Design as a Rhetorical Tool. Principles of Document Design. Working with Visual Elements. Designing Documents: Three Sample Projects.
21. Finding Source Material.
Understanding Research. Determining What You Need. Understanding Sources. Locating the Right Sources. Developing a Search Strategy.
22. Evaluating Sources.
Determining Whether a Source Is Trustworthy. Credibility. Reliability. Understanding Bias. Evaluating Source Material for Your Rhetorical Purposes.
23. Using Source Material.
Quoting from Sources. Additional Guidelines for Quoting from Sources. Avoiding Plagiarism.
24. Citing Sources Using MLA Style.
Two Main Components in MLA Style. Creating In-Text Citations in MLA Style. Creating a Works Cited List in MLA Style. Sample MLA-Style Research Paper. “Anxieties Over Electracy,” by Matt Searle.
25. Citing Sources Using APA Style.
Two Main Components in APA Style. Creating In-Text Citations in APA Style. Creating a References List in APA Style. Sample APA-Style Research Paper. “The Generations That Influence Technology,” by Duncan Gelder.
26. Composing with Style.
Developing an Academic Writing Style. Writing Paragraphs. Framing. Introductions. Transitions.
27. Avoiding Common Problems in Grammar and Usage.
Strategies for Avoiding Errors. Coordination, Subordination, and Parallelism. Common Sentence-Level Problems. Common Pronoun Errors. Word Choice and Style. Common Punctuation Errors.

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