How to choose a college article

how necessary is a college education article and how to write a college article summary
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Published Date:03-07-2017
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Writing your command college article V2.0 By Bob Harrison Table of Contents Page The Article Writing Process, Step-by-Step 3 Article, “How to Have Fun With Your NGT Without Really Trying” 7 How to Learn to Write 10 Prewriting Strategies 11 The Title 16 The Lead & Introduction 18 The Body of the Article 21 The Conclusion 23 Format Guide for a Quality Article 24 Tips for Good Organization 30 Transitions 31 Clear, Concise and Direct Sentences 34 Writing Clearly 41 Style Guide and Reference Sources 43 Visual Support 45 Submission Guidelines and Sources 45 Conclusion 48 Assessment Rubric 49 ii THE ARTICLE WRITING PROCESS STEP-BY-STEP THE STEPS WHAT YOU’LL DO You use prewriting to: • Think more clearly The Prewrite • See a start to your article • Keep track of your ideas • Practice expressing yourself in writing One of the best places to start is to write uncritically about the themes of your article. Some of the best ways to do this are to start jotting a list, doing a “freewrite” where you just write out words that come to mind, and brainstorming, which is often best done as a small group activity to put words up, then associate other words or concepts with them. Next, start organizing your thoughts into a preliminary order. Many writers use one of three methods; outlining topics, which helps to start “chunking” out the work, clustering thoughts, phrases or words, and diagramming, which is similar to clustering but adds the organization of outlining. Ten styles of titles (Using the topic of “The Future of Patrol Cars” as an example): The Title • Descriptive: “The Patrol Car of the Future” • Rhyming: “Cars for the Stars to patrol our Bars” • Alliteration: “The perfect patrol platform – the future of mobile patrol” • Challenge: “Do you know where your next patrol vehicle will come from?” • Statement: “Mobile patrol - Where we’re going from here” • Shocker: “Your next patrol vehicle may not have wheels” • Drama: “Trapped in the past - no patrol in my future?” • Statistic: “Experts agree – 38% of cops prefer Fords” • Emotional appeal: “How do they expect us to do our job without the right car?” • Witty: “Black and White Fever - a cure in sight?” 3 Consider a subtitle to: The Subtitle • Highlight an interesting quote • Juxtapose conflict (e.g., with a title of “The Future of Patrol Cars” you might consider a subtitle from one of provocative title styles; if a provocative title, consider a descriptive subtitle) • Ask a compelling question Use one of eight styles of leads: • The factual summary lead (Who, what, where, when, The Lead why & how) • Descriptive leads (The great fish moved silently…) • The shocker – grab, frighten or compel further reading • The quick fragment – staccato leads (It was the best of times…) • Parodies on familiar topics or subjects • Direct quotes – “Read my lips. No new taxes.” • Pose a question – “Is random patrol outdated?” Contrast leads – “Despite our leadership in education, today’s youth know less than ever before.” Continuation of the lead sentence. Most readers stop here The Opening unless you have induced them to read further. Make it fun, Paragraph interesting, provocative or compelling through your prose. If your reader lacks the background to understand the paper, try one of these strategies: • Define terms • Present a brief history • Explain the different sides to a controversy • Set the scene in detail If they know something of your subject, stimulate by: • Raise a provocative question • Tell an anecdote that relates to the topic • Ask your reader to imagine • Refute a commonly-held idea or concept • Relate seemingly unrelated facts & bring them together for the reader 4 Remember, you can mix strategies together… This is a logical and ordered presentation of your topic; where you move from the macro to the micro level, organize the The Meat of the reader’s understanding of the subject and present your Matter – argument, perspectives or other related information The Body Remember: • Use your outline to build 3-4 major “chunks” of work; these will become your chapters • Transition from one paragraph to the next and from one sub-heading to the next • Sub-head titles help to emphasize topic points and enhance flow • Think about having an objective for each chapter or sub-head; gather information, outline and follow a logical pace • Be concise yet informative. Use appropriate grammar Use proper citations when you refer to the work of others, including those you uncovered in your literature review Use one of seven types: • Full circle endings that tie into the lead • Summary endings; pull out the most relevant points and restate them • Quotation endings, whether from the article research Your Conclusion or an expert source that adds a perspective and challenges the reader to think further • Finish your story; don’t leave the reader hanging – not the full-circle ending; offers hope or new insight at the end • Direct endings – reiterate and reinforce the point of the article; consider it as a short editorial on the body and its meaning • Give advice – allows you to give advice or insight; similar to the direct ending The shocker – ends the story in a manner not anticipated by the reader; disquiets the reader, alerts the reader to dangers ahead 5 1 Follow Turabian, APA or MLA style guides; be certain to Editing & cite references appropriately and credit the work of others. Proofreading Visual images can tell the reader volumes you would never Visual Support – have room to present in text Speak to • Think of charts, graphs, pictures or other visual Them in Pictures representations that would support your text and enrich the reading experience • Use visual language to integrate words, images and shapes into a coherent whole • Most periodicals will want visuals; even scholarly publications desire charts, graphs or displays that reinforce the learning experience. Experiment with clip art, images in your topic area and other mediums to convey your message These notes are adapted from: A Writer’s Guide to Getting Published in Magazines by JJ DeSpain, Alethieia Publications, Putnam Valley NY 2000 The Complete Idiots Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles by Sheree Bykofsky, Jennifer Basye Sander & Lynne Rominger, Alpha Books, Penguin Group USA 2000 The University of Wisconsin On-Line Writing Center The Kansas University On-Line Writing Center, The Bowling Green University On-Line Writing Lab, 1 The specifics of each style guide are discussed in a following section 6 CREATIVE WRITING, AUTHORING ARTICLES AND & SUBMITTING THEM FOR PUBLICATION TO PROFESSIONAL PERIODICALS Or HOW TO HAVE FUN WITH YOUR NGT WITHOUT REALLY TRYING By Bob Harrison So, you’re still not sure why you signed up for Command College a couple years ago? Even with all the great food and good company in beautiful downtown Folsom, you’re still not sure if the struggle is worth it? Rest assured, things are looking up… When Command College was first presented, POST envisioned a learning experience that not only prepared each of you to lead policing into the future, but also as an educational experience that would enrich the profession. The concept of the Independent Study Project (ISP) was to craft it as original research that would be suitable for publication in research journals, academic texts and in professional periodicals throughout the nation. The cost was worth it, they thought, if what you learned was shared with all. The problem was that, unless you were a college professor or PhD who enjoyed reading arcane data non-stop for days on end, the ISP’s weren’t especially suited for consumption by the masses. In a word, they were boring. Granted, they were chock full of great information, but they were, nonetheless, boring. How We Got Here In the early 1990s, POST set about to fix the ISP boredom issue as a way to make the work of Command College students more exciting. Since 1991, students have been required to complete the ISP or one of its successor efforts (now entitled your Futures Project) and also to author a 12-15 page article covering the findings of this research. Write it and they will come…won’t they? Unfortunately, the answer was…no. When the article concept was first floated to classes (who met the idea with several rounds of cheers), a number of those hardy souls actually submitted their articles to one or more of the various police publications. Four graduates saw their names in lights (or at least in print), still a paltry 7.5 percent of the total number who hung the POST Command College plaque on their wall. From that time, the number of published projects continued to dwindle to the point where only one of the last forty graduates has had their article printed in general circulation. This is in spite of the fact that classes had mentors assigned to students for the purpose of sheparding them through the project and article process. Well, even the most stubborn amongst us saw the current state of affairs couldn’t last. Where We’re Going POST still envisions Command College as a vital link in the development of our leaders, and that their knowledge should be shared with others to enrich the profession. The best way to fulfill that goal is for each student to continue to undertake significant original futures research on a topic of their choosing, then to craft an article suitable for 7 submission for publication to a professional periodical. The problem to date has been the curriculum of the course has never included training on how to do just that, and that no structure is in place to support the effort. That has changed. Command College Class 36 piloted the effort to significantly enhance the quality of the article, and for requiring each student to submit their article to one or more government or public safety periodical for publication. Oh, , you’re thinking, I’m not a novelist. I can write a police report, I can even construct a futures scenario for my project, but how in the world am I going to get this thing done? Worry not, my eager researcher. Help is on the way. How We’ll Get There Starting in January 2005, Command College classes included instruction on how best to satisfy the requirement to write and submit an article based on your research. The block of training includes creative writing techniques, the construction of quality articles and how to submit them to editors and publishers. It is also a starting point for your work to develop a working title, options for outlining your content and the creation of winning leads and closings. During the time you are putting the finishing touches on your research, you will work with an instructor one-on-one electronically to submit articles and receive coaching and mentoring sufficient to get you across the finish line. The goal for Command College classes is to have 100 percent of all students submit an article, and to see 25 percent of those submitted be approved for publication. We’ll work on specific ways to get you across the finish line with an article prepared and appropriately prewritten, constructed according to best-practice guidelines and laced together in a manner that will be accepted by the editor whose job it is to put the most interesting things into his or her magazine. Some Nuts and Bolts Prior to entering your class on developing quality research articles, there are a few things that are important for you to know (beyond where the instructor wants to go for lunch…). As you have time, please venture onto the Internet to see what resources there may be for you in your quest to write that article. As you wander through the electronic forest, think about: Prewriting – You’ll be asked to choose from one of three dominant ways to organize your thoughts prior to writing the text of the article. They are the outline, bubble clusters and spider diagrams. You have already done the research, so consider ways to group data, compile expert interview statements and form ways to discuss your conclusions and recommendations. Transitions – This is something you may be doing without much thought, but in an article, it is important to transition from one paragraph to the next, and from one section to that which follows it. The next time you read an interesting article, note the flow. That sense of seamless movement is created by effective transitions. There are tools and tips to 8 help you develop yours, so don’t worry if this seems intimidating (or you can just circle the transitions you see in this article as a starting point). Article format – Articles generally follow an accepted format. This will help you “chunk out” the sections of your prose, and also help fit it into the length and pace of articles generally seen in professional journals. Think about your working title, your lead or introduction, the 3-4 (usually four) subsections of the body of your work and your conclusion. We will get into much greater depth in this area during class. Style and Submission Guidelines – there are on-line tutorials and resources for the major style and editing guides in publishing. The American Psychological Association (APA) style is used in most, if not all, academic and research publications. The Chicago Manual of Style is used for most books in publication, and Kate Turabian’s Style Guide is an offshoot of the Chicago style used for the writing of theses, dissertations and other scholarly writing. Most periodicals readily accept either style; however, most popular articles tend to use Turabian as their guide. Conclusion For those who work as instructors, you are already aware that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it to others. In much the same way, the best way to learn your topic is to write about it persuasively so others begin to know what you know. Submitting an article to a magazine can be a daunting task, one that exposes the budding author to critical review and the possibility of rejection. This article should have already served to allay some of these fears by providing a glimpse of the tools and techniques successful writers use to move their ideas from thought to publication. If you have published before, you know the intrinsic reward of seeing your name on a byline, and knowing that others will be impacted by your considered words. For those of you who have not yet enjoyed this experience, you’ll soon see it is an effort worth the expense. Let the writing begin… Author: Bob Harrison, Working Title: How To Enjoy Your NGT Without Really Trying Length: 1,313 words Photos: None Attachments: None 9 How to learn to write 1. Read the writing of others – Read a lot Share the books of others Focus on non-fiction You will not be a proficient writer if you are not a reader 2. Revising the work of others This includes the rewriting of all or part. Look at it as if it were your own draft; what is it trying to say? Look at paragraphing; splits between paragraphs are like turns in the road (not a fall off a cliff). Where are they, and how do they connect? 3. Write a lot Write every day, especially if you are writing for purpose Primary problem of students is they don’t write enough, producing a lack of applied skill in the craft 4. Revise your own writing Edit two ways – on screen and with a hard copy Check spelling from the bottom up Start in the middle Read your writing naively; what might it mean to the reader? When you write, you are a team with your reader. What you don’t do, they will have to do. They, of course, always have the choice to merely put your half of the conversation down and disengage. Write in your own voice; think of being conversational, not stiff and formal Personal reflection Considering the ways in which one becomes a better writer, how much time do I devote to reading, writing and revision in general? How much time am I spending in relation to the Command College process? What am I noticing about my comprehension of writing as a result? 10 Pre-Writing Strategies Pre-writing is a way of organizing your thoughts and beginning to put the information you have on paper. It is best to do a pre-writing activity before you actually begin writing your paper or essay. think more clearly See a start of your paper You should use prewriting to . . . Keep track of your ideas practice expressing yourself in writing Quite often, writers will start with a basic form of prewriting once the topic focus begins to emerge. The advantage of starting with a jot list, brainstorming or freewriting as a first step is that each of these strategies may be done in a non-judgmental manner. The act of listing various thoughts in no particular order can often generate new ideas, connect words or phrases and begin the process of sorting and grouping concepts in a logical and interesting order. BASIC PREWRITING STRATEGIES Develop Questions What do I know? What do I need to find out? What is the point of the paper? Jot List Brainstorm Freewrite FOOD FOOD What I really mean is . . . DELICIOUS HEALTHY HAMBURGERS DIET CALORIES FAT PIZZA NOODLES COOKING 11 Visualize / Organize Major Categories Outline Mapping Tree Diagram Once beyond this stage, the writer will begin the serious process of electing a course of storytelling by identifying segments of the future article through outlining, mapping or tree diagrams. This is an essential step in the process of creating the finished article, and a great way to “see” the flow of the words before pen goes to paper to write the actual text. Some writers prefer to use one of the mapping (bubble clusters or hierarchical bubbles) or diagramming (tree or spider), then move to outlining to the third or fourth level of detail. (adapted from the University of Wisconsin Writing Center – STEPS IN PREWRITING Brainstorming Brainstorming and listing are quite similar as processes that generate a lot of information in a short time by building on the association of previous terms. The process is completed by: 1. Jot down all the possible terms that emerge from the general topic of your paper. This procedure works especially well if you work in a team. All team members can generate ideas, with one member acting as a scribe. Don’t worry about editing or throwing out what might not be a good idea. 2. Group the items you have listed according to arrangements that make sense to you. 3. Give each group a label. Now you have a topic with possible points of development 4. Write a sentence about the label you have given to the group of ideas. Now you have a potential topic sentence or thesis statement. 12 Clustering Clustering is also called mind mapping or idea mapping. It allows you to explore the relationship between ideas. A bubble cluster circles ideas, while a spider or tree diagram underlines central ideas. The process is: 1. Put the subject in the center of the page. Circle or underline it. 2. As you think of other ideas, link the new ideas to the central circle with lines. 3. As you think of ideas that relate to the new ideas, add to those in the same way. 4. The result will look like a web on the page. Locate clusters of interest and use the terms you attached to the key ideas as departure points for your paper. Freewriting Freewriting is a process of generating a lot of ideas by writing non-stop. It allows you to focus on a specific topic, but forces you to write so quickly you are unable to edit any of your ideas. 1. Freewrite on your general topic for 5-10 minutes non-stop. Force yourself to continue writing even if nothing specific comes to mind. This freewriting will include many ideas; at this point, generating ideas is what is important, not grammar or spelling. 2. After you’ve finished freewriting, look back over what you have written and highlight the most prominent and interesting ideas; then you can begin again with a tighter focus. 3. Looping is a freewriting technique that allows you to increasingly focus your ideas to discover a topic or sub-topic. Loop one freewriting effort after another so you have a sequence of freewrites; write quickly and do not edit. As you complete the organizing process, be mindful of the 5W’s and 1H of questions you want to ask of your topic, and for which your future readers will be seeking answers. The process of answering the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How may be a part of your outlining or a parallel process of creating topic areas for continued work. You will want to ask: Journalist’s (and cop’s) Questions Who? are the participants, the primary topics, the secondary topics? is the significance of the topic, the basic problem, the issues? What? Where? does it take place, is the source, the meeting of cause and effect? When? is the issue most apparent, historical forces, etc.? Why? is it a problem or issue, why did it develop as it did? How? can it be addressed or resolved? (adapted from the Kansas University Writing Center, 13 Freewriting/ Prewriting Exercise Page Use this page for your “brain dump” to write freely without self-censure. My topic is: _____________________________________________ • Write non-stop for fifteen minutes. • Write anywhere on the page, and at any angle. • Clump words if you wish, but don’t stop to think or hesitate • Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation • Try not to lift your pen from the paper • Concentrate on getting your ideas down originally 14 Hook, Opening and Thesis Worksheet What is the purpose of my article? (I am going to prove… Describe… Tell a story about… Explain why or how…) __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ What should the reader know and be able to do when they finish reading it? ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ Your Thesis Statement (what is the purpose of the article?) 15 Your Title OK, you now have a general idea of your article’s topic, and a prewrite to help you structure the body of your text. The next step in the process is to think about a working title (you can always change it as the writing progresses; a working title helps fuel the creative juices, but don’t fret too much- when you submit your work, it is about 50-50 whether the editor will keep your title or insert one of their own). Titles should convey a little of the spirit and tone of the article to follow, and should not distract the reader from the opening paragraph or lead that follows. They should be catchy, simple and on point, and should “grab” the reader who may be casually scanning a magazine cover or table of contents. Titles generally are grouped in one of ten ways: Descriptive: the title merely describes what will follow. An article about the future of patrol cars might be titled “The Future of Patrol Cars” which tells the reader what to expect, but doesn’t excite them all that much. Using the patrol car theme, the alternatives are: Rhyming “Cars for the Stars to patrol our Bars” Alliterative “The perfect patrol platform – the future of mobile patrol” Challenging the “Do you know where your next patrol vehicle will come from?” Reader The Statement of “Mobile patrol Where we’re going from here” Fact Shock the Audience “Your next patrol vehicle may not have wheels” The Dramatic “Trapped in the past no patrolling in my future?” “Experts agree 38 percent of cops would rather drive Fords” Statistics and Figures The Emotional “How do they expect us to do our job without the right car?” Appeal Witty, Clever or “Black and White Fever is there a cure in sight?” Tongue-in-cheek (adapted from A Writer’s Guide to Getting Published in Magazines, JJ DeSpain, Aletheia Pub, 2000) 16 Working Title Workpage Your general topic (as derived from your prewriting): _____________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Develop at least three working titles from the ten styles presented on the preceding page: 1. _________________________________________________ 2. _________________________________________________ 3. _________________________________________________ Discuss with your group; brainstorm other possibilities: 1. _________________________________________________ 2. _________________________________________________ 3. _________________________________________________ Don’t get too hung up on the title; it is an important step in presenting your article to others, but not integral to writing the body of the article itself. Many authors realize after a few submissions that editors often change the title at publication. This isn’t because they are smarter or more creative than you; many times, they change it to fit the flow of the issue, to link the content to other articles in this genre or for personal purposes and reasons. For our work, though, you should elect one working title, then move on to the lead paragraph of your narrative. What’s your elevator pitch? 30 words max 17 The Lead and Introduction Although every word in your article should have importance, meaning and an impact on readers, no words are more important than those that introduce you to the reader. You want to hook them, grab them and give them a reason to continue reading all the great things that follow. Without energizing their motivation to take moments of their life with you, they may just as likely toss the article aside, continue flipping pages and never know what you’re trying to tell them. Think… “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens “Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.” The Debut, by Anita Brookner “The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail.” Jaws by Peter Benchley You may not know what follows, nor might you be able to determine the plot, but these (and many other great leads) hook you and induce you to read further. In literature, whether books or articles, there are eight general types of leads: The Factual This is most often found in newspaper and news magazine Summary articles; you give the reader the who, what, where, when, why and how of the body to follow. For your purposes, you have a story that transcends the 4W’s & H, so you would think about using it to keep the reader going to find out what circumstances would produce the facts you give them at the outset. The Descriptive The lead of Jaws sends chills through the reader without Lead bloodshed or graphic violence. The words cause the reader to visualize the shark, menacing and bold, cold and merciless, even without talking about his razor-sharp teeth or the way he rips the flesh from his victims. The descriptive lead helps the reader construct a mental picture of the setting, using any or all of the five senses in your writing (…”smell the bread; with memories of the fire burning as Mom walked in with her tray of home-baked treats, I could almost hear the crackling of the wood as she handed me a warm, soft chunk of the homemade prize…”). The Shocker You may wish to amaze, astonish or shock your reader as a means of grabbing their interest. Diet ads and news headlines are perhaps the most prevalent uses of the shocker, e.g., “Lose ten 18 pounds this week” or “New threat to your health in food you eat everyday. News at Eleven” This lead compels the reader to go on at the risk of not knowing, not being able to act, or to alleviate their sense of dread or curiosity, which can only be done by reading your text. Staccato Openings Dickens’ book is the classic staccato; “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” You may wish to play off of famous sharp openers in your work (The best has passed; the worst of times is upon us”). Parodies A parody lead plays on the reader’s familiarity with any cultural item (song lyrics, books, poems, etc.) to create an imaginative lead. Recent troubles in the National Basketball Association with record profits and brawls in the stands have generated several articles that parody A Tale of Two Cities, e.g., “The Best and Worst of Times for the NBA” and “It was the best of times until the worst of fights between fans and players.” Direct Quotes Especially in cases where you have a compelling quote from an expert or public figure, using their words to lead your article allows the reader to “get on the inside” of intimate details. “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live” said Thoreau (think about how that sentence made you feel; if your article is on the topic of armchair research without real- world application, this might make a great lead). The Question This may be either a direct question to the reader (e.g., “Tired of reading useless papers?”) or a question posed to the topic to follow (such as “Where will the insanity of terrorism training take us?) as a means of piquing their interest and compelling them to read on. The Contrast Lead This contrasts extremes, posing opposite thoughts or concepts in the same sentence (“Despite the popular image of youth perpetrated by movies and television shows such as “The OC,” adolescent obesity is emerging as our number one health problem in America”). Although the lead is a relatively small part of the overall article, it may be the most important sentence you will write. Your words fall short if not read; the lead hooks the reader and allows your thoughts to enter their consciousness. Give it your best effort, and the rest of the article may just flow from there. 19 Lead and Introduction work page Using page 15 of the Student Guidebook, choose at least two types of leads to use as format guides for your work. Write out your lead sentences (three sentences max) in each of the two forms: 1. Type __________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 2. Type __________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Group input process • Read your chosen lead sentences • Each of your team members, in succession, states whet the lead means to them in their own words what they might expect to know or be able to do at the end • No crosstalk • Cycle continued until all have read their lead and received input from all others Team input from group discussion 1. ___________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ 2. ___________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Keep at it; think about your first turn in the road – the transition into the body of your article… 20

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