Reflection 1 & Reflection 2

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Reflection #1:

Writing & Research

I tend to be drawn to a variety of genres of books, from creative ones like flower arrangement and architectural styles to books like The Art of War. I’m much more of a book worm than a writer so I love to read but hate writing. The only times I do write is when I write in my journal during times of stress or if some kind of important event in my life prompts me to write about it. The last time I conducted research for a paper was last quarter in my Education 50 class where I, along with other members of my group, had to write a paper on an education public policy: universal pre-k programs. I think that writing definitely plays an important role in my major because we do a lot of research on policies and issues in education.

I honestly do not consider myself a strong writer because there’s just something about writing that prevents me from being able to convey my thoughts and feelings clearly. If I were to debate a topic or issue in person I’d have no trouble conveying my thoughts, feelings, and logic but once someone asks me to put it on paper, I struggle and my argument just becomes a confusing jumble of words and sentences. I hope that WR39C will help me become a better writer by showing me how to research effectively and efficiently and how to produce clear arguments in writing. I have a lot of trouble writing down my opinions and arguments clearly but I have no problems researching evidence and finding ones that would support my arguments. So, I guess in other words, I’m terrible when it comes to the beginning of a research paper: producing an argument/thesis and using my opinions to support them. All the feedbacks that I’ve received so far on my writing are about the poor clarity of my arguments but I just can’t seem to do better to fix my problem.

I do speak a few Chinese dialects besides English but my fluency in each are different. I speak my native Chinese dialect very fluently because it’s what I use to speak to my mother and my family. My fluency in Cantonese is decent, enough to hold a conversation but my fluency in Mandarin is enough to ask for directions and the basics. Unfortunately, I cannot write in Chinese despite attending Chinese school for a while in my elementary school days. Writing research papers help me learn as much new ideas and information as reading books does because the research I do is like reading multiple books. I’ve taken WR39B and other writing based classes in high school so I know the basics of crafting arguments, but I’m not confident of skills. I would like to think that I know enough about conducting academic research to be able to write a decent research paper because I’ve taken WR39B, a class on technology and research, and other classes that had a writing emphasis. I usually approach a writing assignment by panicking first, then I follow the basic steps of carefully reading the prompt and understanding what it’s asking for, familiarize myself with the topic, formulate some kind of argument or thesis, brainstorm and write down my logic and reasoning, research evidence to support my arguments, and finally put it all together on paper.

Animal Ethics in the 21st Century

I’ve had some experience with animals because I’ve owned a couple of bunnies/rabbits and some fishes when I very young and my cousins also have some pets that I help with. I absolutely love animals because I think they’re all such amazing creatures that have a variety of skills and special abilities that help them survive and flourish. So, of course, I love learning what kinds of special abilities each animal has that makes them unique. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about the discipline of Animal Studies but our core text makes me want to learn more about it because I find the study of animal behavior, in particular, to be very fascinating.

Carl Safina’s Beyond Words really surprised me because I had originally thought it’d be written very scientifically with big words and it’d be a bit dry, but it wasn’t. The many anecdotes that the author provides in the book are very interesting and really keeps me going but they can also be so sad and heartbreaking that I actually cried multiple times during my readings of Part One. If I could ask the author anything, I’d definitely ask him if there were times where he’d find his work to be so difficult because of tragic stories, like Echo’s, because I think anyone who has a love for animals would die a little on the inside after learning of them. I think that what may end up being enlightening and surprising about our core theme, but also cause negative feelings for me, is realizing how dangerous and frightening it is to be a wild animal because due to their special abilities and/or qualities that make them each unique human beings exploit them and hurt them to gain materialistic and superficial things like profit and recognition or fame.

I think I’m most looking forward to having debates that give me a whole new perspective on a topic with my classmates because sometimes I’m so stubborn and set in my ways that I forget there are other ways to see something. I’m not sure what exactly I’d like to research just yet but I think I do have some ideas after reading about the elephants and animal behavior in Beyond Words. When I was reading Part One in our core text about elephants, one of the ideas that stuck to me was the idea of allowing the elephants to live as they do naturally and only observe them, for research, rather than interfering. I thought about other animals in the wild and how closely related they are to humans and other animals which brought me to the idea of dogs and they’re relation to wild “dogs” such as wolves and coyotes. Then a question popped into my mind, “where exactly did domestic dogs come from, that we have as pets?” I think that a potential research topic I have in mind, after contemplating this question, would be the domestication of dogs over the years (decades) and how it could prevent them from surviving in the “wild” if, say, one becomes a stray.


Reflection #2:

Annie Wu

Writing 39C

Dr. Meghdadi/Dr. Way

2 February, 2017


Part 1: Your Writing

            I think that my research and use of pathos would be the biggest strengths of my Historical Conversations essay because I had done a lot of research all through the 4 weeks spent on this paper to find relevant information to support my claims and possible artifacts to analyze. However, I would have liked to work more on my analyses if given more time because I do not believe my analyses were as deep as I would have liked them to be, nor were they very clear. I attempted to fix those specific issues that I had while drafting when I was revising my HCP, because without good, in-depth analyses the artifacts would just be facts, but I am not sure I was able to in the final draft. I think that the “Prospectus and Annotated Bibliography” assignment was the most helpful for me as I worked on my HCP because it allowed me to gather my thoughts and evidence before I began my paper and organize them in a way that made sense when I began to write my first draft. It was like a skeletal structure of my final paper and it definitely helped me with beginning my first draft.

            In my first draft, although there was a lot of information, I still did not have enough information that connected together for good analyses. As I was doing my research to find more information on my topic, there were many “light-bulb” moments when I found more evidence and details that connected together and linked other pieces of information together which allowed me to write somewhat better analyses for my final draft. I thought that the use of multimodal evidence helped me envision my thoughts and ideas on paper a little more clearly because being able to see what I am writing about and the significance of it motivated me to focus and spend more time on it. The revision process after my first draft was quite confusing because some of the peer review comments I received were not correct instructions for the HCP or just unhelpful. Some of them included suggestions about finding possible solutions to the issue and excluding details in favor of discussing the issue broader. After the video conference, I definitely felt more confident in what I had been working on and it gave me ideas on how to refine my paper. In some ways, the peer review comments I received caused me to doubt myself and my abilities but it also allowed me to understand what kinds of ideas were unclear to my readers. I realized that I needed more details and I needed to connect these to the main ideas in order for my ideas to be clear. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the Writing Center but I did devote a lot of time to this paper and the research.

Part 2: Your Research

            I had originally started my topic on wildlife tourism and how it contributed to the changes in animal behavior but as I conducted my research, I learned that not only did it change animal behavior but it also slowly killed them because the natural behaviors and patterns that enabled the animals to survive slowly became extinct. With some of my prior knowledge of behavior psychology, I understood this concept well enough to know that animals in captivity have a higher rate of behavior extinction because they are unable to exhibit their natural behaviors and instead, conditioned to behave in other ways. As I researched more into this phenomenon, I became very intrigued about how the animals were treated in tourist attractions and sources that discussed this topic lead me to narrow my attention to the issue of wildlife tourism and the abuse of animals in attractions. The source annotations helped me immensely in organizing and planning my research and thoughts, as I had mentioned in Part 1, so it was the only method that I used to keep track and organize my information. Generally, I use Google Scholar and JSTOR to find my sources and I think I have learned that very specific terms like “Thailand wildlife tourism” were the most useful in finding specific information. I have actually applied my prior research skills to this class rather than the other way around because I took a research and technology class last year that taught me the skills to write effective research papers. I did not consult a research library because of these skills I was able to learn and instead, I was able to find credible sources online.

Part 3: Planning for the Advocacy Project

            Considering all of the information I know so far about my issue, I would consider global regulations as a possible solution for the AP. I have learned that tourism policies all vary by countries because some are more dependent on tourism earnings than others so the only way to be able to regulate every country would be to have global policies that would regulate wildlife tourism in all countries. However, I do want to consider these countries that are very reliant on tourism as their main source of income so the idea of having strict global regulations that cause damage to economies is repelling. On the other hand, wildlife tourism has contributed to the abuse of many animals including endangered species so it would be vital to advocate the idea that wild animals should be free and in the wild. There are many questions that I would have to research as I make the transition from the HCP to AP, like the kinds of current regulations and possible future policies that can be made global.

While working on the HCP, I had not researched very much on specific legislation or current policies that affect the issue so for the AP I would look into those subtopics. I have spent approximately 12 hours each week researching on the topic and I think that taking more detailed notes on sources and information would better assist me in my writing process as I work on the AP. I will definitely continue relying on annotated bibliographies as a way to organize my ideas and information but rely a little less on peer review comments and suggestions since they tend to confuse me.

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