This semester’s course was abundant in challenging tasks as we discussed a lot of subjects. It is evident that assignments such as those that we have completed this semester are targeted specifically at the development of a student’s skill set. It is etched into the design of an assignment, whether to evaluate, critique, or synthesize information – the aim is to trigger the development or improvement of certain skills that every student should possess.
The assignments enrich a student’s expertise in various areas that are crucial to one’s academic career – those include the process of writing itself, drawing comparisons, analyzing, supporting your arguments, and understanding the process of research itself. Others are no less important: identifying arguments and main claims, adding annotations, understand the structure of academic papers, the processes of planning, drafting, revising, editing. This semester proved to be invaluable in regard to developing my writing and research capabilities, as well as deepening my knowledge on a range of topics.
As a result of completing this semester’s tasks, I made noticeable progress in understanding common academic writing genres, drawing comparisons and showing contrast, summaries, and identifying arguments and central claims. I understood the process of writing at every stage: planning, drafting, writing, revising, and submitting. Active reading strategies as well as reading out of order, while adding annotations were mastered also relatively easily. As the assignments showed, the main areas that needed improvement were rhetorical analysis, literature reviews, and accessing the information on currency, relevance, authority, and purpose. The quality of mastering the skills mentioned above will be discussed in this paper, evaluating every particular subject of successful or unsuccessful acquisition.
In academic writing, the process of research is invaluably important to the quality of the assignment. While writing, you need to express ideas and claims that must always be supported by evidence and linked to previously done research by other authors. To positively affect the quality of the paper, one needs to be equipped with a set of research skills. These include: active reader strategies, adding annotations and notes on the margins, reading out of order, and, essentially, being able to assess the information for currency, relevance, accuracy, authority, and purpose. All of these skills and techniques were practiced for the duration of the semester, with varying rates of success.
The one ability that I was able to learn well was identifying arguments and main claims, which is a crucial skill at the researching stage. Although it is not the first skill you need when browsing through the Internet for information on the topic, one cannot complete the writing assignment successfully without it. When working with any source, whether a book or a scholarly journal, the student should be able to extract the main ideas and locate arguments and counter-arguments in the text. This needs to be done in order to have a clear vision as to where to take their writing, as well as to structure the paper cohesively and logically.
The necessary primary skill during research is assessing information for authority, currency, relevance, and so on – which is essential for finding a trustful source – needs improvement on my end. However, active reading skills, reading out of order and making annotations can be just as critical in the process of research, and these concepts were understood and practiced effectively this semester.
The Writing Process
Even if one’s research skills are exemplary, writing itself remains the most crucial part of doing an assignment, a research paper, or an essay. If not practiced enough, one cannot achieve even a satisfying result with solely the ability to find the right informational source – a writer ought to be capable of analyzing, synthesizing, and expressing their idea on paper. There has been a significant amount of assignments this semester targeted specifically at enhancing these writer’s abilities. We learned how to write summaries, which utilized our synthesizing and analytical mental processes. As the results showed, I am more inclined towards synthesis, as my summaries were better than rhetorical analysis, and the tasks aimed at practicing drawing comparisons and literature reviews.
Although not succeeding particularly well at analysis assignments, I think that I comprehended the process of writing at every stage quite well. Planning, drafting, revising, editing, and submitting are equally important for the initial outcome, and personally, I think I made progress in that area. Supporting arguments using the sources found during research is a crucial part of writing a quality academic paper – since it is only with the support of credible sources the writer’s ideas can be justified. Personally, I see that there still is space for improvement when using sources correctly.
Other aspects dealing with neither the process of writing nor with research is learning correct formatting, such as MLA style, and understanding common academic genres – were effectively implemented in this semester’s assignments as well.
My plan is to continue perfecting the skills I received in this source during the past semester. I am going to keep practicing writing summaries and literature reviews in order to solidify my writing competence, but most importantly, I will make sure to practice rhetorical analysis, comparing/contrasting arguments, and supporting my ideas with sources throughout the paper. In the field of research, it is crucial for me to exercise identifying the credible, accurate, recent, and relevant sources – as there are a lot of criteria involved. Anyhow, my plan is to continue to grow as a competent academic writer, as learning to implement these skills is essential for my academic and professional future.