Joining the Conversation: Writing in College and Beyond / Edition 1

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With the success of The Bedford Researcher, Mike Palmquist has earned a devoted following of teachers and students who appreciate his accessible approach to the process of inquiry-based writing. Now he brings his proven methodology and friendly tone to Joining the Conversation. While students may know how to send text messages, search for images, and read the news online all at the same time, they don’t necessarily know how to juggle the skills they need to engage readers and compose a meaningful contribution to an academic conversation. Meeting students where they are — working online and collaboratively — Joining the Conversation embraces the new realities of writing, without sacrificing the support that students need as they write for college and beyond.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312412159
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 1/20/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 752
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

 Mike Palmquist is an Associate Provost at Colorado State University, where he leads university-wide efforts to enhance learning and teaching in face-to-face, blended, and distance courses. A professor of English and University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, he is recognized nationally for his work in computer-supported writing instruction and, in particular, in designing Web-based instructional materials to support writing. His most recent Web-based projects are Writing@CSU (, an open-access, educational Web site for writers and writing instructors, and the WAC Clearinghouse (, the leading site for communication across the curriculum. He is the author of numerous articles and essays on writing and teaching with technology and writing across the curriculum. In 2004, he received the Charles Moran Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field, which recognizes "exemplary scholarship and professional service to the field of computers and writing." In 2006, the CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition and Composition named him Outstanding Technology Innovator. From 2009 to 2011, he served on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English and as chair of the NCTE’s College Section. He is the author of Joining the Conversation: Writing in College and Beyond (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010); The Bedford Researcher, Third Edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009); and Designing Writing: A Practical Guide (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005).

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Table of Contents

Why think of writing as conversation?
You already know how conversations work-online and off
Conversations help you share information, ideas, and arguments
Conversation allows you to adopt roles
What should I know about writing situations?
Writing has a purpose
Readers have purposes, needs, interests, and backgrounds
Writing builds on the work of others 
Writing takes place in context
What should I know about genre and design?
Genres are general categories of documents
Design is a writing tool
Genre and design are related
Genres help writers achieve their goals
How can I analyze an assignment?

Assess your writing situation
Note requirements and limitations
Recognize opportunities 
How can I find interesting conversations?
Generate ideas
Ask questions
How can I “listen in” on written conversations?
Discuss the topic with others
Observe the topic firsthand
Read what others have written
Focus your attention
How can I prepare for a successful writing project?
Take ownership
Understand that writing is a process
Create a writer's notebook
Manage your time
How can I read critically?

Read with an attitude
Be aware of writing situations
What strategies can I use to read actively? 
Skim for an overview
Mark and annotate
Pay attention
How can I evaluate sources?
Determine relevance
Consider the use of evidence
Identify the author
Learn about the publisher
Establish timeliness
Assess comprehensiveness
Recognize genre
Examine electronic sources closely
How can I read like a writer?
Read to understand
Read to respond
Read to make connections
Why should I work with other writers? 
Work together to improve your document
Work together to enhance your writing process
Work together to succeed on a major project
How can I work with others on individual projects?
Generate and refine ideas
Collect and work with information
Respond to written work
How can I work with others on collaborative projects?
Understand the purposes of writing collaboratively
Understand potential problems and develop solutions
Establish ground rules
Create a project plan
What resources can I draw on as I work with other writers?
Use technological tools
Consult instructors, classmates, friends, and family


Genres in Conversation: Reflective Writing
What is writing to reflect?

The Writer's Role: Observer
What kinds of documents are used to share reflections?
  Firoozeh Dumas, Waterloo
Photo essays
  Kazuyoshi Ehara and Rhiana Ehara, Lost Memories
Short stories
  Gish Jen, Who's Irish?
Literacy narratives
  Tayari Jones, Among the Believers
 Reflective essays
   Rick Bragg, This Isn't the Last Dance
 How can I write a reflective essay?
 Find a conversation and listen in
 Reflect on your subject
 Prepare a draft
 Review and improve your draft
 Student Essay
   Caitlin Guariglia, Mi Famiglia
 Project Ideas
Genres in Conversation: Informative Writing
What is writing to inform?

The Writer's Role: Reporter
What kinds of documents are used to inform?
  California Department of Fish and Game, Keep Me Wild
Web sites
  PBS, Becoming American: The Chinese Experience 
Newspaper articles
  Matt Richtel, Devices Enforce Silence of Cellphones, Illegally
  Chris Nashawaty and Art Streiber, Danger Is Their Middle Name
  George Chauncy, The Legacy of Antigay Discrimination
How can I write an informative essay?
Find a conversation and listen in
Gather information
Prepare a draft
Review and improve your draft
Student Essay
  Hannah Steiner, Barriers on the Road to a Hydrogen Economy
Project Ideas
Genres in Conversation: Analytical Writing
What is writing to analyze?

The Writer's Role: Interpreter
What kinds of documents are used to present analysis?
Web-based articles
  Rahul K. Parikh, MD, Race and the White Coat
News analyses
  Aida Akl, U.S. Population Hits 300 Million
Multimedia presentations
  Joanne Fisker, Is Snowboarding Losing Its Edge?
Literary criticism
  Stephen King, J.K. Rowling's Ministry of Magic
Analytical essays
  Tamara Draut, Generation Debt
How can I write an analytical essay?
Find a conversation and listen in
Conduct your analysis
Prepare a draft
Review and improve your draft
Student Essay
  Alison Bizzul, Living (and Dying) Large
Project Ideas

Genres in Conversation: Evaluative Writing
What is writing to evaluate?

The Writer's Role: Evaluator
What kinds of documents are used to share evaluation?
Product reviews
Sam Eifling, Booster Shot: How Well Do These Energy Drinks Work?
Media reviews
  Erica Lies, Mary Tyler more
Place evaluations
  Paul Goldberger, Bowery Dreams
Progress reports
  UNESCO, Education for All Global Monitoring Report
Evaluative essays
  Christina Hoff Somers and Sally Satel, Emotional Correctness
How can I write an evaluative essay?
Find a conversation and listen in
Conduct your evaluation
Prepare a draft
Review and improve your draft
Student Essay
  Dwight Haynes, Making Better Choices: Two Approaches to Reducing College Drinking
Project Ideas

Genres in Conversation: Problem-Solving Writing
What is writing to solve problems?

The Writer's Role: Problem Solver
What kinds of documents are used to solve problems?
  John F. Kerry and Frank R. Borchert, RE: Unauthorized Monitoring of Employee Emails by SBA Managers
Professional articles
  Jami Jones, Drug Testing Needs Improvement, Not Clearinghouse
  Wangari Maathai, Trees for Democracy 
  Dan Hughes, Proposal for Skateparks under Bridges
Problem-solving essays
  Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Easy Does It
How can I write a problem-solving essay?
Find a conversation and listen in
Develop a solution
Prepare a draft
Review and improve your draft
Student Essay
  Jennie Tillson, Death, Taxes, and College Tuition
Project Ideas

Genres in Conversation: Argumentative Writing
What is writing to convince or persuade?

The Writer's Role: Advocate
What kinds of documents are used to convince or persuade?
  White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Above the Influence 
Opinion columns
  Cyrus Habib, Show Us the Money
Letters to the editor
  Bob Dineen, Response to “The Ethanol Scam”
Barbara Ehrenreich, What America Owes Its “Illegals”
Argumentative essays
  Virginia Postrel, In Praise of Chain Stores
How can I write an argumentative essay?
Find a conversation and listen in
Build your argument
Prepare a draft
Review and improve your draft
Student Essay
  Donovan Mikrot, Download This: Why Digital Rights Management Is a Bad Idea for Hollywood
Project Ideas


How should I focus my search for sources?

Generate potential research questions
Select and refine your question
How can I develop a search plan?
Identify relevant types of sources
Identify appropriate search tools and research methods
Review your plan 
How can I keep track of my sources?
Manage print materials
Manage digital materials
Create a working or annotated bibliography
How can I locate sources using electronic resources?

Generate search terms and strategies
Search library catalogs
Search databases
Search the Web
Search media sites
Keep track of your searches
How can I locate sources using print resources?
Discuss your search plan with a librarian
Visit the library stacks
Browse periodicals
Check reference works
How can I gather information using field research?
Choose your methods
Enlist help
Assess your information
How can I record my notes?
What methods can I use to take notes?

Quote directly
Compare sources and start planning your document
What is plagiarism?
Unintentional plagiarism
Intentional plagiarism
Plagiarism in group projects
What are research ethics?
Asking permission to use a source
How can I avoid plagiarism?
Conduct a knowledge inventory
Take notes carefully
Attribute ideas appropriately
Identify your sources
Understand why writers plagiarize
What should I do if I'm accused of plagiarism?
How can I choose a main point?
Review your notes
Consider your writing situation
How can I draft my thesis statement?
Consider the type of document you will write
Identify important information, ideas, and arguments related to your main point
Draft alternatives
Focus your thesis statement
How can I support my thesis?
Choose supporting points
Select evidence
Review and arrange your supporting points and evidence
How can I organize my document?

Choose an appropriate organizational pattern
Create an outline
Use your outline to begin drafting
How can I draft effective paragraphs?
Focus on a central idea
Follow an organizational pattern
Use details to capture your readers' attention
Create transitions within and between paragraphs
How can I draft my introduction?
Frame your introduction
Select an introductory strategy
How can I draft my conclusion?
Reinforce your points
Select a concluding strategy
How can I use sources to accomplish my purposes as a writer?

Introduce a point
Contrast ideas
Provide evidence
Align yourself with an authority
Define a concept, illustrate a process, or clarify a statement
Seta a mood
Provide an example
Amplify or qualify a point
How can I integrate sources into my draft?
Identify your sources
Quote strategically
Paraphrase information, ideas, and arguments
Summarize sources
Present numerical information
Use images, audio, and video 
How can I ensure I've avoided plagiarism?
Quote, paraphrase, and summarize accurately and appropriately
Distinguish between your ideas and ideas in your sources
Check for unattributed sources in your document
How should I document my sources?
Choose a documentation system
Provide in-text references and publication information
How can I use design effectively?

Understand design principles
Design for a purpose
Design for your readers
What design elements can I use?
Use fonts, line spacing, and alignment
Use page layout elements
Use color, shading, borders, and rules
Use illustrations
What design conventions should I follow?
Academic essays
Multimodal essays
Web sites
How can I begin to write with style?
Write concisely
Use active and passive voice effectively
Adopt a consistent point of view
Choose your words carefully
How can I polish my style?
Vary your sentence structure
Create effective transitions
Introduce the work of other authors effectively
Avoid sexist language
Consult a good handbook
Read widely
What should I focus on when I revise?

Consider your writing situation
Consider your presentation of ideas
Consider your use and integration of sources
Consider the structure and organization of your document
Consider genre and design
What strategies can I use to revise?
Save multiple drafts
Highlight your main point, supporting points, and evidence
Challenge your assumptions
Scan, outline, and map your document
Ask for feedback
What should I focus on when I edit?
Focus on accuracy
Focus on economy
Focus on consistency
Focus on style
Focus on spelling, grammar, and punctuation
What strategies can I use to edit?
Read carefully
Mark and search your document
Use spelling, grammar, and style tools with caution
Ask for feedback

How do I cite sources within the text of my document?
How do I prepare the list of works cited?

Sources in journals, magazines, and newspapers
Print reference works
Field sources
Media sources
Electronic sources
How do I cite sources within the text of my document?
How do I prepare the reference list?

Sources in journals, magazines, and newspapers
Print reference works
Field sources
Media sources
Electronic sources
Other sources

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