Evaluating Your Sources

It is necessary to use references in an article while collecting ideas and facts to help validate a case and show the writer’s experience and understanding. Essays are necessary where evidence is given that one’s writing does not depend on personal experience but is based on the thorough knowledgeable specific reading. Sources are used in scholarly literature to prevent plagiarism. As a result, they can be referenced using criteria such as MLA or APA to support the substance of an article. The use of sources in an article allows readers to check up on documents that are of personal concern to them. Moreover, sources in an essay are applicable where the reader sees processes a writer has used to arrive at a certain conclusion about a topic. Therefore, essays should be used to support the writer’s perspective and justify their claim to writers.

Facts, opinions, and bias are different aspects of writing and communicating. Hence, it is important for a writer to differentiate them when choosing sources for their research. A fact is a discovered state reality that can be verified and found to be true based on neutral proof. An opinion is an interpretation, judgment or belief that cannot be verified. Bias may be an intentional or unintentional preference for or against a place, person or idea reflected in a statement. Distorting or stretching of a fact makes an argument more extreme due to the use of exaggerated language. Bias in a narrative may be the result of a poorly designed study that gives results of say a too small sample that may not necessarily reflect the bigger picture.

Journal Entry 14: Organizing Your Information

Having a great idea is ideal when writing an essay. However, a reader can get confused and miss on an important idea in an essay just because of poor organization of the piece of work. It is important to outline your essay before jumping into writing the content. Once outlined, ideas can be grouped in terms of similarity or contrast. They can then be broken down into sub-points that will form the backbone of the topic of discussion. I would choose to brainstorm then get the main idea after which I can select the sub-points for my discussion. I would brainstorm from maps, lists, and articles while citing information I get from them in order to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words in your piece without citation or giving credit to the owner.

Once I have all the ideas from the brainstorming process, I select my ideas in order of importance. I could begin with what seems like a weaker argument and then lead up to the strong argument. I could then describe the ideas chronologically using phrases like “first, second, last” to guide my reader. It is after this that I would compare and contrast my points. Comparing involves discussing the similarities while contrast outlines the differences. My effective organization strategy would be the use of a chronological order in order to take my reader step by step till we reach the conclusion. Therefore, a chronological order has flow and is easy for the reader to follow and understand all the steps involved in the discussion.

Journal Entry 15: Using Your Sources Responsibly

Direct quotation is the of someone else’s quote or phrase word for word and giving credit to the owner or rather using their name at the end of the quote as evidence that the quote or phrase belongs to them. A direct quotation is mostly enclosed in quotation marks. Paraphrasing is the rewriting of a phrase in different words to express its meaning in simpler words. This is shorter than the original. A summary is a brief description of the main points of a written piece using your own words. It is shorter than the original since it takes a broad view of the source.

The most effective way to use a direct quotation is by using quotation marks to pinpoint any text that is directly borrowed from a source. It is also appropriate to record the source of your quotation in your paper, in order to give credit to the owner of the source. For paraphrasing, it is wise to carefully read the original passage and understand it. After that, you can jot down a few keywords to direct you when writing your paraphrase. Your original piece can be set aside for referencing. This is important to make sure that your version correctly depicts the meaning of the original version. Summarizing is most effective when main ideas of the essay are written as a brief description.

Journal Entry 16: Planning Your Argument

TOPIC: Persuade your audience that the use of alternative energy is beneficial and economical

Alternative energy is energy that is derived from any other source other than fossil fuels. This is harmless to the environment.

This is a claim of value because the argument is from a position of benefit as evident from the topic.

The research concentrates on persuading the audience that the use of alternative energy is beneficial and economical. The argument is based on the following reasons.

It is argued that fossil fuels are inefficient, becoming destructive to the environment, and are the main contributor to global climate change.

Alternative sources of energy are clean and reliable.

Alternative sources of energy are renewable.

According to the American Journal of Science and Arts book, fossils are becoming inefficient due to the continuous exploitation of minerals (Silliman). The European Union statistics from the “Eurostat statistics explained” has it that alternative sources of energy has brought a significant reduction of emission gasses, and has led to employment through the creation of jobs in ‘green’ technologies. Up to 65% of electricity has been produced by alternative sources of energy according to the “Eurostat statistics” (Union). For example, as at 2014, Austria was producing 68% of electricity from alternative sources of energy. Experts who operate the grid from the union of concerned scientists show that much higher levels of alternative sources of energy can be achieved reliably, while significantly reducing carbon emissions. For example, wind energy provided 31% of the U.S. electricity generating capacity from 2009-2013 (Cinde).

We can shift the world away from dirty, inefficient, unreliable fossil fuels, and towards healthy, safe, cleaner sources of power to a more sustainable future.

Journal Entry 17: Recognizing Your Opposition

Opposing views in an argument boosts the writer’s credibility by acknowledging specific sources that have an opposing view compared to theirs and then refuting their argument. Making a solid argument involves answering any objections that may arise in the reader’s mind as they read through your work. This is well achieved through the incorporation of objections and counterarguments. Counterarguments allow the writer to find the best thinkers on the opposing side and get their points of view. It is important to use neutral language when presenting someone else’s opinion. This improves clarity and doesn’t dismiss opposition.

Having the counterargument on the penny article makes the writer both strong and weak depending on the argument. This is because his first argument does not seem practical compared to that of his opponent. For instance, it is more practical for a merchant to “round up” to the next dollar as the opposition claims, rather than “round down” to a cheaper price like the writer claims. However, it is evident that the writer has critical thinking when he says that unlike his opposition, that when the penny is abolished, the nickel will increase in use. This makes the writer stronger. Critical thinking and the solid argument is also evident when the writer says that Lincoln will still appear on the $5 bill refuting the argument of his opposition that abolishing the penny will infuriate people who admire him.

Journal Entry 18: Course Reflection

I learned through the Learning Inventory Quiz that I am an independent student that prefers to work and study alone. This helped me realize that studying through an online course was perfect for me. Getting to know that I am a Spatial learner has helped me capitalize on gathering information from studying graphics such as drawings, diagrams, films, or videos, and visualize in my mind how things will work before I begin a project. I have also learned that I am a Rational learner, who relies on facts and information when making decisions or solving problems. Last but not the least, I have known that I am a concrete learner who can focus on details and tend to perceive tasks in parts or steps. All these qualities have helped me in making good decisions and becoming a better problem solver.

As a writer, I have become more open to criticism of my work. I have also used the tools outlined in the textbook and transferred them to written form. This has helped me become a better writer. Moreover, I have improved my communication outside my work environment to not only boost my self-esteem but also build my confidence. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses has ensured that my writing gets better and that I can converse effectively. As an avid speller, I have been able to visualize words and pronounce them correctly when writing and evaluating my essays.

I will continue to practice writing daily and identify errors in grammar, sentence structure and punctuation to improve in those areas also. I need to focus more on having a clear picture of my writing goals. This will help me professionally and personally be successful in life by overcoming any writing challenges I may face. I will improve on my time management so that I can produce good results despite my tight schedule. I will also focus more on content and quality rather than quantity of work produced within a certain time. I choose to follow the basic rules of writing in my phrases to ensure that my readers understand me and take my essay seriously.


I had a couple of goals at the beginning of this course. I intended to write easy to understand content that was free of errors. I wanted to write about a subject that I knew and enjoyed. My goal was to be disciplined to the point where I could devote time and energy to a project that I was passionate about. I also looked forward to demonstrating dedication and determination when writing a quality paper that is written in my own words, going the extra mile to avoid plagiarism. Most of all, I aimed at overcoming numerous barriers in writing to become a successful writer.

I accomplished most of my goals. However, I still have a weakness in my writing since I combine too many ideas when constructing sentences. This happens generally because I have a lot to say. A lot of content tampers with the quality of my work in terms of grammar and the ease to understand. I would have started this course with working on my weakness by choosing main ideas and their sub-points so as to have an easy flow of content. I, therefore, look forward to pulling it all together without doubting myself in my future assignments to overcome this problem.

Works Cited

Cinde. “The Climate Change and Your Health Initiative.” 2012.

Silliman, Benjamin. “American Journal of Science and Arts.” American Journal of Science and Arts (1818-2017).

Union, European. “Eurostat statistics explained.” 2014.

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