Find Information in a Handbook
In this discussion, you will practice using A Writer’s Reference to find information on your own. You will learn how the handbook is organized, what kind of information it contains, and how to use its major features.
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For this discussion, you will review all of the presentation Using a Handbook for Reference, answer the Scavenger Hunt questions, and post your answers as your main discussion post.
Reply substantively to the main posts of at least two classmates. Your reply posts should ask any questions of other learners about their answers and share what you learned from this exercise. Do you feel more confident about using the handbook for reference now? Did you find any new information as you searched for the answers?
Post your answers to the scavenger hunt by Thursday of Unit 4 at midnight CST. Post responses to the discussion by Sunday of Unit 4 at midnight CST.
DISCUSSION PARTICIPATION SCORING GUIDE
Due Date: Weekly.
Percentage of Course Grade: 30%.
|Applies relevant course concepts, theories, or materials correctly.||Does not explain relevant course concepts, theories, or materials.||Explains relevant course concepts, theories, or materials.||Applies relevant course concepts, theories, or materials correctly.||Analyzes course concepts, theories, or materials correctly, using examples or supporting evidence.|
|Collaborates with fellow learners, relating the discussion to relevant course concepts.||Does not collaborate with fellow learners.||Collaborates with fellow learners without relating discussion to the relevant course concepts.||Collaborates with fellow learners, relating the discussion to relevant course concepts.||Collaborates with fellow learners, relating the discussion to relevant course concepts and extending the dialogue.|
|Applies relevant professional, personal, or other real-world experiences.||Does not contribute professional, personal, or other real-world experiences.||Contributes professional, personal, or other real-world experiences, but lacks relevance.||Applies relevant professional, personal, or other real-world experiences.||Applies relevant professional, personal, or other real-world experiences to extend the dialogue.|
Latisha needs to write a business plan that will convince a lender to fund her start-up business. She has been turned down for a loan by another lender because the loan officers could not understand the technical jargon she used in the plan. Latisha needs to know how to use language that will really connect with her reader.
George is an international student at a major university studying engineering. He is fluent in English, bus still has trouble deciding when to use the articles “the,” “a,” and “an.” It’s a small problem, but one that nags him constantly as he writes his dissertation.
Marilyn works as a psychologist at a mental health clinic. She oversees the work of peer counselors, who write reports about their interactions with clients. These reports have been criticized because of the use of non-standard language, specifically dropping the ed to indicate the past tense. She has found sentences like this one: “The client talk about her depression in the session last week.” Marilyn would like to help the peer counselors use standard English so that their reports would get a more positive reception.
Latisha, George, and Marilyn do not have access to an editor or English professor all the time, but they could find the help they need on their own by consulting an English handbook. This type of book allows readers to find the information they need quickly and efficiently. The key to doing this is to know how to make the most of the resources of the handbook.
Latisha could find examples of jargon phrases that confuse readers along with substitutes that are clearer and simpler if she consulted the tab Word Choice, especially the section on “Staying away from jargon.”
George could find information about the right article to use written specifically for writers who are fluent in languages other than English. An entire section of the handbook is devoted to the specific problems of multi-lingual writers.
Marilyn could help the peer counselors at the clinic by directing them to the tab Grammar with its explanation of verb tenses.
In this presentation, you will learn how to make the most of the handbook A Writer’s Reference. You will learn how to use the most important features of the handbook. If you make it a practice to consult the handbook for answers to your questions or for further information about comments from your instructors, you will find it a useful reference book—a keeper that will be useful to you long after the term is over. A handbook saves you time and energy because it contains so much information that is so easily accessed.
The first resource to consider is the main menu, which is found on the inside of the front cover. Here you will find a list of the major parts of the book briefly. The major parts are color-coded, and each has a tabbed divider. The dividers have a more detailed menu of the information covered in the tab.
For instance, if your instructor has commented that you have problems with run-on sentences, you could go to the tab Grammatical Sentences to find out exactly what that means and how to fix the problem.
The detailed menu, found on the inside of the back cover, shows where you can find more specific information. Each section in the handbook includes the rule, an explanation, and an example.
For instance, if you are assigned a literature review for a psychology class, you will find specific details about how to approach that assignment in the section of Writing in the Disciplines in the chapter on Academic Writing.
The index, found at the back of the book, offers even more details. If you are not sure whether to use “coarse” or “course” in describing your school schedule, you could look up these words in the index, which would show the page number where the information is found.
The Glossary of Usage, found in the tab Word Choice, includes a list of commonly confused words such as “accept” and “except.” The Glossary also marks words that are inappropriate in formal writing such as college papers.
Finally, the tab APA/CMS de-mystifies the APA documentation standards by give examples and explanations for the different types of citations. Using the directories at the beginning of the chapter makes finding the information you need easy and fast.
Most of us do not have access to an editor or writing professional at all times. We can, however, use the resources of a reference book on writing, grammar, punctuation, usage, and research to find the answers to our questions.