Journey Log 4 Ryan Dixon

Dixon - Malabro

Section 37

Journey Log 4



What a great week to be in English 1030 with Chris Stuart. Week after week I get more excited about this class. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far and can't wait for some of the upcoming assignments. Who would have thought I'd ever say that. To be honest I am still in shock that I get to write a research paper on my all time favorite villain, Darth Vader. It is because of this that I chose "engagement" as my Habit of the Mind that I am going to write about this week.

This week, we learned a good amount about citing sources and finding credible information. We watched a video from John Oliver, who is in the picture above, which exemplified how to properly find and cite good sources. His videos are almost always entertaining, but this one was more appealing than usual to me. Like most college freshmen, I don't have an incredible background in doing top notch research. One of the main things that I took away from this video is that good research starts with finding the appropriate sources. This seems like common sense, but when you are a student and are assigned a paper on some boring topic, who really wants to take the time to get invested in it? Obviously you want to do a good enough job where you understand the content and write a solid paper, but beyond that there isn't much interest. However, when I am assigned a paper on a topic I really enjoy learning about, I have the drive to go that extra mile. That is exactly how I feel about this research paper that we have been assigned.

This week I finally began researching for my paper. This week was also the first time I enjoyed doing research for a school assignment. Due to the interest I have in the topic, I actually had the motivation to get engaged with this assignment. I looked up all the Star Wars books that the library had to offer and I decided on the ones I wanted to try and use for my paper. Then I went to Cooper Library in search of books for the first time since I have been here. I went down to the bottom floor after talking to a librarian, and searched the bookshelves until I found what I was looking for. As soon as I returned to my room I started looking at all my new sources. I became fully engaged in my research as I lost track of time. I also started looking around the internet for more sources, such as videos and articles. While I found some valuable sources, I also came up short in some aspects. It took a long time for me to find all the scholarly articles that I wanted to. I had a couple of sources that I thought were good and could work in my paper, but I eventually decided to scrap them. I have been employing new researching techniques such as using the library, looking through multiple databases, and cross checking sources. This method is much different from my old way of doing research where I would use Google. As Professor Eric Popkoff of Brooklyn College stated, "In this sense this is type of search engine is the “Swiss army knife” of internet." I agree with what he said and would say that it is not a good idea to use all your sources from google alone. It is by no means a bad thing to use google while researching, as it is a great starting place.

Not only did we learn about research this week, but we also learned about reading like writers. Reading like a writer essentially means that when you are reading, you are trying to become a better writer. A way to do this is by observing the writing styles and techniques that other authors use, and trying to implement them into your own writing. While we can make a conscious effort to do this, it still will happen naturally. "Children first begin talking like their parents, then like their peers, and later, perhaps, like their favored entertainment or sporting personalities" (Smith 561). This comparison shows how when we read, we do not pick up on every single writing technique we encounter. Instead, we adopt the styles and techniques of those types of writers with which we have something in common. Typically, that is going to relate to the genre of writing. Many writing techniques are genre specific, so we are going to pick up on certain skills which pertain to different genres.

I chose these sources because I felt that they would add a lot to my writing. Both of my quotes from these sources happened to be some sort of comparison. This was not by accident, as I like implementing comparisons into my work, as I feel that it gives the reader another way of looking at things. I know that I personally enjoy reading comparisons, and I have grown to put them into my own writing, even if they are comparisons that other people made. I looked on google scholar to find information on reading like a writer and how to efficiently conduct research. However, I could not find many articles on proper research techniques so I ended up googling it and trying to find a reliable source from there instead. For whether something is reliable or not, it typically comes down to who wrote it. If it is someone with no credibility, then it likely is not a good source. However, if it is by someone with credentials and other work to reference, then there is a good chance that it is a quality source.

Works Cited:

Smith, Frank. “Reading Like a Writer.” Language Arts, vol. 60, no. 5, 1983, pp. 558–567.,

Popkoff, Eric. Methods Of Effective Internet Research. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

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Ryan Dixon


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