Archive for October, 2011

Blog 9 Evaluating Sources


* Source:

Is the information in this source accurate and trustworthy? How can you tell?

The website is liberal and only really shows information for continued appreciation of this side. I would not consider it a news source due to topics not being discussed from alternative viewpoints. However, the article itself seems to be credible, as stated below, and as such ought to be trustworthy and accurate.

Is the information in this source appropriate for an academic paper? Why or why not?

Due to the writers’ names being printed next to the AP symbol, I find this to be credible information because I find the Associated Press to be one of the most credible sources in the world. Because the information is credible, it is completely appropriate for an academic paper.

How well does the source address your topic and developing stance?

This is a good article for showing some background on how the new laws are affecting the farmers and the industry. It also shows how Americans react to new available jobs, and what farmers have had to do to stay afloat without cheap labor. It is a good start, and a good article to work with while researching this topic.


* Source:

Is the information in this source accurate and trustworthy? How can you tell?

I do not find this source to be accurate and trustworthy – the website and foundation seem to be one-sided and biased. The article, itself, started off with a sentence relating the former Soviet Union to the illegal alien advocacy in that it said that they were similar because they both use a disinformation tactic. An article essentially attacking one side is usually not credible.

            The article also discusses how the advocacy uses disinformation to spread things supposedly not true about the new immigration law. However, looking at the items the author listed as hyperbole, essentially, I can see some truth in them due to my previous experience. I met a friend in May who is Hispanic, American and living in Arizona. Since the law’s enactment, he has been stopped 19 times while driving alone, and asked for his papers. He has never been stopped while driving with his Caucasian wife in the passenger’s seat. Because this man was the head leader for a leadership retreat that I attended, I find him to be a much more credible source even despite his experience with a whole different state.

Is the information in this source appropriate for an academic paper? Why or why not?

I don’t find this source to be appropriate for an academic paper, so of course the information within is not appropriate either. This article seems to be more of a pissed off asshole writing about what’s currently shoving the stick up in there just a little bit further.

How well does the source address your topic and developing stance?

            The only way this article could possibly be helpful is if I just look at is as a display of how angry and worked up people can get about this issue. If this is going to affect my stance, I would naturally sway to be on the opposite side of this writer because he has a Republican feel and does not have credibility nor use credible sources, nor cite any information he has “collected.”


* Source:

Is the information in this source accurate and trustworthy? How can you tell? seems to be run by the St. Petersburg Times in Florida and as such seems to be a credible source of information since newspapers are supposed to be credible. I also took a look at the cited sources and they all seem to be credible as well. There are also links to places such as the US Census Bureau so that I can actually see the figures myself and compare to the article.

Is the information in this source appropriate for an academic paper? Why or why not?

This source seems to be attempting to debunk a statement made by providing numerous facts and figures. I feel that this is a good source to use, but more as a starting point. For example, find statistics in this source, but double check them and actually cite some other source, in text, such as the Census Bureau, and include both citations in the references.

How well does the source address your topic and developing stance?

This source throws a lot of different statistics at you. It seems to be a good place to see a lot of rebuttal information – it would also be a good idea to track the source of the quote this article is rebutting. It would be wise to make sure that the quote itself was not taken out of inappropriate context for this situation and issue.


Blog 8: Rhetorical Context Analysis for Unit 3 and 4

Blog 8: Rhetorical Context Analysis for Unit 3 and 4

1. What will you research and write about? Why are you interested in this topic?

*I will research and write about the hydraulic fracturing controversy. I am interested in this topic because I am interested in natural resources, particularly those of the United States, and want to preserve, or at least conserve and use sustainable practices to keep our resources healthy and viable for ourselves and future generations. I want to research this topic because the process used has potential implications for our watersheds and therefore our drinking water… nationwide. I also find this topic interesting because it involves natural gas, one of our main energy sources, and I want to see if there are cleaner and equally good or better alternatives, and if so, why we aren’t using them.

2. How is your topic in need of urgent, immediate attention—how is it exigent?

*Consumption of natural gas is increasing in the US, therefore fracking is occurring at this very moment. This is also exigent in that there are no federal regulations on this method of natural gas retrieval so local people have to rely on their state governments to regulate properly. This may be leading to contaminated drinking water supplies.

3. What do you already know about your topic? What do you need to learn about your topic?

*I already know the basic controversy/argument: fracking companies claim that they 1. Shouldn’t have to disclose their “slurry” that they are injecting into the ground and 2. That slurry is not contaminating drinking water and they are exempt from the Clean Water Act anyway, so it is no concern. The other side is local peoples near fracking rigs, environmentalists, and those with potentially affected drinking water claiming that the fracking process injects harmful chemicals into the ground that then leech into the well water, especially. The fracking process also uses a lot of water, which is another thing environmentalists are against. I also know what the process entails

*I need to learn where exactly this process is occurring in the country, and others. I need to learn why fracking companies believe that putting chemicals into the ground wouldn’t be harmful. I would like to learn how much water is injected for what return of gas. I need to know how much gas we have in our country and how long that will last if we continue at current and/or projected rates of consumption. I would love to learn what other things besides sand and water are being injected – I think there may be one state that requires this disclosure.

4. What is your stance on your topic—what you will be arguing with regard to your topic?

*My stance is essentially anti-fracking and pro-alternative energy methods. I would consider fracking, given higher standards and more regulations.

5. What oppositional or differing stances will you need to refute in your argument? How much do you know so far about why people might disagree with you?

*“Our nation relies on natural gas.”

*Rebuttal: There are numerous alternative methods

*Rebuttal: Our nation also relies on clean water

*”Fracking does not contaminate drinking water

*Rebuttal: tap water on fire

*Rebuttal: There are no regulations – how can we test?

*Fracking has low environmental impact

*Rebuttal: the fracking process injects chemicals, sand, and water deep into the earth

*Fracking is exempt from the Clean Water Act – WHAT?!

*Low cost

*Rebuttal: Profits go to natural gas companies, not local or national economies.

*Fracking creates jobs

*Rebuttal: So does clean energy production

*Rebuttal: The jobs are temporary

6. What kinds of research do you intend to gather? Why?

*Water contamination research in the various areas fracking occurs vs doesn’t occur because proof is needed to make a viable argument in regards to drinking water being contaminated

*What kinds of contaminants are going into our nations soil and potentially ending up in our water?

*Social aspects research – how fracking affects locals and state/local governments. I feel this is important not only since my major is in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and therefore this is highly applicable, but also because it is the people that have the power. What they have to say may affect future development.

*An answer to why fracking companies will not disclose what they are injecting into the earth.

7. Who is your target audience? Why have you chosen this group to address?

*I think the best target audience is the American population, ages 25-33 (though limited by who will read). I fall in this age demographic and feel that a lot of my peers do not understand or even know about fracking. A lot of this demographic has graduated college, but not continued on to further their education. I feel that as a natural resource and non-traditional student, myself, I know a lot more than my demographic cohorts when it comes to the subject of hydraulic fracturing. We are the up-and-coming generation of decision-makers and need to be informed on topics affecting our only planet.

8. What kinds of agency does this audience have with regard to your topic? How does this audience have agency with regard to your group’s message/purpose?

*We are a voting demographic

*This audience uses and is therefore affected by natural gas.

*This demographic is technologically savvy and therefore can spread messages quickly and effectively in a multimodal world.

*This demographic may be more environmentally concerned.

9. What are some possible limitations and opportunities posed by your rhetorical situation? Consider the requirements of the assignment, the publication medium, your topic, your research, your past work on this topic, etc.


*There will probably not be many people reading my paper

*Lack of available information

*Lack of research


*Voter turnout/reaction can become anti-fracking

*Regulations on the industry

Blog 7 – Unit 1 Reflection

After completing Unit 1 in my CO300 Writing Arguments class I feel a lot more informed about the topic of rhetoric, itself. I always heard the term thrown around, and thought I had a decent grasp of what rhetoric actually means, or what it is, but until the past few weeks, I apparently did not actually really understand the term or its implications. The analyses of Toulmin and Bitzer, in particular, helped me grasp the concept of rhetoric and its effectiveness in written pieces, especially.

Of the different analysis types or ways to decide if a piece is effective rhetoric – it could be that he was the first assigned material in class from when I was excited to be back in school – I enjoyed the Bitzer analysis the most. His writing was slightly complicated but if you took the time to read it consciously he seemed to have a lot of interesting ideas. I liked that he had straight-forward rules to follow when analyzing written material to decide whether or not the piece is rhetoric and if so, whether or not it is an effective piece of rhetoric. For my analytical mind, these rules were perfect to help me in identifying and analyzing different rhetorical components. He was also very clear and concise in exactly what the pieces of a rhetorical argument are, which made it very easy to dissect an article and find each individual component.

I also really enjoyed the Rogerian article, though for different reasons than the Bitzer article. I enjoyed the Rogerian methodology of discussing an article’s rhetorical effectiveness because it makes the most sense to me to get someone on an opposing side to at least understand your viewpoint, if not start to switch sides themselves. I found his method to be most effective when looking at or discussing a philosophical piece of writing, or to use his method when writing this type of article, paper, or essay. I also find this method to be slightly sneaky or manipulative of the audience due to the fact that the goal is to show that you understand the opposing side and by showing so, it helps to get those opposing to switch sides.

Knowing more about how rhetoric is “supposed” to work, according to multiple different “analysts” has helped me in my subject matter: fracking. The problem I now see is that while I feel more informed about how to analyze an article or piece of writing or rhetoric and as such can decide whether or not a piece is effective to a target audience, I feel that the general American population is not aware of how to analyze an article properly. I feel that this is a frustrating point – not only is a good portion of our culture uneducated to a higher-education level, but they also cannot necessarily determine the credibility nor effectiveness of an article. I feel that politicians take this into account and tend to use the Rogerian method of rhetorical writing to manipulate this uneducated population into believing whatever it is that they wish you to believe. I suppose it is just people who argue a point when they are uninformed or uneducated about the subject who frustrate me most, and this Rogerian form seems to really enhance misinformation when you want it to.

I guess that’s really all I’ve got to reflect on for now – I feel better about reading articles and journals, especially, now that I have knowledge of rhetorical effectiveness, and just having a mindset to really take apart and analyze a piece of writing or other multimodal forms.