Hearing Ourselves Think: Cognitive Research in the College Writing Classroom

By Barbara M. Sitko; Ann M. Penrose | Go to book overview
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own reading and writing process. Perhaps more important, the analysis and handbook are part of a collaborative effort to make sense of what it means to mine texts.
Appendix II: Brian's Handbook

CONTEXT

Genetics Psychopathology -- David Rosenthal
The book establishes context in the first 3 chapters. Chapter 1 gives a brief history of how man has tried to explain psychopathic disorders. It talks about Greek "logical" explanations, "discoveries" from medieval times to the nineteenth century, etc. Chapter 2 ties psychopathology into the field of evolution. It describes how the fact that we reproduce sexually helps our species grow and adapt, but it also gives rise to "mutations" in our genes. Chapter 3 is a general background on genetics. Miosis, mitosis, mutation, and DNA are topics covered.
"Travels in Georgia" -- John McPhee
Never clearly establishes context, basically starts right in with his story and lets you get the idea•Tells what Carol and Sam stand for in the encounter with Chip Crusey•In this same section McPhee talks about why this creek is being disturbed. Fills us in about the Soil Conservation Service and about making a "water resource channel improvement." This gives us some background, and some idea of what Carol and Jim do.
Philosophy of Natural Science -- Carl Hempel
Sets up the book in Chapter 1 entitled "Scope and Aim of this Book." In this chapter he describes what the natural sciences are, and what the book will deal with. Mostly in the last paragraph of the chapter he tells in detail what he is going to write about.
STRATEGIES FOR ESTABLISHING CONTEXT
1. Background information -- good for situations where your audience has limited knowledge of your subject. Ideally, you should supply enough background information so that your audience has a solid knowledge of the field you're discussing and/or a general idea of what motivates your characters. Works well when describing "technical" subjects (i.e., "Flying Upside Down").
2. Jumping in -- basically not establishing context. Useful when dealing with subject matter that is somewhat bizarre or out of the ordinary. Helps ease people into what is potentially a "shocking" subject or idea. Works especially well in narrative because it creates a sort of curiosity (i.e., "Travels in Georgia" and "Invasive Procedures").

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