Writing strategies used throughout the term:
- Effective use of evidence (citing sources that support and go against your argument, as well as introducing sources to show context and credibility)
- Making the thesis clear and connecting back to the thesis
- Showing why every piece of evidence is included
- Making smooth transitions in order to create a logical argument
Throughout the term, with the help of my peers, the RWIT tutors, and Professor McIntyre, I have learned several strategies to become a more persuasive writer. One of the strategies that I employed was using evidence effectively. I did this in two ways. First, I used different kinds of sources, containing logos, pathos and ethos. Second, I introduced sources to show context and credibility. Sources are important in expository writing because, chances are, you are not all-knowing on what you are researching. After all, you are the researcher.
Having a mix of evidence is key. It’s a lot like the evidence you would present in a court room. You don’t just want an eye-witness. What if she’s legally blind? But you also don’t just want DNA evidence. That could have been planted there by the real perpetrator or misread by the forensic scientists. A pairing of scientific and numerical data with interviews and first-hand accounts will strengthen your argument and persuade multiple types of audiences.
Since I spent the term doing research on the effects of music piracy, I used both numerical data from research companies as well as quotes from artists and music business executives. For example, in my literature review, when discussing the effects of music piracy on the music industry I cited Kate Swanson, who stated that “The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) estimated that since the age of Napster, music sales have dropped forty-seven percent in the United States.” Also, I cited an interview she did with Jeff Beck, financial director of Saddle Creek Records. His commentary softens the claims made by the RIAA. He stated that “none of the label’s artists has observed any noticeable downturn in sales from digital services like Spotify.” Although music sales may have dropped, the RIAA would have a reason to overstate these statistics, so it’s good to have more than once source to comment on effects on music sales. I also quoted Taylor Swift and Jay-Z in my case study, showing how artists react to being treated unfairly in the music industry. Both in the literature review and the case study, I quoted Taylor Swift from an interview with Jack Linshi in which she said, “Music is an art, and art is important and rare…. It’s my opinion that music should not be free…” The audience may feel bad that Taylor is being treated unfairly. On the other hand, Jay-Z’s tweet (cited in the case study) shows that he is ready to combat the unfair treatment of artists by streaming sites, which shows Tidal in a positive light.
Introducing sources is important because in order for sources to be persuasive, they need to be credible. For example, if I am examining the injustices of music streaming, an interview with a Spotify executive might have bias, while an interview with Taylor Swift also has bias. Showing that you have a variety of sources from different viewpoints is important in order to encompass all opinions on the topic. Also, introducing sources is important in order to show why you included a specific source. Why would a study done on music piracy by a student at Indiana State University be important? Well, because students at a university are more likely to be tech-savvy, therefore more likely to pirate music.
I started out the term just “introducing” my sources with parenthetical citations, and this can be observed in the literature review. For example, when I cited a study done on how music streaming may be perceived by pirates, I simply stated, “A study done by Alexander Benlian, Jonathan Dörr, Thomas Hess, and Thomas Wagner shows that the majority of music pirates have a positive view of streaming and are likely to make the transition from illegal to legal listening.” But I never mentioned who these people were: academics. This would’ve added to their credibility. However, in the case study and definitional text (both the video and the cover letter), I did a better job of introducing sources. For example, in the case study, I reused several sources, and I made sure to better introduce them. The example shown above was corrected in my case study. I added in where the academics were from, and who they interviewed. “A study done by Alexander Benlian, Jonathan Dörr, Thomas Hess, and Thomas Wagner, academics at the Munich School of Management’s Institute for Information Systems and New Media, shows that the majority of music pirates have a positive view of streaming and are likely to make the transition from illegal to legal listening. The researchers surveyed one hundred and thirty-two music pirates who were students at a German university with an average age of twenty-four.” This shows that the sources are qualified and that the pool of people they surveyed made for a good study because it was a younger demographic. Also, in the definitional text video, I included the students’ names, majors, and extracurricular activities in order to show credibility and a variety of viewpoints. Also, the fact that the project was done in an interview style proves that their definitions of music were directly from them. I also used their quotes within the cover letter to justify the definition I ended up coming up with.
Using multiple credible sources is important because the sources provide the evidence for your argument. Otherwise your argument would be opinion-based. In order to show the credibility of your sources, you must introduce them and prove to the reader that they are believable.