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CMM251 Public Writing - A3 Reflective Essay

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Rebecca Marshallsay

on 16 November 2015

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Transcript of CMM251 Public Writing - A3 Reflective Essay

CMM251 Public Writing
Assessment 3
Reflective Essay

Essay writing
This assessment should follow the conventions of a traditional academic essay that includes an introduction, a body, and conclusion.

I strongly recommend that you review the following resources for further information on academic writing and structuring your essay.


Say what?
Make sure you plan your essay. Map out a narrative structure that details what you will be saying in each section (and how it will flow).

Check this plan against the assessment brief and marking criteria to make sure you have covered everything.
For this assessment you are asked to:

Choose one of the pieces of public writing supplied in Readings Dossier (a Senate inquiry submission, a speech, an opinion piece or other)
[note: you can find these in the week 5/6 readings]

... and write an essay
critically evaluating
the piece from two perspectives:

1. The quality of the piece
as a professional communication
in terms of audience appeal, persuasiveness, research, brevity and concise writing, message delivery, call to action, language and tone.

2. Assess the public value of the piece. What overall good or bad contribution to public life could or would this piece of public writing make?
Locate your argument within the unit theoretical framework and reference.

Stay on topic
A common mistake in this assignment is for students to write too much about the person or the socio-political context of the piece. Remember that you have been asked to evaluate this from a
communications perspective
. The background information should only be included where it informs your evaluation and it should be detailed succinctly.

Make sure all of your discussion is directly connected to the topic.
Critical evaluation
Supporting your claims
Common mistakes
Writing style
Spelling and grammar
Good luck!

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Use Australian spelling
Many spell checks are automatically set to US spelling so you will need to check this manually.

As a general rule, spell out numbers one through nine and use numerals for 10 and over.

Eliminate redundancy
Keep your writing simple and direct.

Reread Week 3 of the Study Guide and visit the Coffee Shop in Blackboard for more writing tips.
This is an academic essay so you need to write formally. However, it is really important to keep your writing simple and direct.

Many students fall into the trap of trying to adopt a style that 'sounds the part'; they use a lot of big words and jargon. Usually this ends up being passive, convoluted and overly wordy. Sometimes it can even mask or change the meaning of what they are trying to say.

Read your writing out loud and try to:
Break up very long sentences.
Remove extra words (filler or fluff that does not add to your meaning).
You must use
style referencing that includes in-text citations to acknowledge direct quotations and places where you have paraphrased words or an idea from another source.

You must also include a reference list.

Please see the
Harvard Referencing Guide
for further information. You can locate this in the unit's Blackboard space.
An introduction
a road map for your essay that will tell the reader what you will be discussing in the body of your essay and may foreshadow any major claims.

is not
a general reflection on communications/the article/the author, or a general background to the topic.
The body of your essay contains paragraphs that address your main claims.

Generally you should address
central claim or idea per paragraph. A good formula to follow is to:
Start with a strong topic sentence that clearly states your claim or idea.
Expand on this within the body of the paragraph and use examples from the text/support from the theory.
Tie the paragraph together with a concluding sentence that confirms why this is significant within the broader aims of the essay.
Repeat for each claim/paragraph and use linking sentences where appropriate.
Your conclusion
tie together all of the main claims from the body of your essay with a finishing statement.

should not
include new information, ideas or claims (including quotations).
The assessment brief asks you to critically evaluate your selected piece of writing against various elements of professional writing.

This means you are making a claim or argument that explains things such as:
how the writer used a particular element (rhetoric, tone, call to action etc)
how effective you believe it was
why it is important/why they have taken this approach
how it impacted the piece of writing (success/effectiveness)?
You will need to
support your claims
with examples from the primary text. You can use quotations or description by way of example but make sure that they are
. For example:
"Smith repeatedly uses strong words such as 'must', 'imperative' and 'crucial' to emphasise her point. This is effective because..."

You can use longer quotations if needed but make sure it is adding value and that you are not wasting space that could be better spent on reflection.
Supporting your claims
You should also support your claim by
drawing on the unit theory
. For example, if you are discussing 'tone', consider what the theorists say about this element: why is it important? what impact can it have? how does this relate to your writer's usage?

Again, quotations or discussion of theory should be
and used judiciously. Remember that it is
supporting your critical evaluation
. Do not waste space recapping large sections of theory.
Integrating theory
Generally it is better to paraphrase rather than take direct quotes from the theory. This demonstrates your own understanding of the concept and usually creates better flow.
Never use single sentence/stand alone quotations. They must be integrated into your own writing. For example,
'Smith says "Writing is important
Writing is important.
You must cite (use references) when you paraphrase and when you quote directly. You do not need an in-text citation when you are talking about your primary text in general terms.
Use specific verbs to connect your theory to your evaluation (Smith claims/demonstrates/argues/describes etc). Do not use vague phrasing such as "
it can be seen
" or "
it is shown
No theory and/or no examples.
Does not address the assessment brief.
Too socio-political- remember this is about the piece of professional writing.
No references.
Poor connection between the theory and the primary text. For example "
Jesus used Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
". This is
what happened, what
happening is that
you are assessing
the writer's work
Maslow. So it is better to rephrase, "
Jesus did X. Maslow describes this as Y
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