Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to
by Cynthia R. Haller
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Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to
Cynthia R. Haller
Marvin, a college student at Any University, sits down at his computer.*
He logs in to the “Online Professor,” an interactive advice site for students.
After setting up a chat, he begins tapping the keys.
Marvin: Hi. I’m a student in the physician assistant program. The
major paper for my health and environment class is due in
five weeks, and I need some advice. The professor says the
paper has to be 6–8 pages, and I have to cite and document
O-Prof: Congratulations on getting started early! Tell me a bit about
your assignment. What’s the purpose? Who’s it intended for?
Marvin: Well, the professor said it should talk about a health prob-
lem caused by water pollution and suggest ways to solve it.
We’ve read some articles, plus my professor gave us statistics
on groundwater contamination in different areas.
O-Prof: What’s been most interesting so far?
Marvin: I’m amazed at how much water pollution there is. It seems
like it would be healthier to drink bottled water, but the plas-
tic bottles hurt the environment.
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Cynthia R. Haller194
O-Prof: Who else might be interested in this?
Marvin: Lots of people are worried about bad water. I might even get
questions about it from my clients once I finish my program.
O-Prof: OK. So what information do you need to make a good rec-
Marvin thinks for a moment.
Marvin: I don’t know much about the health problems caused by con-
taminated drinking water. Whether the tap water is safe de-
pends on where you live, I guess. The professors talked about
arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh, but what about the water in
the U.S.? For my paper, maybe I should focus on a particular
location? I also need to find out more about what companies
do to make sure bottled water is pure.
O-Prof: Good! Now that you know what you need to learn, you can
start looking for sources.
Marvin: When my professors talk about sources, they usually mean
books or articles about my topic. Is that what you mean?
O-Prof: Books and articles do make good sources, but you might
think about sources more generally as “forms of meaning
you use to make new meaning.” It’s like your bottled water.
The water exists already in some location but is processed
by the company before it goes to the consumer. Similarly, a
source provides information and knowledge that you process
to produce new meaning, which other people can then use to
make their own meaning.
A bit confused, Marvin scratches his head.
Marvin: I thought I knew what a source was, but now I’m not so sure.
O-Prof: Think about it. Sources of meaning are literally every-
where—for example, your own observations or experiences,
the content of other people’s brains, visuals and graphics,
experiment results, TV and radio broadcasts, and written
texts. And, there are many ways to make new meaning from
sources. You can give an oral presentation, design a web page,
paint a picture, or, as in your case, write a paper.
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 195
Marvin: I get it. But how do I decide which sources to use for my
O-Prof: It depends on the meaning you want to make, which is why
it’s so important to figure out the purpose of your paper and
who will read it. You might think about using sources as
walking, talking, cooking, and eating. These aren’t the only
possible metaphors, but they do capture some important
things about using sources.
Marvin: Hey! I thought we were talking about writing!
O-Prof: We are, but these metaphors can shed some light on writing
with sources. Let’s start with the first one: walking. To use
sources well, you first have to go where they are. What if you
were writing an article on student clubs for the school news-
paper? Where would you go for information?
Marvin: I’d probably walk down to the Student Activities office and
get some brochures about student clubs. Then I’d attend a
few club meetings and maybe interview the club leaders and
some members about their club activities.
O-Prof: OK, so you’d walk to where you could find relevant infor-
mation for your article. That’s what I mean by walking. You
have to get to the sources you need.
Marvin: Wait a minute. For the article on student clubs, maybe I
could save some walking. Maybe the list of clubs and the
club descriptions are on the Student Activities web page.
That’d save me a trip.
O-Prof: Yes, the Internet has cut down on the amount of physical
walking you need to do to find sources. Before the Internet,
you had to either travel to a source’s physical location, or
bring that source to your location. Think about your proj-
ect on bottled water. To get information about the quality
of a city’s tap water in the 1950s, you would have had to
figure out who’d have that information, then call or write
to request a copy or walk to wherever the information was
stored. Today, if you type “local water quality” into Google,
the Environmental Protection Agency page comes up as one
of the first hits. Its home page links to water quality reports
for local areas.
Cynthia R. Haller196
Marvin pauses for a second before responding, thinking he’s found a
good short cut for his paper.
Marvin: So can I just use Google or Bing to find sources?
O-Prof: Internet search engines can help you find sources, but they
aren’t always the best route to getting to a good source. Try
entering the search term “bottled water quality” into Google,
without quotation marks around the term. How many hits
do you get?
Marvin types it in.
Marvin: 5,760,000. That’s pretty much what I get whenever I do an
Internet search. Too many results.
O-Prof: Which is one of the drawbacks of using only Internet search
engines. The Internet may have cut down on the physical
walking needed to find good sources, but it’s made up for the
time savings by pointing you to more places than you could
possibly go! But there are some ways you can narrow your
search to get fewer, more focused results.
Marvin: Yeah, I know. Sometimes I add extra words in and it helps
weed down the hits.
O-Prof: By combining search terms with certain words or symbols,
you can control what the search engine looks for. If you put
more than one term into a Google search box, the search en-
gine will only give you sites that include both terms, since it
uses the Boolean operator AND as the default for its search-
es. If you put OR between two search terms, you’ll end up
getting even more results, because Google will look for all
websites containing either of the terms. Using a minus sign
in front of a term eliminates things you’re not interested in.
It’s the Google equivalent of the Boolean operator NOT. Try
entering bottled water quality health -teeth.
Marvin types in the words, remembering suddenly that he has to make
an appointment with the dentist.
Marvin: 329,000 hits.
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 197
O-Prof: Still a lot. You can also put quotation marks around groups
of words and the search engine will look only for sites that
contain all of those words in the exact order you’ve given.
And you can combine this strategy with the other ways of
limiting your search. Try “bottled water quality” (in quota-
tion marks) health teeth.
Marvin: Only 333. That’s more like it.
O-Prof: Yes, but you don’t want to narrow it so far that you miss use-
ful sources. You have to play around with your search terms
to get to what you need. A bigger problem with Internet
search engines, though, is that they won’t necessarily lead
you to the sources considered most valuable for college writ-
Marvin: My professor said something about using peer-reviewed ar-
ticles in scholarly journals.
O-Prof: Professors will often want you to use such sources. Articles
in scholarly journals are written by experts; and if a journal’s
peer-reviewed, its articles have been screened by other ex-
perts (the authors’ peers) before being published.
Marvin: So that would make peer-reviewed articles pretty reliable.
Where do I find them?
O-Prof: Google’s got a specialized search engine, Google Scholar, that
will search for scholarly articles that might be useful (www.
googlescholar.com). But often the best place is the college
library’s bibliographic databases. A database is a collection of
related data, usually electronic, set up for easy access to items
in the collection. Library bibliographic databases contain ar-
ticles from newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and
other publications. They can be very large, but they’re a lot
smaller than the whole Internet, and they generally contain
reliable information. The Internet, on the other hand, con-
tains both good and bad information.
Marvin looks down at his feet.
Marvin: Sounds sort of like looking for shoes. When I was buying my
running shoes, I went to a specialty running shop instead of
a regular shoe store. The specialty shop had all the brands I
Cynthia R. Haller198
was looking for, and I didn’t have to weed through sandals
and dress shoes. Is that kind of like a library’s bibliographic
O-Prof: Exactly. But remember, a database search engine can only
find what’s actually in the database. If you’re looking for in-
formation on drinking water, you won’t find much in a da-
tabase full of art history publications. The library has some
subject guides that can tell you the best databases to use for
Marvin: What about books? I did check out the library catalog and
found a couple of good books on my topic.
O-Prof: Yes, don’t forget about books. You generally have to walk
physically to get information that’s only in print form, or
have someone else bring it to you. Even though Google has
now scanned many of the world’s books into its database,
they won’t give you access to the entire book if the book is
still under copyright.
Marvin: So I’m back to real walking again.
O-Prof: Yes. Don’t forget to ask for help when you’re looking around
for sources. Reference librarians make very good guides; it’s
their job to keep up on where various kinds of knowledge are
located and help people find that knowledge. Professors also
make good guides, but they’re most familiar with where to
find knowledge in their own fields.
Marvin: I could ask my health and environment professor for help, of
course, and maybe my geology and chemistry professors. I’m
guessing my music teacher would be less helpful.
O-Prof: One last hint about finding sources. If you find an article or
book that’s helpful for your paper, look at its reference list.
There might be some useful sources listed there.
Marvin: Thanks, Professor. I think I can do some good walking now.
What about that talking metaphor?
O-Prof: Before we move on, there’s an important aspect of walking
with sources that you need to be aware of. In college writing,
if you use a source in a paper, you’re expected to let the reader
know exactly how to find that source as well. Providing this
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 199
“source address” information for your sources is known as
documenting your sources.
Marvin: What do you mean by a “source address”?
O-Prof: It’s directions for finding the source. A mailing address tells
you how to find a person: the house number, street, city,
state, and zip code. To help your readers find your sources,
it’s customary to give them the name of the author; the title
of the book or article or website; and other information such
as date, location of publication, publisher, even the data-
base in which a source is located. Or, if it’s a website, you
might give the name of the site and/or the date on which
you accessed it. Source documentation can be complicated,
because the necessary source address information differs for
different types of sources (e.g., books vs. journal articles,
electronic vs. print). Additionally, different disciplines (e.g.,
history, philosophy, psychology, literature, etc.) use different
“address” formats. Eventually, you’ll become familiar with
the documentation conventions for your own academic ma-
jor, but source documentation takes a lot of practice. In the
meantime, your teachers and various writing handbooks can
provide instructions on what information you’ll need.
Marvin: Do I really need to include all that information? A lot of
times, the sources I use are readings my teachers have as-
signed, so they already know where to find them.
O-Prof: Your teachers don’t always know where all your sources are
from, and they also want you to get into the habit of source
documentation. And what about your other readers? If they’re
deeply interested in your topic, they may want to find more
information than you’ve included in your paper. Your source
documentation allows them to find the original source. And
there are other reasons for documenting sources. It can help
readers understand your own position on a topic, because
they can see which authors you agree with and which you
don’t. It also shows readers you’ve taken time to investigate
your topic and aren’t just writing off the top of your head. If
readers see that your ideas are based on trustworthy sources,
they’re more likely to trust what you say.
Cynthia R. Haller200
Marvin: Like, if I used a university or government website on bottled
water quality, they’d trust me more than if I just used a bot-
tled water company website.
O-Prof: Yes. But to dig deeper into the question of trust, let’s move
on to a second metaphor: talking. Although the metaphor
of walking is useful for understanding how to find and doc-
ument sources, it can give the impression that sources are
separate, inert, and neutral things, waiting to be snatched
up like gold nuggets and plugged into your writing. In real-
ity, sources are parts of overlapping knowledge networks that
connect meanings and the people that make and use them.
Knowledge networks are always in flux, since people are al-
ways making new meaning. Let’s go back to your health and
environment project. Refresh my memory. What kinds of
questions do you need answers to before you can write your
Marvin: Well, I need to know if bottled water is truly healthier, like
the beverage companies claim. Or would I be just as well off
drinking tap water?
O-Prof: To answer this question, you’ll want to find out who’s talking
about these issues. As Kenneth Burke put it, you can think of
sources as voices in an ongoing conversation about the world:
Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you
arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are en-
gaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for
them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact,
the discussion had already begun long before any of them
got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace
for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a
while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of
the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers;
you answer him; another comes to your defense; another
aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or
gratification of your opponent, depending upon the qual-
ity of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is in-
terminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And
you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in prog-
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 201
The authors of texts aren’t speaking aloud, of course, but
they’re making written statements that others can “listen”
and “respond” to. Knowing which texts you can trust means
understanding which authors you can trust.
Marvin: How do I figure that out?
O-Prof: It helps to know who the authors are. What they’re saying.
Where, when, and to whom they’re saying it. And what their
purposes are. Imagine the world as divided into many par-
lors like the one Kenneth Burke described. You’d want to go
to the parlors where people who really know something are
talking about the topics you’re interested in. Let’s go back to
your initial Google search for a minute. Did any Wikipedia
articles come up for bottled water?
Marvin: Yeah, and I took a quick look at one of them. But some of my
professors say I shouldn’t use Wikipedia.
O-Prof: That’s because the quality of information in Wikipedia var-
ies. It’s monitored by volunteer writers and editors rather
than experts, so you should double-check information you
find in Wikipedia with other sources. But Wikipedia articles
are often good places to get background info and good places
to connect with more reliable sources. Did anything in the
Wikipedia article seem useful for finding sources on bottled
Marvin clicks back to the Wikipedia site.
Marvin: It does mention that the National Resources Defense Council
and the Drinking Water Research Foundation have done
some studies on the health effects of bottled water (“Bottled
O-Prof: So, you could go to the websites for these organizations to
find out more about the studies. They might even have links
to the full reports of these studies, as well as other resources
on your topic. Who else might have something to say about
the healthfulness of bottled and tap water?
Marvin: Maybe doctors and other health professionals? But I don’t
know any I could ask.
Cynthia R. Haller202
O-Prof: You can look in the library’s subject guides or ask the librar-
ian about databases for health professionals. The Cumulative
Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) da-
tabase is a good one. Are you logged in to the library? Can
you try that one?
Marvin logs in, finds the database, and types in “bottled water AND
Marvin: Here’s an article called “Health Risks and Benefits of Bottled
Water.” It’s in the journal Primary Care Clinical Office
Practice (Napier and Kodner).
O-Prof: If that’s a peer-reviewed journal, it might be a good source for
Marvin: Here’s another one: “Socio-Demographic Features and
Fluoride Technologies Contributing to Higher Fluorosis
Scores in Permanent Teeth of Canadian Children”
(Maupome et al.). That one sounds pretty technical.
O-Prof: And pretty narrow, too. When you start using sources writ-
ten by experts, you move beyond the huge porch of pub-
lic discourse, where everyone talks about all questions on a
general level, into some smaller conversational parlors, where
groups of specialists talk about more narrow questions in
greater depth. You generally find more detailed and trust-
worthy knowledge in these smaller parlors. But sometimes
the conversation may be too narrow for your needs and dif-
ficult to understand because it’s experts talking to experts.
Way ahead of the professor, Marvin’s already started reading about the
health risks and benefits of bottled water.
Marvin: Here’s something confusing. The summary of this article on
risks and benefits of bottled water says tap water is fine if
you’re in a location where there’s good water. Then it says
that you should use bottled water if the purity of your water
source is in question. So which is better, tap or bottled?
O-Prof: As you read more sources, you begin to realize there’s not
always a simple answer to questions. As the CINAHL article
points out, the answer depends on whether your tap water is
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 203
pure enough to drink. Not everyone agrees on the answers,
either. When you’re advising your future clients (or in this
case, writing your paper), you’ll need to “listen” to what dif-
ferent people who talk about the healthfulness of bottled and
tap water have to say. Then you’ll be equipped to make your
Marvin: Is that when I start writing?
O-Prof: You’ve really been writing all along. Asking questions and
gathering ideas from sources is all part of the process. As
we think about the actual drafting, though, it’s helpful to
move on to that third metaphor: cooking. When you cook
with sources, you process them in new ways. Cooking, like
writing, involves a lot of decisions. For instance, you might
decide to combine ingredients in a way that keeps the full
flavor and character of each ingredient.
Marvin: Kind of like chili cheese fries? I can taste the flavor of the
chili, the cheese, and the fries separately.
O-Prof: Yes. But other food preparation processes can change the
character of the various ingredients. You probably wouldn’t
enjoy gobbling down a stick of butter, two raw eggs, a cup of
flour, or a cup of sugar (well, maybe the sugar!). But if you
mix these ingredients and expose them to a 375-degree tem-
perature, chemical reactions transform them into something
good to eat, like a cake.
Marvin reaches into his backpack and pulls out a snack.
Marvin: You’re making me hungry. But what do chili cheese fries and
cakes have to do with writing?
O-Prof: Sometimes, you might use verbatim quotations from your
sources, as if you were throwing walnuts whole into a sal-
ad. The reader will definitely “taste” your original source.
Other times, you might paraphrase ideas and combine them
into an intricate argument. The flavor of the original source
might be more subtle in the latter case, with only your source
documentation indicating where your ideas came from. In
some ways, the writing assignments your professors give you
are like recipes. As an apprentice writing cook, you should
Cynthia R. Haller204
analyze your assignments to determine what “ingredients”
(sources) to use, what “cooking processes” to follow, and
what the final “dish” (paper) should look like. Let’s try a few
sample assignments. Here’s one:
Assignment 1: Critique (given in a human development
We’ve read and studied Freud’s theory of how the human
psyche develops; now it’s time to evaluate the theory. Read
at least two articles that critique Freud’s theory, chosen from
the list I provided in class. Then, write an essay discussing
the strengths and weaknesses of Freud’s theory.
Assume you’re a student in this course. Given this assign-
ment, how would you describe the required ingredients, pro-
cesses, and product?
Marvin thinks for a minute, while chewing and swallowing a mouthful
Marvin: Let’s see if I can break it down:
• everything we’ve read about Freud’s theory
• our class discussions about the theory
• two articles of my choice taken from the list provided by
Processes: I have to read those two articles to see their criti-
cisms of Freud’s theory. I can also review my notes from
class, since we discussed various critiques. I have to think
about what aspects of Freud’s theory explain human devel-
opment well, and where the theory falls short—like in class,
we discussed how Freud’s theory reduces human develop-
ment to sexuality alone.
Product: The final essay needs to include both strengths
and weaknesses of Freud’s theory. The professor didn’t
specifically say this, but it’s also clear I need to incorporate
some ideas from the two articles I read—otherwise why
would she have assigned those articles?
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 205
O-Prof: Good. How about this one?
Assignment 2: Business Plan (given in an entrepreneurship
As your major project for this course, your group will de-
velop a business plan for a student-run business that meets
some need on this campus. Be sure to include all aspects of a
business plan. During the last few weeks of class, each group
will present the plan to the class, using appropriate visuals.
Marvin: I’ll give it a try.
Ingredients: Hmm . . . It’s hard to tell the sources I’ll need.
Obviously, whatever the teacher teaches us about business
plans in the course will be important—hope she goes into
detail about this and provides examples. What if she doesn’t?
What sources could my group use? Our textbook has a chap-
ter on business plans that will probably help, and maybe we
can go to the library and look for books about writing busi-
ness plans. Some sample business plans would be helpful—I
wonder if the Center for Small Business Support on our cam-
pus would have some?
Processes: Well, maybe we could have each member of the
group look for sources about business plans and then meet
together to discuss what we need to do, or talk online. Don’t
know how we’ll break down the writing—maybe we could
divide up the various sections of the plan, or discuss each
section together, then someone could write it up?
Product: It’s clear that we have to include all the information
that business owners put in a business plan, and we’ll have
to follow the organization of a typical plan. But we can’t tell
exactly what that organization should be until we’ve done
O-Prof: Here’s one last assignment to try out.
Assignment 3: Research Paper (given in a health and envi-
Write a 6–8-page paper in which you explain a health prob-
lem related to water pollution (e.g., arsenic poisoning, gastro-
intestinal illness, skin disease, etc.). Recommend a potential
Cynthia R. Haller206
way or ways this health problem might be addressed. Be sure
to cite and document the sources you use for your paper.
Marvin: Oho, trick question! That one sounds familiar.
Ingredients: No specific guidance here, except that sources
have to relate to water pollution and health. I’ve already de-
cided I’m interested in how bottled water might help with
health where there’s water pollution. I’ll have to pick a health
problem and find sources about how water pollution can
cause that problem. Gastrointestinal illness sounds promis-
ing. I’ll ask the reference librarian where I’d be likely to find
good articles about water pollution, bottled water, and gas-
Process: There’s not very specific information here about
what process to use, but our conversation’s given me some
ideas. I’ll use scholarly articles to find the connection be-
tween water pollution and gastrointestinal problems, and
whether bottled water could prevent those problems.
Product: Obviously, my paper will explain the connection
between water and gastrointestinal health. It’ll evaluate
whether bottled water provides a good option in places where
the water’s polluted, then give a recommendation about what
people should do. The professor did say I should address any
objections readers might raise—for instance, bottled water
may turn out to be a good option, but it’s a lot more expen-
sive than tap water. Finally, I’ll need to provide in-text cita-
tions and document my sources in a reference list.
O-Prof: You’re on your way. Think for a minute about these three
assignments. Did you notice that the “recipes” varied in their
Marvin: Yeah. The first assignment gave me very specific information
about exactly what source “ingredients” to use. But in the
second and third assignments, I had to figure it out on my
own. And the processes varied, too. For the business plan,
the groups will use sources to figure out how to organize the
plan, but the actual content will be drawn from their own
ideas for their business and any market research they do. But
in the third assignment—my own assignment—I’ll have to
use content from my sources to support my recommendation.
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 207
O-Prof: Different professors provide different levels of specificity in
their writing assignments. If you have trouble figuring out
the “recipe,” ask the professor for more information.
Marvin: Sometimes it can be really frustrating not to have enough
information. Last semester, I sat around being frustrated and
put off doing an assignment as long as possible, then rushed
to finish it. I didn’t do very well on the rough draft, but then
I met with my professor and talked to him. Also, the class
read each other’s papers. Getting feedback and looking at
what other students had done gave me some new ideas for my
O-Prof: When it comes to “cooking with sources,” no one expects
you to be an executive chef the first day you get to college.
Over time, you’ll become more expert at writing with sourc-
es, more able to choose and use sources on your own. You’ll
probably need less guidance for writing in your senior year
than in your freshman year. Which brings me to the last
metaphor for using sources.
Marvin: Eating, right?
O-Prof: Good memory. In fact, this last metaphor is about memory,
which is how sources become a part of who you are. You’ve
probably heard the expression, “you are what you eat.” When
you eat sources—that is, think about things, experiment,
read, write, talk to others—you yourself change. What you
learn stays with you.
Marvin: Not always. It’s hard for me to remember the things I learn
in class until the final exam, not to mention after the class is
O-Prof: Of course. We all forget a lot of the things we learn, espe-
cially those we seldom or never use again; but what you learn
and use over a long period of time will affect you deeply and
shape the way you see the world. Take a look at this quote
from Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi, where the nar-
rator’s talking about his apprenticeship as a steamboat pi-
lot. When he first began his apprenticeship, the Mississippi
River looked the same as any other river. But after he made
many long trips up and down it, with the captain and others
Cynthia R. Haller208
explaining things along the way, he began to see it in all its
The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful
book—a book that was a dead language to the unedu-
cated passenger, but which told its mind to me without
reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as
if it uttered them with a voice. (77–78)
Eventually, the narrator could identify each of the river’s
bends, knew how its currents were running, and could es-
timate how deep it was just by looking at the surface. It was
the same river, but he was a different man. Your bottled wa-
ter project isn’t as involved as learning to pilot a steamship.
But once you start reading your sources, your experience of
bottled water will shift. It’ll still be the same water you used
to drink, but it won’t be the same you.
Marvin: I can sort of see that already. I’ve learned a lot about anatomy
and physiology in the physician assistant program. Now,
when I see a soccer player, I think about how the shin guard
is protecting her tibia, not her shin. If I see someone with yel-
lowish eyeballs, I think about bilirubin levels. And I always
read the health section of the newspaper first.
O-Prof: Right. And a journalism major, who takes courses on beat
reporting and feature writing, thinks about what will make a
good story. A geology major does field work, looks at maps,
learns about geological history, and sees rocks everywhere.
Over time, through much exposure to a field and practice in
it, a person’s identity gradually becomes intertwined with his
or her profession. Not entirely, of course. All of us are many
things. A doctor may have an interest in calligraphy. A busi-
ness manager might study poetry in her spare time. In both
work and leisure activities, you’ll keep on learning and mak-
ing meaning from sources like other people, writing, books,
websites, videos, articles, and your own experience. College
is about learning how to make meaning. Learn how to walk
(find the sources you need); talk (converse with source au-
thors); cook (integrate sources to make new meaning); and
eat (allow sources to change your life). You won’t ever finish
using sources to make meaning—not in your health and en-
Walk, Talk, Cook, Eat: A Guide to Using Sources 209
vironment course, not while you’re in college, not even after
you’ve been working and living for a long time.
Marvin glances at his watch.
Marvin: Speaking of time, I should probably grab some dinner before
the cafeteria closes. Thanks, Professor, for all your help.
O-Prof: Anytime. Good luck with your paper, and with the rest of
your writing life.
1. What writing assignments have you received from your various
professors? How many of them involve working with sources?
What kinds of sources do your professors ask you to use?
2. What difficulties have you encountered in finding good sourc-
es for writing assignments? How have you overcome those dif-
3. How helpful is the “recipe analysis” technique for understand-
ing how to go about your assignments? What other analysis
techniques have you used to understand writing assignments?
4. The metaphors in this dialogue explain some aspects of using
sources, but not others. What other metaphors can you think
of for working with sources? How would those other meta-
phors add to an understanding of writing with sources?
“Bottled Water.” Wikipedia. Web. 12 Sept. 2009.
Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: U of California
P, 1941. Print.
Maupome, G., et al. “Socio-Demographic Features and Fluoride Technolo-
gies Contributing to Higher Fluorosis Scores in Permanent Teeth of Ca-
nadian Children.” Caries Research 37.5 (2003): 327–334. CINAHL. Web.
10 Oct. 2010.
Napier, Gena, and Charles Kodner. “Health Risks and Benefits of Bottled
Water.” Primary Care Clinical Office Practice 35.4 (2008): 789–802. CI-
NAHL. Web. 10 Oct. 2010.
Twain, Mark. Life on the Mississippi. New York: Harper & Row, 1951. Print.
ENG 101—Reflection Essay Rubric
Criteria 0 (F) (F) (D) (C) (B) (A)
Possible Points 40 0 20 26 30 34 40
Reflection No submission. The essay does not
explore or analyze
the writer’s past
future goals; the
relationship to the
course material is
and/or analyzes the
future goals; the
relationship to the
course material is
The essay explores and
analyzes the writer’s
past experiences and
future goals in a general
way. Detail may be
relationship to the
course material may be
The essay explores and
analyzes the writer’s
past experiences and
future goals at an
adequate level of
detail. Experiences and
goals are related to the
The essay thoughtfully and
insightfully explores and
analyzes the writer’s past
experiences and future goals
at an adequate level of detail.
Experiences and goals are
related to the course material.
Possible Points 40 0 20 26 30 34 40
No submission. The writing lacks
Consistent ideas and
themes are not
apparent. There is no
The writing has
minimal structure or
difficult to discern.
The writing has
this may be inconsistent
in places. Some parts
may be out of place or
lack relevance. Some
transitions may be
The writing is
organized and clear. It
maintains an overall
focus on key
flows smoothly most
of the time.
The writing is very well
organized and clear. It is
consistently focused on key
ideas/themes and flows
smoothly from one idea to the
Possible Points 20 0 10 12 15 17 20
Mechanics, Style, and
No submission. The essay exhibits
incorrect spelling and
grammar limit the
reader’s ability to
follow ideas or
thoughts. Sources are
not cited properly.
grammar. Writing is
awkward or difficult
Sources are often
not cited properly.
The essay contains
some spelling and
grammatical errors but
these do not
are usually cited
The essay contains few
The writing is
Sources are cited
properly with only rare
The essay contains no errors
in spelling or grammar. The
writing clearly and effectively
conveys the author’s ideas.
All sources are cited properly.
Column Total 0 50 64 75 85 100
ENG 101—Reflection Essay Rubric
For this discussion, you are going to consider possible research scenarios. The scenarios can be from real life, work, or your academic courses (like the examples provided on pages 204-206 of the Haller article). In your initial post, create a research scenario for your classmates to respond to.
Here are some sample research scenarios to give you some ideas as you work to create an original scenario for your initial post:
1. You are hoping to purchase a new car by the end of the year, and you want to consider a wide variety of factors including budget, safety, reliability, and gas mileage.
2. Your company has asked you to be a part of a committee to help research a new location in the United States for a branch office. Sales take place online, so sales are not a factor. However, your committee must consider the cost of living, quality of living, and cost of office space.
3. In your economics class, you are being asked to write a paper analyzing the factors that led to the financial crisis of 2008. You are required to use at least one scholarly source and at least one popular source.
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