After completing the third and final project for Writing 205, I have learned a few things about myself and what works for me while researching. This project is the first time that I needed to utilize the databases JSTOR and ProQuest found on the Syracuse Library’s website. In class we learned the basics of how to operate the databases which was beneficial and allowed the actual researching to be more time efficient. I also sought out interviews of the artist Andres Serrano to try and better understand who the artist is and what he is like as a person. I believe this is the best way to begin to understand a person’s perspective and it made the study of his work much more interesting to research. It was difficult at first to interpret the scholarly articles about the works because I have never seen art be analyzed in a scholarly format. It took more time to interpret the language within the article than it did to pull the information I wanted to utilize out of the piece.
What did not work for me was Google. I discovered, for researching purposes, that google is not a good way to research for scholarly articles. Google takes previous searches made by a user and creates a bias search result to try and guess what websites best fit the person. This in general is a good practice and is beneficial. But for the purposes of research, it creates difficulties. This is why JSTOR and ProQuest are beneficial in the researching process. Instead of using Google, I used Google Scholar. This search engine looks only for scholarly/peer reviewed articles but uses the same engine as Google.
Looking at all three units and comparing the way research was done, it is clear that audience and genre will have an influence in what sources one uses while creating a project. Our first project, the blog post, I used primarily news articles that described the pieces history and my own analysis of the piece. This was sufficient to complete the project and sufficient to inform the audience. For project two, the sources used were minimal. Instead, it was focused on my own analysis, as I was a kind of guinea pig for others to learn from. My mistakes, and understandings were to be used to benefit another person to have a better time when they went to the SU Art Galleries. In addition to the sources, language stylistically is different across the projects. I needed to have a more academic, monotone voice during my presentation of project three as to not reveal personal bias or opinion. This aspect of the project was, in my opinion, the most difficult of all concepts to accomplish. Art is a very opinionated topic so it is hard to present an artwork without demonstrating my own thoughts or feelings towards it. My Outsider’s Guide was the most conversational piece because my audience was college students like myself so I was speaking to peers.
Ultimately, I have learned that the ethical responsibilities of a writer shift with the topic being covered, the audience, and the genre. As a writer I have learned to adapt to these three components, and learned that there is not one be-all style that can cover all facets. It is important for a writer to be able to shift their writing to have a higher appeal but also not compromise their own integrity in the process. I believe these lessons are important for all students as we continue to write more and more and about more specific topics in greater detail. I know for myself, I will now think about my audience and my tone before beginning to write any piece.
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