Analyzing Cullington’s Argument

As an undergraduate student, Michaela Cullington wrote a paper that discussed the controversy behind whether or not texting is inhibiting students’ abilities to write in the classroom setting. Cullington firmly believes that texting has no effect on writing and took it upon herself to conduct the necessary research to support this. Her argument was well organized and flowed nicely. Every section of the paper had a purpose that was executed successfully due to citations of multiple sources containing facts, relevant opinions and statistics.

Introduction:

The introduction to the paper began with a hook that described writing but did not mention the word writing until a few sentences later.  I liked the inclusion of a hook because it makes the reader continue to read your paper, something especially important for an argumentative paper where you want your opinion to be heard. Cullington also defined what texting is in this paragraph. I think this was superfluous information but was a clever way to transition to why texting impacts a student’s writing. Cullington ends the section with a thesis statement that gave an overview of the argument of the paper and her neutral position on it.

Concerns About Textspeak:

This section discussed the side of the debate that believes texting has a negative impact on a student’s writing abilities.  Cullington addressed an article that strongly has this stance in the debate and summarized it with the inclusion of four quotes.  Here, Cullington introduced the origin of the debate’s prominence as being when teachers noticed a decline in writing abilities in their students at the same time the cellular phone was gaining popularity. Cullington repeated two sources, plus an additional teacher, to generate a collective list of the main points of this side of the argument: a phone causes neglect of punctuation, abbreviated language and lack of emotion.  I liked the recap of the argument because it helped to keep all the ideas in line and emphasize the purpose of the section.  I also liked her writing style here in regards to how she used articles and quotes, generally, to support the argument and then got more personal at the end with her own findings and conclusions.

Responses to Concerns About Textspeak:

The purpose of this section was to highlight the side of the argument that thinks texting is actually beneficial for students.  Cullington did this the same way as she did to the other side.  She requoted sources and added additional sources that supported this.  She quoted them and then talked about each one afterwards, which was good for stressing the significance of each one.  Cullington then created another list of the main points of this side of the argument: provides motivation to write, practice writing skills, gain confidence as a writer and express ideas in a new way.  I like how she set up both sides of the argument in the same format because it facilitated comparing and contrasting them.

Methods:

The methods section talked about Cullington’s own research.  She went through her whole process and her reasoning for why she surveyed who she did. This was a nice format for mentioning her research because it allowed me to understand her thought process and end goals of her research.  It also provided me with several details on her test group instead of just giving a number.

Discussion of Findings:

Cullington wrapped up her argument with a summary sentence that stated that texting has a minimal effect on student writing. The way she added a topic sentence generalizing her findings before going through each result one-by-one was a nice element, because someone can quickly know the results of her research without having to read the whole paper. She went in depth about her findings and used Dennis Baron’s study to compare to her own. I like how she used another source to validate what she discovered. Cullington ends the paper by mentioning her own writing and texting habits. I liked getting to know what she’s like as a writer and texter because it helped me understand her point of view more. The last sentence of this section is a final summary of the debate, according to Cullington, and served as a nice conclusion.

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