Explaining a Concept (15% of course grade): Students will explain a concept in a 3-5 page essay. Due at 11:59pm, Friday, September 13.
What is concept exploration?
“A concept is a category, a way of grouping objects, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior that we consider related. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and golf carts are all grouped as “vehicles.” Concept exploration examines concepts in an effort to understand what they mean and how they are used, often with some practical questions in mind. Concepts can be concrete or abstract. Concepts are often value-laden, implying positive or negative judgements. Concepts vary across cultures. Concepts vary across time.” (p. 143)
How do writers explore a concept? (pp.144-145)
• What are the dictionary definitions of a concept?
• What are the root meanings of the word?
• In what contexts do people use the concept?
• Is conflict or disagreement at hand when the concept is used?
• What is the practical impact of the concept?
• What company does the concept keep, and what distinctions are there among related ideas?
• What have other writers said about the concept?
• What confusions or uncertainties surround the use of a concept?
After you select a concept, you will need to explain it (describe it in more detail). This is your primary purpose. To explain it, you need to include facts and ideas. Help the reader understand the concept through your eyes. To do this, you will need to explore it (learn about it). You may choose any concept, but I need to approve your choice.
Think about the rhetorical situation: a writer with something to say, a reader the writer wishes to reach, and a kind of text appropriate to the writing task.
• Introduce the concept you intend to explain. • Indicate why the concept needs to be explained. • Cite the views of experts on the concept and comment on what they say • Cite dictionary meanings or root meanings, examples of how the concept is used and comment on them. • Cite your own experiences or observations that contribute to your thinking about the concept. • Propose a core or basic meaning for the concept. • Offer your view of what the concept means, including, when relevant, your evaluation of how the concept is used or misused.