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Help for Ocean Floor Argument

Page history last edited by David Hodges 13 years, 11 months ago


Why We Should Explore the Ocean Floor

Apparently I have made the homework essay assignment too difficult. At least, I haven't explained it well enough. Once I show you an example of the technique of citing another author's argument to support your own, I think you'll be able to do the job perfectly well.


The Assignment

Read the Sample Essays about a Manned Mission to Mars

        •  Why We Should (pp. 151-153)
        •  Why We Shouldn’t (pp. 154-156)

Write your own essay titled: “Why We Should Explore the Ocean Floor.”
     In your essay, use at least four citations from the sample essays about Mars exploration

        •  Use at least two direct quotations
        •  Use at least two indirect quotations

If you prefer, write about: “Why We Should NOT Explore the Ocean Floor.”


The opening paragraph of
"Why We Should Send a Manned Mission to Mars"

     Mars has fascinated Earth-bound humans since prehistoric times, due to its captivating red hue and proximity and similarity to Earth. The romance of space travel and the exploration of new worlds is a major argument in favor of a manned mission to Mars. Supporters claim that exploring and colonizing the moon and Mars will give us a better understanding of our own home planet, Earth. Other supporters are motivated by feelings of national pride, saying the prestige of the United States is at stake. Still others believe that the research required by such a complex mission will help the United States retain its position as a leader in science and technology.


     Baby and Kankamol have read this paragraph and rightly commented that it supports a mission to Mars but does not mention the ocean floor at all. How, they asked me, can we use the arguments of Melissa Joulwan, the author of "You Decide: Manned Mission to Mars," to support the exploration of the ocean? In fact, it is a common academic technique to do exactly that. Let me show you!


Sample Opening Paragraph of
"Why We Should Explore the Ocean Floor"

     Melissa Joulwan has written a convincing essay supporting a mission to Mars. Exploring Mars "will give us a better understanding of our own home planet, Earth," she says. And probably she is correct. We can learn much about how Earth was formed by investigating other planets in our solar system. Why should we go all the way to Mars, though, to learn about the Earth, when we haven't even explored the Earth yet? We know almost nothing about what lies beneath the ocean. Surely there are animals and plants there that could benefit humans. In fact, there are probably entire ecologies under the ocean that would help us understand life above water. Joulwan argues that a complex mission "will help the United States retain its position as a leader in science and technology." I agree. But that mission doesn't have to involve space ships and million mile journeys. We only have to go one mile deep in the ocean to find an unexplored world.


Does that help?

     In just one paragraph, I've already used two direct quotations and a good citation technique to identify the author of the original essay. What's more, I only needed to read one paragraph of one of the assigned readings to find all my material! A couple well-organized paragraphs of this type will more than satisfy your homework assignment.

     Every argument Joulwan makes in support of a Mars mission (romance, new worlds, scientific progress, national pride and prestige, lessons about life on our planet, among others) can be used to support a mission to the bottom of the ocean as well.

     What's more, the Ocean Floor mission avoids many of the problems argued in "Why We Shouldn't Go to Mars" (the cost, the dangers to life, the lack of sufficient technology). Ocean exploration wouldn't be cheap, but compared to Mars exploration, it would be a lot cheaper, closer and less dangerous. And by definition, it would tell us more about the Earth than 10 missions to Mars ever could!




Comments (2)

Baby Tanuwidjaja said

at 8:11 am on Jul 11, 2010

Thanks Prof. I have started (but no finished yet) my essay and quoted 2 direct citation which were neutral and fit to my essay yesterday. Reading your sample of essay made me understand the process of this essay, I will try to develop my essay as your sample. Thanks again. I will try my best.

David Hodges said

at 10:21 am on Jul 11, 2010

Thank you, Baby! I'm so glad the sample helped. Obviously, I didn't make the original assignment clear enough. I apologize to anyone who has been tearing out hair in frustration and confusion. We'll spend Monday's class reviewing this very important academic writing technique (which will help you prepare for your Final Exam essay!). Do the best you can to hand in Monday. We'll consider it a learning experience.

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