Author Archives: Johnny Armstrong

Wordiness In Essay Writing

Wordiness In Essay Writing

We’re going to look at the topic of wordiness which basically means having too many words in your writing using too many words to express a simple or even a complicated idea okay now this is a very common problem in writing especially and it’s not only for non-native English users native speakers do this all the time as well so we’re going to look at a few ways that you can reduce or minimize wordiness in your writing okay this will make your writing better it will make it clearer and it will make it more interesting now for those of you who have seen my video on how to achieve sentence variety in your writing a lot of the rules that we learned there apply here as well okay so let’s start with what are we talking about so wordiness basically means using more words than necessary to express an idea. Learn how to avoid wordiness at Robotdon.

A big common factor in this is redundancy and repetition so redundancy means expressing the same idea again implicitly so you’re not using the exact same words but the one sentence in the next sentence essentially say the same thing sometimes it’ll be in the beginning of the paragraph the next one comes at the end sometimes they’ll be in different paragraphs but this is a very common problem when you’re saying the same thing twice now it can also happen within a sentence where you’re saying something that’s already understood by what you said before okay and repetition is saying the same thing again explicitly basically saying the exact same words or the exact same idea in two different sentences basically you don’t need to do that it’s extra words it doesn’t actually add anything to your essay to your writing now why is this a problem and yes it is a problem okay first of all if your write a lot and you say little it’s not very good right it means well what are what is the purpose of all these words if you’re not actually saying anything with them that’s one problem if you’re going to be if you’re going to have a wordiness if you’re using too many words to express an idea that means that you have fewer words to use to actually support your idea or your argument.

If you’re writing for a test for example for IELTS or TOEFL or any other exam and you have to write about 300 words let’s say for the IELTS if you’re using a lot of words to explain one simple idea then you’re going to get to the 300 very quickly and you maybe haven’t developed your argument enough you put all your words in your essays getting too long you just want to finish it and move on but you haven’t actually said very much you haven’t supported your arguments very well so this is a problem if you’re using too many words and you’re just not saying very much as we mentioned before the essay they’re writing is a little bit bland a little bit boring not very fun for the reader to get into it.

Analytical Tools For Research

Analytical Tools For Research

If we move down in this qualitative study there I give you in one sentence what I did drag collected graduate student papers and then the next sentence all papers were analyzed for descriptive and analytical writing using analytical tools drawn from the research literature so in the actual paper that would constitutes a page or so but of course you can only put a sentence in here and then at the end preliminary findings so because I haven’t actually done the analysis and I don’t really know what the findings are going to be I’m just I’m putting in there tentativeness that’s I might change later on when I give the presentation and then I can say well in the abstract I thought this is what I was going to find but now that i’ve conduct conducted the analysis i know that this is what I’m gonna find okay. Read more about analytics and its tools on Edusson.

Just a quick point about your identities your scholarly identity anytime you write academically you you are portraying this academic identity so what you want to try and do is come across in this very scholarly professional way and one of the ways you do that is by paying attention to to the guidelines also responding to the call not going over the word count making sure that you have followed the instructions and editing for any kind of errors what I wanted to the point I wanted to make here is that people often think that productive writers or long-term academics sit down and produce these fabulous abstracts in one sitting but really that’s not the case everybody works at their abstracts everyone begins with a very bad draft and then fixes it up gets feedback on it perhaps and then you know does more work on it so really there’s a process involved in writing abstracts it’s not something that you think about and then just produce in fact most people begin by writing very bad drafts and then they fix it up and that’s the kind of process I’d encourage you to take is to get anything down start with something.

Get something done and then fix it up and gradually fix it up to a point where you want to share it with someone now that you know what components should go into an abstract you can ask someone specifically to give you feedback on those components ok common phrases and abstracts if you’re struggling for the kind of language that you want to use in the abstract and visit this website where they have some very useful phrases here they’re talking about dissertation abstracts but you can adjust the kind of language use will be dependent on your particular discipline so you can also learn from reading other abstracts in your field so this is just another slide to show you some of the common language taken from that website which you can use and encourage you to use active language we studied fifteen patients versus passive language fifteen patients were studied just because it’s much more readable.

Research Paper And Supplementary Material

Research Paper And Supplementary Material

If you had been noticed and the reader is thinking have you read a paper like that you think why didn’t you do the obvious thing like why are you doing this complicated thing so there is sometimes when you really have to stop and say you know you might think that this pathway would be a good one but actually doesn’t work at all for the following reason or you know that’s elaborated somewhere else again you don’t to get to do world we’re just acknowledging when there is a very obvious Avenue that you’re not taking why you’re not taking it is a good thing or you could say somebody else took it and it’s described very well in this excellent paper that I’ll discuss a bit more but in related work but it turns out that doesn’t work very well in the setting that I’m interested in which is this and on you go does that make sense yeah. Find other tips for working with your material on Edusson.

I think that it’s also kind of I mean there should be like a trade-off between reproducibility of your paper make your idea I mean like some other people things that is possible to reproduce your work yes because for example if there are like I mean sometimes I agree with you on these that you have to show your idea but maybe it’s okay also to put like a paragraph not someone can escape like thank implementation tickets oh I mean they read are kind of sleepy but are you filming but if it’s another student like me I mean the student maybe need details in order to continue working oh yes so so when I say you know you want to present your idea I do mean you want to present it it’s a paper right you want to present it in enough detail that somebody could actually deploy it and use them use it themselves and that means you know you need a bit of detail right that’s what the body of the paper is for.

So it might be you might say here some implementation details you might say look there’s a whole section about implementation you know a little bit later in the paper that gives more detail so I think of it as being somebody might read the papers there might be the introduction they might get to the idea I think that’s an interesting idea but actually I’m not interesting up in the details to plow through this so then they jump to the next paper so you’re almost wherever they get off the bus they’ve taken something valuable away with them yeah but don’t leave out the meat that’s right so I’m not talking about just a high level general idea stuff you want to get to the meat it’s a paper it’s got content yeah just fine you about just getting all of these details that most of the readers won’t be interested in and just sending all of that to the supplementary material.

How to improve your writing

How to improve your writing

Writing can seem like an impossible task when you’re learning English. The good news is that with a bit of practice, you’ll be writing with ease in no time.  Let’s take a look at different ways to improve your writing.

This may sound a bit strange, but read as much as you can.  You’ll be amazed at how many writing tips you can pick up by simply reading. You’ll pick up the writing tone, different styles and new phrases, all of which will help you.

Next, try writing and ask someone to read what you’ve written. I know feedback can be tough sometimes, but finding out if you’re getting your ideas across is an important step in improving your writing.  It can be scary at first, but can be the most rewarding bit of the writing process.  Ask a friend, teacher or classmate for their feedback.  Did they understand your text?  Did they enjoy it?  This can help you understand what worked and what didn’t. Don’t take it personally, and focus on what needs improving.

You don’t always have to write long pieces of text to improve your writing.  With all the social media platforms out there, you could try microblogging or getting involved in forums and chats in areas you’re interested in. If you are organising a book club, you could also write down your thoughts before you go.

Another easy way to practise your writing is to keep a diary.  It can be as simple as writing down what you did during the day.  Or you could treat your diary as a notebook for ideas to develop later on.  With writing, it’s not about the length of each text but it’s about writing as much  as you can in as many different situations as possible.

With a few minutes of consistent practice every day,  you will gain confidence in no time.

Thesis Statement. What is it?

Thesis Statement. What is it?
Thesis Statement. What is it?

What Is It?

§ The thesis statement is the one sentence that contains your topic and opinion about that topic.

§ Your good thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper  and should be supported with specific evidence in your paper.

§ In terms of organization and structure, thesis statements typically appear in the last sentence of the  introductory paragraph.

How do I to develop one?

§ Thesis statements often need to be adjusted as your research and writing progresses.

§ Start with a tentative thesis statement that addresses the focal points of your research report.

Topic + Opinion = Thesis Statement

Examples of Closed Thesis Statements:

Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and the 14th Dalai Lama show that mankind is  more kind than cruel.

The Columbine High School shooting, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Trail of Tears exemplify  why mankind’s ability to do evil outweighs its ability to do good.

Examples of Open Thesis Statements:

Mankind is not perfect, but the moral sense allows man to do more good than evil.

Although a small number of individuals are kind, mankind is cruel, destructive, and violent.

Human beings are inherently good, but oftentimes their kindness and compassion does not emerge  until catastrophic and destructive events occur.

The amount of hate and violence that man inflicts on his own kind proves that mankind is the lowest,
cruelest animal.


§ The introduction is one paragraph in length with the thesis statementó as the last sentence.

§ The introduction should be general information and common knowledge; therefore, no citations are necessary.

unless it is within a direct quotation.)


-quote w/ lead (no quote dropping!)
-statement of fact
-anecdote a.k.a. story
-“Imagine…” statement (no ‘You’!)
– (AVOID QUESTIONS! Especially with research writing.)


– Explain the research topic
– Connect Hook to Thesis


A wise man once said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth  and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.” These are the words of Mahatma Gandhi. Mark Twain refutes Gandhi in his satirical essay “The Lowest Animal.” Twain believes mankind is cruel, inflicts pain for pleasure, and has made a graveyard of the globe. He argues that because man has a moral sense which allows him to know right from wrong, mankind is capable of committing atrocious evils, but
Mark Twain is wrong. A few instances of evil cannot categorize an entire species as such. The 9/11 first responders exemplify how in the face of evil, hundreds of ordinary individuals heroically emerge to assist their fellow man.

List of Research Topics for Argumentative Essay

List of Research Topics for Argumentative Essay
List of Research Topics for Argumentative Essay

Below are lists of possible research topics for evidence or counterarguments depending on which stance you take. These lists are just starting points and should be used for brainstorming and preliminary research.


  • Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • Concentration and internment camps
    o Treaty of New Echota
    o Trail of Tears
    o Japanese-, German-, and Italian-Americans, and Native Alaskans during WWII
    o Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp
  • Crimes against humanity
    o South African apartheid
  • Cruelty towards animals
  • Domestic Terrorism
    o Oklahoma City Bombing
  • Drug Wars
  • Genocides or Ethnic Cleansings
    o Turkish massacre of Armenians in WWI
    o Holocaust (NO!)
    o Pol Pot
    o 1994 Rwandan Genocide
  • Hate groups
    o Ku Klux Klan
    o Aryan Nations
    o Westboro Baptist Church
  • Hate crimes
    o 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
    o Matthew Shepard murder
    o James Byrd Jr. murder
  • Human Trafficking
  • Massacres
    o Nanking Massacre
    o My Lai massacre
    o Kent State massacre
    o Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting
    o 2011 Tucson supermarket shooting
    o Boston Marathon Bombing
  • Psychology experiments
    o The Stanford Prison Experiment
    o Milgram Experiment
  • Salem Witch Trials
  • School shootings
    o Columbine High School
    o Virginia Tech
  • Slavery
  • War crimes
    o Bombing of Dresden in World War II
    o Abu Ghraib prison torture
  • Villains and Dictators
    o Idi Amin
    o Josef Mengele
    o Joseph Stalin
    o Muammar Qaddafi
    o Saddam Hussein
    o Bashar al-Assad


  • Nobel Peace Prize winners and nominees
    o Mother Teresa
    o 14TH Dalai Lama
    o Nelson Mandela
    o Martin Luther King Jr.
    o Mahatma Gandhi
    o Bono of U2
    o Al Gore
  • Philanthropic/altruistic individuals
    o Warren Buffett
    o Bill Gates
    § Eradicating Polio
    o The Giving Pledge campaign
  • Disaster relief aid and efforts
    o 9/11 first responders
    o 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami
    o 2010 Haiti earthquake
    o 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado response
    o Hurricane Sandy
    o 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami
  • Japanese senior citizens tackle nuclear crisis at Fukushima following Tohoku
  • Heroes
    o Cesar Chavez
    o Miep Gies
    o Louis Pasteur
    o Jonas Salk (creates polio vaccine, tests it on himself, never patents it)
    o Frederick Douglass
    o Harriet Tubman
    o Oskar Schindler
  • Human rights/Humanitarian organizations
    o Amnesty International
    o American Red Cross
    o Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)
    o UNICEF
  • Non-profit /volunteer groups
    o Habitat for Humanity
    o Peace Corps
  • Strangers helping strangers
    o Donation of organs to strangers
    § Kidney transplants
    o Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Foundation
    o Pay It Forward Movement
  • Underground Railroad
  • 9/12 Project

An Argumentative Research Paper

An Argumentative Research Paper
An Argumentative Research Paper

Your Task:

In your English class, you are reading and discussing Mark Twain’s satirical essay “The Lowest  Animal.” Your teacher tells you that some people would argue that Twain’s assessment of mankind  is accurate, while others would argue that Twain is generalizing—blaming certain atrocities from  history on all mankind as opposed to the few individuals that were truly responsible.

To explore this issue further, you will be provided two common research sources from your  teacher, and you will be responsible for finding two more sources on your own. Research  thoughtfully. Keep track of source information. You will need it for your works cited page. Read all  the sources carefully, and take notes on the information you find.

Your Assignment:

After completing your research, write an argumentative essay in which you take a stance on  the topic of mankind and whether humanity is innately kind or cruel. Make sure you establish an argumentative claim, address potential counterarguments, and support your claim with evidence from the sources you have gathered. Develop your ideas clearly and use your own words, except when quoting directly from a source. Be sure to reference each source by
author’s last name and page number when using facts or details taken directly from the sources.

– Your research paper must be at least 1000 words not including your Works Cited  page. Your final typed report must utilize MLA (Modern Language Association) format with 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1 inch margins on all sides, and correct headings and headers.

– Your final research must include a minimum of five sources (“The Lowest Animal,” two teacher-provided common sources, and two self-selected sources). You may choose to use more.

– Your final research paper must have a counterargument where you acknowledge an  opposing side of the argument but then deny all or part of its validity.

– Your final research paper must include at least two direct quotations. Remember to  lead into the quote with the author’s name and any appropriate credentials.

– Your final research paper must include two graphics (pictures, charts, etc.) to go  along with and additionally support your research and evidence. Graphics must enhance the information presented. Avoid inappropriate and distracting graphics.

– Plagiarism will result in a failing grade. Cite everything that is not common knowledge using in-text citations and list all sources in alphabetical order on a Works Cited page.

– Uses a formal, objective tone (Write in the third-person. No ‘I’ or ‘you’.)

Introduction to Writing or “Why we revise and edit”

Introduction to Writing or “Why we revise and edit”
Introduction to Writing or “Why we revise and edit”


Let’s face it. Students wait until the last minute to write their essays or research papers then turn in their work full of run-ons, fragments, misspellings, and dangling modifiers. And then there are the weak paragraphs with lack of details and elaboration. The current student mindset is “I answered the question. I don’t need the extra stuff because I just got straight to the point.” To help students understand the research paper writing process, this activity is a metaphor for the research paper writing process illustrating the importance of revising and editing student work.


Students will create a pencil holder or cup out of modeling compound and draw connections between creating the holder and improving their design to the research paper writing process.


 Modeling compound such as Crayola modeling compound or Play Doh (*Note: If teacher would like for students to keep the final product, use an air drying compound as products like Play Doh do not dry thoroughly and will crumble. If teacher plans to reuse the compound, Play Doh works well but ask students not to blend the colors together. Another option is to ask students to bring their own.)

 Toothpicks or other tools that students may add details to sculpture

 Miscellaneous art materials to add to model such as mini pom poms, eyes, “jewels”, flowers, decals, etc
(*Note: Teacher may ask students to bring their own so they can decorate their own theme but have a few miscellaneous items for students who forget.)


Step 1: Begin discussion with the question “Why write a research paper?” Write the question on the chalk or whiteboard (or if you prefer, a large piece of kraft paper or something similar), then send students to the board or paper, 2-3 at a time, to answer the question. After everyone has had a chance to answer the question, review the comments with the group drawing arrows or circles to show connections between answers. (5 minutes)

Step 2: Pose the question “How is sculpting like the research paper writing process?” Lead students to discuss how the terms pre- writing, rough draft, revisions, editing, and final draft might relate to sculpting. (3-5 minutes).

Step 3: Pass out the modeling compound; each student should use one color to begin with. Leave toothpicks and decorating items for later. Instruct students in creating their pencil holders. The following script is provided to direct students, but, of course, teachers may create their own or improvise to suit their needs. Dough refers to the modeling compound as Play Doh is a specific brand of modeling compound and all students may not be using that particular brand.

Sample Thesis Statements

Sample Thesis Statements
Sample Thesis Statements

Thesis statements must: 

  • Be relevant
  • Be specific
  • Include the primary thematic focus
  • Be debatable

 Not all that we perceive is made to be comprehended, and the simple act of accepting that brings us closer to the meaning of life. This is less a tale of two lost souls trying to find their way in a harsh world than it is a jovial, joking message that our perception of dreams versus reality is completely subjective. The insertion of fantastically ridiculous characters is more for comedic effect on Murakami’s part than anything else, and intentionally so (he himself says this bluntly in interviews). It is not a lesson either. There are no morals in this book, but simply a pitch that it is easier to dream than we think it is, awake or asleep.

The major theme rendered by the novel is that one’s duty to oneself as a person outweighs one’s duty to society or to others. This idea, although commonly accepted in men, when adopted by women was met with outrage.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern live in a constant state of confusion, unable to really comprehend anything, while still appearing to have a grasp on reality, though they do not. The bumbling of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern demonstrate that the world is an incomprehensible place. It is confusing and random, and because of this, impossible to understand.

Love, cruelty and tragedy are deeply intertwined throughout the novel, leaving a sense of mystery. Though more often than not these relationships between the characters are evolved first from love, then blossom to heartbreak and finally end in an intense passion of cruelty, desire, and a thirst for revenge.

Through a labyrinthine caricature of New York City in the early twentieth century, the author critically analyzes the struggle for equality through change in racial, social, and gender equality.

The Main Steps of Writing a Case Study

The Main Steps of Writing a Case Study
The Main Steps of Writing a Case Study

Step One: Case Study

Choose one from 3 Types

Period 2 – 4 to 5 pages; 6 sources, minimum

Plus title page and Works Cited page

Periods 4 & 6 – 5 to 6 pages; 7 sources, minimum

Plus title page and Works Cited page

Period 1 – Honors – 7 to 8 pages; 9 sources minimum

Plus title page and Works Cited page


Use your good writing skills  to produce an interesting, original, significant formal case study.

  •  12-Point font, plain style font – not Courier
  • MLA form is mandatory (including one inch margins)
  • Pure double-space; not default spacing
  • Use transitions effectively and consistently
  • Use parenthetical citations (Jones 33) and a Works Cited page

Required Sources

  • One from Questia
  • One from Galileo
  • One from Google Scholar
  • One must be a periodical (Newspaper, magazine, or journal in paper or electronic form)
  • One must be a primary document

*Personal Interviews are an option, but must be cleared with teacher

Step Two:
Multi-Media Presentation

8-10 Minutes
10-15 Min. Honors Students


• Based on research paper, sources and original thought
• Illustrated with
o Relevant pictures
o Graphs that can be read from a distance
o Other useful, attractive graphics

Must include an “extra element” beyond PowerPoint – such as:

• Video
• Audio
• Original surveys / original research
• Display on a side table
• Costume or equipment
• Final product – such as a piece of artwork
• Fund raising element
• Other

First type of case study: Process Analysis

  1. Directive Version:

Teach the audience to do something

Concrete Examples:

How to effectively make a compost pile

How to build a deer stand

How to run a lawn cutting service

How to bake and sell homemade bread for a profit

Abstract Examples:

How to improve your memory

How to write a song

How to prepare for college

Combination Examples

How Twitter works and how to use it

  • Students will actually perform the process themselves.
  • They will document their work with still camera or video camera.
  1. Informative Version:

Explain how something works

Students will break down a complex process into logical steps, taking care to explain how one part relates to another


What happens to cans once they are placed in the recycling bin

How a Hollywood movie is made

How a good coach creates a winning team

How the US forces are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

What process  a recruit goes through to become a solder, sailor, or marine

How TV ratings services work / including your own original research on what people are watching

  • Students will have to rely upon pure research to illustrate these topics
  • Students can augment their case study with original research