Joining the Academic Conversation
At one time or another, we’ve all asked ourselves, “Who am I to engage with—let alone contradict—this bigwig who’s published a book for every year I’ve been alive? What can I possibly contribute to this field?”
Questioning ourselves is simply human; even the subject-matter gods question themselves. In fact, they probably do it more than most: questioning our thoughts and beliefs is essential to critical thinking.
The bottom line, though, is that a good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from, and the "academic conversation" is simply an ongoing conversation in which people from all over the world and across time contribute to knowledge.
They don't necessarily talk to each other in person, although sometimes they do. You don't have to have a special ID or credential to take part. Simply by participating in the conversation—talking in class, writing papers, and possibly even publishing—you become a part of that conversation.
For a full, NPS-specific overview of these ideas, take the next "Debating with Your Sources: They Say/I Say" workshop. Workshops are offered in the first four weeks of each quarter; you can sign up during workshop season through WCOnline. See the whole workshop list here.
For more conversational tips, see the following links.
Joining the Academic Conversation Links
- Video (4:54): “Using Sources,” Hartness Library, Community College of Vermont / Vermont Technical College
- Video (7:30): “Working with Sources,” Caltech Hixon Writing Center
- Book: They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd ed., Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, W. W. Norton
- Book: Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills, 3rd ed., John Swales and Christine B. Feak, University of Michigan Press
- Book: The Little, Brown Handbook, 12th ed., H. Ramsey Fowler, Pearson