Source Map

Before you can contribute your own argument, you need to really know what arguments have already been made. You need to be able to explain the arguments that people are already making succinctly, clearly, and without adding your own opinion. You need to be able to identify the points of intersection–positions and places where some arguments overlap or come together and work with each other. You need to be able to identify the points of divergence–positions and places where some arguments disagree or push and work against each other.

In short, you need to be able to map the conversation.

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Your job in this assignment is to identify the points and ways in which the articles overlap and support each other and the points and ways in which the articles diverge and disagree with each other. Your final composition will include two parts:

1. a visual “map” of the conversation and

2. a 2-page paper, in which you will describe how you came up with the structure of your map, the points of overlap and the points of disparity.

The Map

The map needs to include the titles of articles and their authors, the ideas around which different authors/articles converge, and an indication of how they approach those ideas. The ideas might be thought of as clusters, and the authors who approach the ideas (clusters) in similar ways might be thought of as a camp within that cluster. Camps will be the points of convergence or divergence within a cluster. The indications of relationship will be found in the way you label different cluster/camps, and those relationships may also be found in the lines that connect different cluster/camps. Remember, even when camps disagree, they are still part of a cluster and are connected through their relationship to ideas; disagreement is still a connection. Likewise, two camps may be part of a cluster because they explain an idea in a different, but not necessarily oppositional, way. Therefore, they are connected in that they each discuss the topic, but they diverge in how they discuss the topic.

Each “cluster/camp” needs to be labeled and connected in some fashion to other camps/clusters.

KEY: You must not fall into the pro/con trap. You’ll find that there are many ideas and that while they are oriented to the same topic, and while they discuss the same topic, they don’t simply disagree with each other. The map needs to show the complicatedness of the conversation. The map cannot simplify the conversation into a “for” cluster/camp and an “against” cluster/camp.

Although the map can look how you want it to, a common way to create it would be as a network. The network allows you to show clusters of authors that have congealed into a camp, while also indicating lines of connection.

The 2-Page Paper

The paper needs to explain:

how you came up with the labels that you are using for the clusters/camps
give a 2 paragraph overview of viewpoints for each cluster/camp, using appropriate paraphrasing, quoting, and citation.

Formatting for the paper: The paper must be:

using a standard 12-point font (no courier),
with standard margins,
include name, class, and instructor at the top of the first page, and have
numbered pages

Getting Started

Mapping a conversation is easier said than done. What if a particular article connects with another article in some ways but diverges in other ways? This will certainly be the case. And it may be the case that a particular article belongs in two “camps.” It is your job to figure out what the “camps” are, and to figure out how to locate different articles/authors in those camps. Here are some things to look for while you are rereading the articles and planning out your map:

Ideas and Terminology: You can also find points of convergence and divergence in the ways ideas are put into relationship with each other.

Do the articles use the same vocabulary?
Do the articles use the same terms to label the same ideas?
Do the articles use the same terms together, or do they include and exclude particular terms and/or ideas?
Do they differ in which ideas they think are the most important?
Do the articles differ in sources that are attributed to the same ideas or do they use the same sources?

Citation: You can often find points of convergence and divergence in the ways an article cites or references other scholarship.

Do the articles reference each other?
Do some articles cite or otherwise reference the same authors and/or articles?
Do some of the texts in the conversation agree with an article or body of research while others disagree with it?

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