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Briana Jordan

English 1010
12/16/2015
Lopata

Self-Assessment

I chose my topic, that of the questionable nutritious quality of the meals served to
children in public American schools, because it is one near and dear to my heart. As a
whole, unprocessed food advocate, dedicated vegan and passionate nutrition student,
the idea of governmental subsidization of the feeding of our children processed and
harmful foods on a daily basis is abhorrent to me. Coupled with the fact that its a fairly
narrow topic on which there exists a good amount of both opinion pieces and scientific
research, I felt it would be fairly fertile ground for the kind of short persuasive paper we
were asked to produce.
My research process was fairly straightforward. Beginning with search terms in
the broad strokes, I plumbed a combination of academic archives primarily JSTOR
and external, unverified sources for research, statistics and opinion pieces. I skimmed
promising sources, read the better ones through, and began to assemble my paper
utilizing these sources as support for my arguments.
My writing process began, as it usually does, with a thesis statement and rough
outline of the argument I intended to make. I fleshed out persuasive paragraphs,
inserted supporting excerpts from my sources, and manipulated the construction of the

piece towards a more flowing and cohesive whole. I then did one run of revision,
sweeping the paper for any grammatical errors, logical fallacies, unsupported facts or
construction missteps, then once more for language, formatting and flow.
I feel the strength of my paper rides on the back of two factors. The first is the
quality of some of the research and studies I use to build my argument, which are
strongly persuasive pieces in their own right. The second is my voice, which is clear,
pleasant and practiced. The shortcomings of the paper revolve primarily around lack of
classroom feedback, this semester having been an experiment in online instruction for
me, and the fact that my topic, while focused, wound up being slightly narrower than I
had originally anticipated. American food culture is a complex topic with thousands of
practical applications, all of which interest me greatly, and keeping the scope of my
research adequately narrow was more challenging than I expected it to be.
In absolute truth, I dont feel this assignment did much to expand my logical
thought processes or my scholarly writing abilities. I am not an inexperienced student,
and coming into an intro class for the sake of fulfilling the credit near the end of my
program perhaps did me a disservice. The process I employed on this paper was the
same I have utilized on longer pieces for more focused classwork, albeit somewhat
truncated for the scope of the assignment. Still, it was a good refresher, and I am
certainly glad to have a small stack of research on the damage done by the average
school lunch to the American school child.