As a freshman wrapping up her first semester of college, I am almost done taking my first College Composition course. In this course, I was taught the Five Core Values to First-Year Writing. I'm not going to lie, when I first heard of them, I thought they were silly. But, as the semester went on and I started to apply them more to my writing, I realized that they are extremely useful and essential to writing an amazing piece.
Core value 1
Core Value I states that "Writing is a practice that involves a multi-stage, recursive, and social process." This basically states that good writing involves a lot of practice or "drafts". Obviously, when writing, you aren't going to write a perfect paper on the first try. Sometimes it takes one, two, maybe even three or more drafts to get it right. Being a perfectionist, I hate the idea of not having a perfect paper, so I take full advantage of the idea of multiple drafts. Throughout this semester I learned that it is okay to have multiple drafts for one assignment and it is okay if a writing piece isn't perfect the first time. It is more important to know the material that you need to write about, and if it takes a couple of tries to get it absolutely right, that's okay. Practice makes perfect!
Core value 2
Core Value II states "Close and critical reading/analysis is necessary for listening to and questioning texts, arriving at a thoughtful understanding of those texts, and joining the academic and/or public conversations represented by those texts." This is saying that in order to fully understand a text, you need to be able to complete a critical analysis of the said text.
How can you write an efficient essay without fully knowing the material that you have to base your writing off on? That's right, you can't. I'm sure you're thinking, "isn't reading the material and understanding it; isn't that critical analysis?" What I would answer to that is no, it is not. By definition, critical analysis is "an analytical and cynical exploration into matters relating to either academics, art or scientific exploration which is aimed to discern an exact out examination and determinism by inquiring into or assessing facts and available data".
This means, that when you read a text, start to pull out important information; information that can help you write a cohesive essay that proves to your audience that you know what you're talking about.
Core value 3
Core Value III states "Writing is shaped by audience, purpose, genre, and context." This is self-explanatory. Have you ever read an article and it has seemed a little biased to you? That is a result of this core value. You, as an author, direct how your writing is going to be perceived by people.
For example, if you are writing an article about something tragic, you don't want to use upbeat language or an uplifting tone. A good way to express the right meaning behind your article is use logos, ethos, and pathos.
Logos, ethos, and pathos are different rhetorical devices that help tremendously in writing. Using that example I just stated; if you are writing about a tragic event, maybe a shooting. If you are writing an article about a shooting, by using logos like data and facts, ethos like quotes from interviews, and pathos like your own opinion on the topic; you will be able to get your message across about the tragic event without getting your words flipped.
Core value 4
Information literacy is probably one of the most important aspects of writing a paper. Core Value IV states "Information literacy is essential to the practice of writing." If you don't know what information literacy is when you write a paper and you have to find primary or secondary sources to support your argument.
When writing a paper, you can't base the entire thing on your own thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. You have to use facts and data and information from other sources that have covered the topic you're writing about. However, those sources have to also be reliable and credible. Websites like Wikipedia aren't reliable as anyone can on the website and change information and make it look real.
A good tip is to try using websites that end in ".edu" and ".gov"
Core value 5
Lastly, Core Value V states "Writing has power and comes with ethical responsibilities". Now, this is saying that writing, no matter what it says, is very impactful. If you are writing an article informing an audience on a certain topic, you are held accountable for supplying that audience with accurate information that you have researched and come up with. However, your writing has to be in your own words. Plagiarism, the use of someone else's words as your own without assigning credit, is a huge no-no in the writing community and you could get deeply penalized. That being said, APA, MLA, and Chicago formatting and citation can help you avoid plagiarism and help you give the correct author the credit that they deserve.
All colleges and high schools prefer their students to use a specific format, so make sure you are aware of which they prefer, look up how to apply them in your writing, and use it.
I really hope this helped and that you use these core values next time you have to write something for school or even just for fun!