06 Class MON FEB 11

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A Good Hypothesis

  • Essay writing is like the scientific process, designed to test hypotheses with experiments, not prove preconceptions.
  • Research is “the targeted search for evidence to test a hypothesis.”
  • “Analyze Data and Draw Conclusions” (not “Prove Hypothesis”) is the payoff step.
  • “Communicate Results” not “Defend your Original Thinking” is the final mandate and guideline for the Research Position Paper.

Scientific Method

Hypothesis Illustrated:
Self-Directed Lecture (with Task)

  • Because our class was cancelled by snowiness, you’ll have to imagine how I planned to guide you through this material.
  • USAID tested the theory that direct aid to the poor would improve childhood nutrition more than trying to engineer nutrition programs for them, on the theory that the poor know what to do; they simply lack the resources.
    • Link to the “Give Directly” article
      • Contains a Brief “Discussion Exercise”

Writing Workshop (with Task)

  • Cows and Chips
    • This post contains lecture material, demonstrations of the “Cows and Chips” technique in action, examples of advice I have given other student authors for enlivening their posts with livestock, and the details of a simple exercise.
  • Barter Explained, Poorly
    • This post is a graphic demonstration of an essay that fails in every way to capitalize on the power of illustration, anecdote, and the persuasive appeal of visual, auditory, and other sensory details.
    • Includes an Exercise to be completed during or shortly after class.

26 Responses to 06 Class MON FEB 11

  1. davidbdale says:


  2. g903254 says:

    @davidbdale I left my reply’s under the writing workshops due to there not being a comment section at that time. Would you like me to repost my comments underneath this agenda?

  3. doorknob9 says:

    Make sure to use all of the blog mechanics when posting. A good hypothesis starts as a question and should end up as a researched topic. Make sure when giving examples that they are specific and don’t lack information.

    • davidbdale says:

      One thing about Blog Mechanics I’d like to share with you, Doorknob. You’ve posted two versions of “My Hypothesis,” which violates the principle of revising existing posts. I haven’t made this clear enough, obviously, and planned to do so in class today. WordPress saves all your old versions, so there’s no need to re-post a revision. In fact, it’s very clumsy to do so. When you decide to continue work on your My Hypothesis post this week, please just open the existing document, make your revisions, and click “Update.”

  4. nina525 says:

    Writing an essay is designed to test your hypothesis using reasoning and evidence
    When conducting a hypothesis, ask a question and do background research on what you would like to know
    Check to see if your hypothesis has already been proven in the passed
    Research target evidence to support your hypothesis
    Keep into consideration the others views and perspectives of the topic
    Counter cons that are in the way, or explain a general solution to them
    Results of research and experiment must align with the hypothesis
    USAID tested theory that giving money directly to the poor will improve child nutrition rather than sending children to child nutrition and resource programs
    The theory stated is that Daniel Handel, shows that the poor know what to do what money, they just lack the resources and money should be given directly to them to support themselves and their children
    The engineer nutrition support programs were tested
    Children who were targeted by hygiene and nutrition programs had not better diet than the average person and was not less likely to be malnourished
    The instant cash of five hundred dollars did show a significant difference.
    Bartering is a form of trading items in exchange for goods and services
    Bartering is simply the value of what is being traded
    There is no use of money in this form of transaction

    • davidbdale says:

      Good stuff, Nina.
      I’ll be grading your Replies to the Tasks also, where I see you’ve already made a good start. There I’ll be inviting you into a give-and-take if you’re willing.

  5. wazoo1234 says:

    Think about barter mechanics. be detailed and let the readers draw their own conclusions. Will always remember the money essay because of the imagery like the stone is big as a car. An essay is like the scientific method. You are not proving your hypothesis but are testing it and in the end letting the reader make the conclusion not telling them how your hypothesis was right. Try to show the reader not tell.

    • davidbdale says:

      I don’t know what you mean by “barter mechanics,” Wazoo, but I’m intrigued. I was planning to review the mechanics of posting, commenting, and finding things on the blog.

      You and I disagree about the hypothesis. I agree RESEARCHING is like the scientific method, but your essay will make a proof. By no means will you be trying to “let the reader draw her own conclusions.” By the time you’re ready to publish, you may have tested several evolving hypotheses, but in the end you’ll present the THESIS that the evidence supports. It may be VERY DIFFERENT from your original hypothesis, which you’re under no obligation to share with readers. Instead, you’ll show how what you’ve learned proves your final THESIS.

      Does that make sense?

  6. jets1313 says:

    Constructing a Good Hypothesis:
    – Essay writing is like the scientific process, designed to test hypotheses with experiments, not prove preconceptions.
    – Ensure you ask questions and do research about your topic
    – research should be on things that prove your hypothesis
    – It is important to make sure that your hypothesis has not been proven because than it is no longer a hypothesis
    – analyze your research and draw conclusions
    – Remember to write as you read to ensure that you are actually furthering your work

    Give Directly Article:
    USAID conducted an experiment to determine which option would lead to better nutrition among children in Rwanda. It was to teach children about the importance on nutrition or directly giving them money, the same amount that it would cost to educate them. The experiment met none of its main objectives, Rwandans did not improve their nutrition or health.

    • davidbdale says:

      – research should be on things that prove your hypothesis,

      Well, sort of. Research should be on material that could contribute either way, to the “verification” of the hypothesis, or to casting doubt on its legitimacy. Either way, you win. You might find that a strong THESIS arises from your study that the evidence will prove. OR, just as valuable, you might be able to prove that a popular hypothesis is disputed by facts. It’s just as worthwhile to rid the world of a misconception as it is to provide new concepts.

      What you say about Rwandan health is true enough Jets. But I was asking a different question. I’ll check to see if you answered it on the “Give Direct” post.

  7. hazelnutlatte123 says:

    – When constructing a hypothesis, you have to think of it as scientific research
    – Uses same basic processes of scientific method
    – always ask questions throughout research
    – don’t look for research to prove hypothesis
    – look for research to support claims, but look for both sides
    – find the TRUTH
    -The USAID experiment’s results went against the hypothesis, but they were still recorded
    -evidence showed health programs did not help in poor areas
    -Although, it did not fail overall because it showed the truth about what works in these poor areas, even if it was opposite of what we think works

    • davidbdale says:

      I think you’ve taken the right lesson from the Direct Benefit story, Hazelnut. Hypotheses never fail. Testing them yields useful knowledge whether they are PROVED to be true, PROVED to be false, or SHOWN to be inconclusive. Even the inconclusive results are results that often help future researchers write and test better hypotheses. Base hits are as valuable as runs scored (It’s just that some researchers start out on third base).

  8. pomegranate4800 says:

    – Essay writing is a scientific process.
    – We must prove our hypothesis with experiences, not preconceptions.
    – Research is a specific search to find the evidence for the hypothesis.
    – USAID tested that giving money directly to children would improve their nutrition.
    – The study shows that the poor children know what to do with the money. It also proves that with the lack of aid they are unable to get the proper nutrition they need.
    – The children that were targeted for hygiene were not well off of the people who had the money and could get the proper hygiene, there was not must space between the two groups regarding undernourishment.
    – The bartering method of trade is when you exchange goods or services to another person
    – You do not need money to do these trades. Instead you can trade your own goods or services. – This is good because each party is receiving something they both want or need.

    • davidbdale says:

      I was following and enjoying your Notes, Pomegranate, until I encountered this entry that I still can’t understand.

      – The children that were targeted for hygiene were not well off of the people who had the money and could get the proper hygiene, there was not must space between the two groups regarding undernourishment.

      While I agree that “each party receiving something they both want” is a good outcome of barter, it’s no less true of money transactions. When you buy my bicycle for $100, you ride away happy, and I happily pocket the $100.

  9. nyaj32 says:

    Essay writing is a scientific process.
    When looking at sources you should analyze the date and draw conclusions rather that trying to prove your hypothesis. You can adjust your hypothesis as you go based on the conclusions you have drawn.
    The Cows and chips exercise is designed to make us overall better writers by thinking about the ore writing stage in a different form than we are used to.

    • davidbdale says:

      nyaj, your explanation of Cows and Chips violates the principle of Cows and Chips. For your Notes to be helpful, they need to quickly illustrate (SHOW) the principle in practice, not explain (TALK ABOUT) the technique.
      For example:

      The Cows and Chips exercise is designed to make us overall better writers by reminding us that the best way to explain the abstract concept of barter is to illustrate the concept with tangible, vivid physical objects, like suggesting that barter only works if the guy with the fat cow who needs a boat can find a boat owner who eats meat.

  10. july02222 says:

    Discussion Questions
    1.) The authors of the study failed, while learning a lesson. They learned that giving the money directly to the people, with no help. did not do anything for their health. They proved their hypothesis wrong which also gave them valid information.
    2.) Giving out just cash grants was supposed to be beneficial and there studies show they were wring. The people need to be educated and guided instead of just being handed cash, and not knowing what they need to better their health.
    3.) Personally I think they succeeded because he wouldn’t of known that he was wrong if he didn’t try it. Instead of giving everyone money and hoping for the best, he tried it. He now knows that they need a treatment program and not just cash.
    4.) Yes, the authors can conclude that poor people do not know what to do with money. The evidence is in the chateau of the patients health after given cash. A large amount of the people in the test stayed the same health wise, while using all the money they were given.

    • davidbdale says:

      I don’t disagree, July, but sometimes learning the lesson takes more than one experiment. This concept can be tweaked a few ways before anybody draws final conclusions.
      —If I can’t hit a baseball because of the glare of the bright sun, I might decide to test whether eliminating the glare makes me a better batter.
      —So I close my eyes at the plate and try to hit the ball that way.
      —When I fail even worse with my eyes closed, I could either conclude that getting rid of the glare doesn’t work, or . . . I could tweak my experiment a little.
      —Sunglasses might help.
      —Or wearing my cap with the brim to the front this time.

      So, yes, the test demonstrated that SPENDING $114 ON DIRECT AID was no better than SPENDING $114 ON TRAINING.

      But that doesn’t mean I can’t improve nutrition by spending $114 on direct aid and $114 on training. That combination might give better results than spending $228 on direct aid.

      If the goal of the program is to cheap out and get no results, any use of $114 will work. But if real results are the goal, and if $500 in direct aid gets SOME results, then maybe a combination that uses less than $500 on aid AND training would be even better.

  11. daphneblake25 says:

    daphneblake notes;

    -Writing an essay is scientific in the sense that you do research and the goal isn’t to prove something you already know to be true
    -abstract writing can make your readers fall asleep
    -Try to be as detailed as possible with your arguments
    -try to intertwine abstract thinking with dramatic and intangible illustrations to help readers draw their own conclusions
    -what sticks with the reader is the details not the concept
    -to evoke more feeling in the reader for our stone money paper, try to make them see and visualize the texture and color instead of just saying what it is

    • davidbdale says:

      Thank you for noting that the result of abstract writing is sleepy readers, Daphne.

      You mean “dramatic and TANGIBLE” illustrations.
      I look forward to your dramatic and viscerally appealing Stone Money essay.

  12. rowanstudent2 says:

    A Good Hypothesis
    -Essay writing involves science in a way that it includes hypotheses that we have to test to see if it fits and can be proven in an essay
    -Research is “the targeted search for evidence to test a hypothesis.”
    -You don’t exactly “prove” your hypothesis, but analyze data and make conclusions from it
    -The final step is to communicate your findings and results

    Self-Directed Lecture
    -The “Give Directly” Hypothesis
    -About the U.S. government’s main agency for foreign assistance (USAID) just giving poor countries money instead of aiding them with job training and livestock
    -They have the say in what to do with the money
    -An experiment was proposed to take one of USAID’s programs and test it against cash aid and compare it to another program in Rwanda that would improve child and maternal health by teaching them about nutrition and hygiene
    -It was found that teaching Rwanda about nutrition did not help

    Writing Workshop
    -Cows and Chips
    -a way to give examples of other angles of an essay and to make it overall better
    -more evidence to provide
    -Barter Explained, Poorly
    -Abstract Explanation vs Illustrated Explanation
    -The Barter System is a method of exchanging items in return for other items
    -Terms are vague in abstracts
    -Creates a visual representation of an abstract concept and engages the senses of readers

  13. davidbdale says:

    Regarding the “Give Directly” program, RS, it’s important to clarify that money was given NOT to the recipient countries but to the individual Rwandans themselves, direct to the recipients via cell phone transfers of cash. ALL the middlemen were eliminated. But probably the amount of money given was not sufficient to show good results. Without the education part of the program, recipients didn’t think better food for the kids was the best way to spend the money.

    I think if I read your Cows and Chips notes without knowing what they mean, I wouldn’t understand that the point is to use vivid physical examples in essays to enliven abstract concepts.

  14. biggarz7 says:

    One can compare writing like the scientific method
    Used to test hypotheses not prove preconceptions
    Research is what we use to test the hypothesis
    Analyzing the data is the “payoff step”
    Communicating the results is the final step
    The process of writing is a 6 to 7 step process where it could be recurring until you can communicate the results to the best of your ability

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