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  1. #1
    Senior Member Crono's Avatar
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    Help dealing with my biased professor...

    This is for film class. My thesis: "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films."

    I got a 'B' on it.

    BULLSHT

    When I had it returned to me it said this:
    All very good points, but your thesis is weak.
    My response:
    Thesis is clearly stated, succinct and focused. Check
    Clear sense of order with a thesis sentence in the first paragraph. Supporting points are presented in a logical progression. Check
    Thesis is fully developed. Each point is clearly and fully supported with specific details. Check
    Uses technical terminology appropriately and correctly. No major grammatical or spelling errors. Check

    Please let me know what I am missing from this list, else let me know how I can better support a radical thesis in under two pages.

    I would like to get an 'A' in my next effort.
    Thanks!
    He came back with:
    Your writing is fine. The problem is that your thesis is weak. That is the themes in the two films are actually quite different though some of the plot points are quite similar. Your first paragraph then is weak, and by logical extension the concluding paragraph is weak.
    He didn't give me ANY pointers, he simply stated that he doesn't agree with my conclusion.

    Here's the response I'm thinking of sending. It's definitely more aggressive than my first response, so I don't know if this is something that I should even send. I mean, I did get a B, so is pursuing that A really worth it?

    If the thesis is supported by "good points" shouldn't that strengthen the thesis?

    So I just needed a better thesis?

    Next time I will come up with a thesis that you agree with more.
    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono View Post
    Thoughts?
    no, not really. I think you want the next room over.

  3. #3
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Do you want to flunk the class?
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  4. #4
    Senior Member Crono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Do you want to flunk the class?
    No, but don't you agree that biases should be left aside when analyzing an argument?

    If the argument is good, then it's good. Just because I'm arguing for something he doesn't agree with makes him a dickhole professor.

  5. #5
    . botto's Avatar
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    move. on.

  6. #6
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    well, go ask the *******.


    why do you drink? why do you smoke? why do you live like the songs that you wrote? huh?

  7. #7
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    I know you are going to think i'm just picking on you because of the previous thread, but his remark was seriously what crossed my mind as i read your thesis.

    "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films."

    You're comparing the two movies. Fine

    "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films."

    Frankly, "glaringly" is a bit wordy.

    "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films."

    glar·ing
    –adjective
    1. shining with or reflecting a harshly bright or brilliant light.
    2. very conspicuous or obvious; flagrant: several glaring errors in spelling.

    sim·i·lar
    1. having a likeness or resemblance, esp. in a general way: two similar houses.

    So you're saying that they are clearly alike in a general way? Glaringly and similar just don't go along together. When you say glaringly you are saying that it is without a doubt, when you say similar you are saying that they are...kind of alike.

    So the two movies are without a doubt kind of alike.

    Weak.


    Lastly, unless it was a "compare and contrast" assignment, it is a weak approach to a paper...a sort of cop-out if you ask me.

    I don't know if this is what is on his mind, but i'm more inclined to believe his responses...and i haven't even read your entire paper.

  8. #8
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono View Post
    No, but don't you agree that biases should be left aside when analyzing an argument?

    If the argument is good, then it's good. Just because I'm arguing for something he doesn't agree with makes him a dickhole professor.
    He never actually said anything about the validity of your argument. He told you that your thesis is weak. I'm inclined to agree with him. Since the thesis is the foundation to the paper, if it is weak it is very difficult to have a strong paper. Thus, by nature, a weak thesis is going to lend itself to a weak body and a weak conclusion.

  9. #9
    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ efrobert's Avatar
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    Why are you in school, since you obviously think you know everything.
    Here's a crazy idea. How about actually listening to you teacher and learning something, instead of thinking you right and he's wrong, because chances are he knows more than you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Crono's Avatar
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    Yeah it is a cop out, but it was one of the options he presented to us so I took it.

    It's not even a real paper, he wouldn't accept anything more than two pages. The amount of excess I had to cut out in order to meet that requirement did not make me feel comfortable at all. If I had that extra material, I could have better supported the thesis (believe me)

    Anyway, thanks for the input.

  11. #11
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Bear in mind as well that you can make valid arguments for a Thesis, and still have a weak thesis or an incorrect conclusion.

    There's a story my Grampa used to tell me about a researcher researching Grasshopper behavior.

    He proposed a thesis in his argument that grasshoppers hear with their legs. In the course of proving his thesis, first, he set off a loud noise, nd the grasshopper jumped.

    Second empiric proof: He removed one of the grasshoppers rear legs and set off the loud noise. The grasshopper still jumped.

    Third, he removed the grasshoppers other rear leg. He set off the loud noise and the grasshopper just sat there.

    Hence, a grasshopper hears with his rear legs. There can be a correlation made, but not a true causation. Correlation =/= causation....or a weak or even invalid assumption for the basis of the thesis.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  12. #12
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono View Post
    Yeah it is a cop out, but it was one of the options he presented to us so I took it.

    It's not even a real paper, he wouldn't accept anything more than two pages. The amount of excess I had to cut out in order to meet that requirement did not make me feel comfortable at all. If I had that extra material, I could have better supported the thesis (believe me)

    Anyway, thanks for the input.
    I'm not sure what makes a "real" paper. It certainly isn't an easy paper with that page requirement, but that is very typical in college.

    Long papers are equally difficult, but for the exactly opposite reason. If you can't formulate a compelling argument in 2 pages you aren't going to be able to do it in 30.

  13. #13
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono View Post
    Yeah it is a cop out, but it was one of the options he presented to us so I took it.

    It's not even a real paper, he wouldn't accept anything more than two pages. The amount of excess I had to cut out in order to meet that requirement did not make me feel comfortable at all. If I had that extra material, I could have better supported the thesis (believe me)

    Anyway, thanks for the input.
    quality, not quantity.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Crono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by efrobert View Post
    Why are you in school, since you obviously think you know everything.
    Here's a crazy idea. How about actually listening to you teacher and learning something, instead of thinking you right and he's wrong, because chances are he knows more than you.
    If you look at my first response, you'll see that I was open to more suggestion as to how I can do better. He said there was nothing wrong writing, he just didn't agree with my opinion.

    The idea of the paper is to argue for your opinion. If I succeeded in justifying my opinion (afterall, I had "very good points") then I should get something better than a lame B.

  15. #15
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    quality, not quantity.
    Crap...I actually have to agree with Botto for once.

  16. #16
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono View Post
    If you look at my first response, you'll see that I was open to more suggestion as to how I can do better. He said there was nothing wrong writing, he just didn't agree with my opinion.

    The idea of the paper is to argue for your opinion. If I succeeded in justifying my opinion (afterall, I had "very good points") then I should get something better than a lame B.
    You are missing the point, glaringly.

    He said your "writing was fine" but that your "thesis was weak". A weak thesis doesn't equate to an invalid argument, nor does "fine" writing equate to a compelling argument.

  17. #17
    Face Like A Car Crash Boresville's Avatar
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    If your thesis truly only consisted of "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films," instead of just "weak" he might have also mentioned it was rather vague. As already touched on, that's nothing more than stating the fact that the films are similar; hardly an elightening or interesting statement.

    I had an English professor for a couple of semesters that required all of his assigned papers to be no longer than two pages, though he preferred one. His stance was that, as English majors, when faced with writing a longer paper students are tempted to add a lot of filler; for shorter papers, students would be required to get to the point without a lot of extra BS, resulting in a more concise and effective finished product.

    I would also add that a "B" for a supposedly well written paper lacking a strong thesis is pretty common. Sure, you had "very good points," but the lack of a strong thesis keeps you from having a "perfect" or "A" paper.

  18. #18
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boresville View Post
    If your thesis truly only consisted of "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films," instead of just "weak" he might have also mentioned it was rather vague. As already touched on, that's nothing more than stating the fact that the films are similar; hardly an elightening or interesting statement.

    I had an English professor for a couple of semesters that required all of his assigned papers to be no longer than two pages, though he preferred one. His stance was that, as English majors, when faced with writing a longer paper, students are tempted to add a lot of filler; for shorter papers, students would be required to get to the point without a lot of extra BS, resulting in a more concise and effective finished product.
    It's the result of poor writing practices taught in middle and high school.

  19. #19
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    From the University of Iowa's History Writing Center

    Quote Originally Posted by HWC
    As you work on your essay, your ideas will change and so will your thesis. Here are examples of weak and strong thesis statements.

    * Unspecific thesis: "Eleanor Roosevelt was a strong leader as First Lady."

    This thesis lacks an argument. Why was Eleanor Roosevelt a strong leader?

    * Specific thesis: "Eleanor Roosevelt recreated the role of the First Lady by her active political leadership in the Democratic Party, by lobbying for national legislation, and by fostering women’s leadership in the Democratic Party."

    The second thesis has an argument: Eleanor Roosevelt "recreated" the position of First Lady, and a three-part structure with which to demonstrate just how she remade the job.

    *

    Unspecific thesis: "At the end of the nineteenth century French women lawyers experienced difficulty when they attempted to enter the legal profession."

    No historian could argue with this general statement and uninteresting thesis.

    *

    Specific thesis: "At the end of the nineteenth century French women lawyers experienced misogynist attacks from male lawyers when they attempted to enter the legal profession because male lawyers wanted to keep women out of judgeships."

    This thesis statement asserts that French male lawyers attacked French women lawyers because they feared women as judges, an intriguing and controversial point.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Bear in mind as well that you can make valid arguments for a Thesis, and still have a weak thesis or an incorrect conclusion.

    There's a story my Grampa used to tell me about a researcher researching Grasshopper behavior.

    He proposed a thesis in his argument that grasshoppers hear with their legs. In the course of proving his thesis, first, he set off a loud noise, nd the grasshopper jumped.

    Second empiric proof: He removed one of the grasshoppers rear legs and set off the loud noise. The grasshopper still jumped.

    Third, he removed the grasshoppers other rear leg. He set off the loud noise and the grasshopper just sat there.

    Hence, a grasshopper hears with his rear legs. There can be a correlation made, but not a true causation. Correlation =/= causation....or a weak or even invalid assumption for the basis of the thesis.
    This made me laugh because katydids, closely related to grasshoppers, actually do have hearing organs on their legs (Grasshoppers have their hearing organs on the abdomen, but still...) Makes me wonder about that discovery...

    don't mind me, spent too long in Research Methods...

  21. #21
    Senior Member Crono's Avatar
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    Good analogy Tom, but I don't think it applies here. I'm supporting an opinion, not a fact.

    So is everyone saying that I should tailor my paper to the professor's taste?
    My opinions are invalid no matter the evidence?

    Seriously, what am I missing?

    http://www.fileshare.com/hd4g3
    Last edited by Crono; 04-01-08 at 03:38 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    You know,
    I had heard about kids arguing with Profs about grades and such, but I'd never seen it before.

    Needs work.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  23. #23
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    No amount of verbage will make up for a weak thesis. It would be wonderful if people actually realized this. I like your teacher, and I generally don't think much of teachers. Sounds like your teacher has his head on straight.

    You proceed not to understand by being willing to defend to the death with your teacher the right not to understand his point. Again, your current point is weak as well. Perhaps you need to learn when you don't have a case?

    You did not choose wisely in your thesis, I would suggest not making it worse. And, a teacher can't teach you how to choose a good thesis, except the way he is doing.

    And, by your own admission, you went for the cop-out. You think the teacher doesn't realize it? Since you went for a cop-out, why do you think you deserve an "A"? Generally, going the direction of the cop-out will cause you to pass, but not get an "A".

    It isn't the professor who is biased in my opinion.

  24. #24
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crono View Post
    Good analogy Tom, but I don't think it applies here. I'm supporting an opinion, not a fact.

    So is everyone saying that I should tailor my paper to the professor's taste?
    My opinions are invalid no matter the evidence?

    Seriously, what am I missing?
    I don't know if you're intending to or not but you're coming off as a pissant. I don't think you mean to, which is why i'm going to try again.

    Unspecific thesis: "Eleanor Roosevelt was a strong leader as First Lady."
    Unspecific thesis: "Star Wars and The Hidden Fortress are glaringly similar films."

    Specific thesis: "Eleanor Roosevelt recreated the role of the First Lady by her active political leadership in the Democratic Party, by lobbying for national legislation, and by fostering women’s leadership in the Democratic Party."
    Specific thesis: "________________________"


    ...fill in the blank?

  25. #25
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
    Crap...I actually have to agree with Botto for once.
    The humanity!

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