If you’re not up to date on my class work (likely because you’re not my teacher), check out my last installment in my “Assignment Doubles as Blog Content” series, called Sources, Citing, and Plagiarism. If you are up to date, you know that I’ve been asked to do a series of blog posts to reflect on the things I’ve learned in my Introduction to Professional Communications class. This is segment number two; The Error Log.
In today’s assignment, I’ve been asked to review my first submitted assignment, a CRAAP test (more on this in a moment) and create an error log for it to look for trends in the errors I made. I’m writing this part of the blog BEFORE I’ve done my error log because there’s a prediction I want to make. My error trends are in spelling.
Okay, CRAAP test; it’s basically an annotated bibliography with personal flair. CRAPP stands for:
Currency; how timely is the source? If it’s an article written about a farmer’s income in 1987, it’s likely not super relevant to us in 2021
Relevancy; how well does the subject matter fit into that which the source is being used as a citation for? If you’re using a article about maritime law when you’re doing research on how to milk a cow, you may be a little off base for the relevancy.
Authority; does the author have authority in this area? If it’s a botanist writing about the mating habits of geese, you may question their authority.
Accuracy; how can you measure the accuracy? Is there research to back it up or maybe lived experience? If the author is making speculations about how the vascular tissue works in a tree and there’s no citing to back them up, you may want to seek another source, unless they have done personal research and this is a scientific journal article.
Purpose; is the author trying to inform or teach? Are they selling something? Are they trying to convince you of something? What is their agenda and how does that contribute to the accuracy and authority of the author? If someone is trying to sell you a fancy new seed, the info they share about the plant you’re looking at it probably going to be a little biased.
The original assignment on which I am doing my error log required me to choose a source that I might use for my assignment at the end of the term and perform a CRAAP test for it. I choose a blog post from treehugger.com entitled “How to Keep Farm Records” by Lauren Arcuri. I won’t hop into more detail than that for now, because for this assignment (the blog post I am writing here in front of you) I have done an error log ON that first assignment and now I am writing about my experience doing the error log.
Error logA document in which you list the mistakes, or errors, made in a seperate document and search for trends in those errors in order to be aware of the dumb things you do and course correct your errors in the future.
Full disclosure, I got a beautiful 95% on my CRAAP test assignment, and because my ego is so damn inflated, I can tell you it’s because I don’t make mistakes, I make art. And spelling errors.
My teacher, being the kind soul she is, used the comment feature on Word to show me where the errors were on my original assignment and indicate what was wrong about the errors (and yes, this is a little bit of brown-nosing because she is 100% reading this assignment, but also because legitimately, I love it when people correct my work in a way which is easy to understand and make changes to the work, should I have to). I will be using this feedback as a foundation for my error log, but also I will be attempting to find errors on my own.
In completing my error log, I did most of it in my notebook so that I could have one screen of my computer dedicated to the original assignment and the other dedicated to the error log example. Because I’m a tad bit lazy when it comes to my writing (in that it can sometimes be difficult to read my handwriting) I chose to only write out what type of error was made and the corrected sentence, which I followed with notes about the correction.
None of my feedback really surprised me. In one instance I used the spelling “choose” for the word “chose” and the feedback I was given was that this was a tense error; however, I didn’t know that “chose” was spelt this way until I looked it up following receiving the feedback for my assignment. I honestly thought that it was one of those English things like how “read” and “read” are spelt the same. So I learned that chose is it’s very own word and that I had been doing it wrong for centuries.
I was also a little surprised that the formal nature that I had written my introduction in was not a requirement. I thought, going into this course, that I would be focused more on academic writing and thus, that is how I wrote it. With the feedback saying it could’ve been better in the first person, I was surprised. I took great joy in rewriting my introductory paragraph in a more “me” style (pun definitely intended).
I did take a crack at finding any errors or issues not indicated in my instructor’s notes, and aside from the repeat errors, I feel I did fairly well on the overall piece of writing and could not find additional mistakes. But again, I refer to my massive ego; it would probably like for this to be true and that I am simply just creating errorless art.
In regards to my prediction, the trend was indeed misspellings, though it had an undertone of “I had no idea” (such as with the chose example above). I wasn’t very careful when I went through and edited the assignment prior to submission, which is evident when I use the term “sited” in lieu of the correct “cited” (insert eyeroll emoji, because I have no idea how to do that on a blog).
I had neglected to add a date on one of my citations because the piece to which I was referring was not dated. Apparently these citations should include an indication that there is no date, for example: (last name, n.d.).
For the most part, the trends followed patterns that I was fully aware of, and most of these problems are systemic ones. I grew up with an awful speech impediment, it was so bad that we joke that English is not my first language, gibberish was. While my elementary school teachers (bless their hearts) did everything they could to help me, I did not get the professional help I needed until I was 7. Because so much of my developmental years were spent trying to overcome the difficulties around this impediment (such as speaking, spelling, and sounding out words) I became discouraged easily when it came to my English studies (nevermind learning French, HA!) and unless the assignment was purely reading, I did not do well with English.
Alas, I am a story teller and I love to spin a good tale, so as I got older, in order to tell my stories, I had to learn to write in a way which people would understand the words I was writing. A big part of the reason I write in the eloquent way that I do today (that damn ego is really getting the best of me today) is because of computers. Having a system which constantly corrected me, as annoying as it was, helped me immensely. I can’t look at a squiggly red line on my screen for more than finishing off my sentence before having to go back to correct it, which in a really weird way, helps me to learn better to spell (though I detest the red lines that pop up under Canadian spelling of words that I know are correct. Those drive me bonkers).
As a favour to me, please do not go back and read my Facebook posts from when I was 15; not only are my teenage ideals… questionable, but the spelling. I can’t handle my “on this day” posts from that time. I don’t know how my English teachers handled me as long as they did. Anyway, I’m steering way away from the point of my blog post here; the assignment.
So yeah, the error trends in my writing are systemic and I am learning my way out of them. If I can practice a little more patience when writing assignments, I may be able to decrease my errors even further. But, I mean, 95% is pretty good…
It’s no 100% though.