Chapter 1: Time is on Your Side

What Now?

Now that you’ve identified 7-10 interesting words, 7-10 definitions of new words, 7-10 lists of synonyms and/or patterns, 7-10 contrasts, watch Video 1.3: The Analysis of “The Ultimate Communications App” by Charles Justice and compare your list of evidence to the ones gathered in the video.

Interesting words






Human development


New words




Tower of Babel


Manifest destiny



Battery, plugged in, download

Internet, network, app

Commons, cooperation



New, invented

Sunlight, fish, whales, plants, animals

Evolution, growth


Humanity, everyone



Property v. free

New v. original

Information v. language

Private v. public spaces

Human v. nature

Present v. past

Common v. private space

Collective v. individual

The Observational Paragraph

The next step is to consider your list of observations carefully and narrow it down  to the best two. Review the information you have collected. What’s connected? Group similar observations together and  think about which observations are the strongest and most interesting, and which observations are the most complex. Your small and focused pieces of evidence or observations should be something you can literally put your finger on. Your observations must then be one to three word phrases (ex. “Age of citizen”). Also consider whether your two best key observations support different elements of the author’s complex argument. Evidence that is too similar will end up building a repetitive argument that likely will not develop the level of complexity that is required to write at a university level.

Your goal is to look at the long list of evidence you just gathered and choose the best two pieces. Look at your entire list of evidence and ask yourself:

  • Which of these pieces of evidence points most clearly to the author’s argument?
  • Which of these pieces of evidence has the most interesting or complex language?
  • Which of these pieces of evidence would I be interested in discussing?
  • Which pieces of evidence overlap? Can I make groups out of certain pieces of evidence?

Look at your entire list of potential evidence, and, using these basic questions as your guide, focus in on two key pieces of evidence. Going back to The Plot to Privatize Common Knowledge by David Bollier from the introduction to this text, and the evidence we gathered in Video 1.2, we went through the list, and with the above questions in mind, decided that the two pieces of evidence we wanted to focus on were:

  1. The binary between corporations and the public because Bollier wants to establish that the corporations are being greedy in their rush to privatize knowledge of many forms, whereas the public, he argues, has a fundamental right to the “common good” of that knowledge.
  2. The description of the copyrights and patterns as “anti-social instruments of control” because the author wants to ensure that the readers understand that copyrights and patents, when abused, are negative capitalist systems built around restricting, controlling and owning ideas and knowledge, and treating those ideas and that knowledge as property.


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Write Here, Right Now: An Interactive Introduction to Academic Writing and Research Copyright © 2018 by Ryerson University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.