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  1. Conduct an interview with a professional in your major field of interest—an academic (on campus) or someone working in the field (off campus). Ask questions that will provide information about what this person does, how he or she works, what kinds of problems this person confronts and attempts to solve, and what he or she has to write in response to those problems. Ask the person you interview for some samples of the writing that he or she has to do, and then return to class with your interview notes and the samples of writing for small group and general discussion.

  2. Consider whether the following problems can be defended as problems, given the criteria on page 21 of this chapter.

    1. The wolf is losing habitat in the Yukon.

    2. Hearing aids aren't covered anymore by insurance plans.

    3. Ten large elms now surround the old mine shaft.

    4. Work in the office gets done with a typewriter.

    5. The local cable company wants to upgrade service to its customers.


  1. Write a three-page memo report to the director of undergraduate studies of the department in which you are majoring, telling her or him what you have learned from your interview (in preceding Exercise 1) and suggesting that some kind of newsletter highlighting this kind of information be published for undergraduate majors. In your memo, emphasize the kinds of problems that professionals in your field face, and the kinds of writing that result from addressing or solving those problems. You should refer specifically to the samples of writing you have obtained and attach them as exhibits to your memo.



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