Authority: Penrose and Geisler

Some key points I could pick out from the article all related back to the idea of authority in writing-hence the title.

What I really found interesting was the authors point on insiders and outsiders writing a paper. I thought this was the main point in exploring how to effectively research and communicate an argument for a writer. In terms of ¬†Janet’s writing versus Roger’s, the most important difference they mentioned was that Janet was writing from an outside point of view- observing the idea of paternalism- and Roger was exploring his own ideas by fighting and questioning his own ideas on the topic.

Another point I found interesting and important was the idea of thought process of the writer. I really thought this study showed so interesting and important step in the writing process. When they spoke about Janet’s thought process on the tape recorder, it really struck me how much she seemed to cover up her thought process in her paper by emitting this back and forth that she went with herself in order to agree or disagree with the two contrasting ideas. Roger, in his more in depth and insider thinking, was able to use his disagreement and confusion about the true definition and morality of paternalism. He did not blindly agree with anyone but used specific evidence to back up his own argument.

With this idea, the article addressed the importance of evidence and the facts in research. Both of the writers used research to verify their points, but Janet used hers more as a means to verify the facts. Her essay derived mostly from the idea that facts were absolute and that each case study she mentioned served solely to verify that the statement and arguments of other authors was valid. She doesn’t even go into detail on these case studies and provides over 20 of them. Roger, in contrast, used far less case studies and took great deal to describe how each one applied to his own ideas on paternalism.

For me, this piece really resonated with me, because I often have trouble with research papers and allowing myself to give myself a voice behind other author’s research. This is also particularly helpful for me when I begin my research papers for my history classes. I found the idea of quality and not quantity in sources makes a huge difference to the reader and can strengthen your argument. What I also really liked was the advice for people that might not be a doctor in a field to believe that there was an ¬†opportunity for a new authority and new interpretation; you must believe that you can make an impact and people will believe you if you want to write a paper like this.


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