In chapter five of the Pearson text, I like how it says the focus of an exploratory essay is to "dwell on a problem--and not necessarily to solve that problem...What matters is that you are actively engaged with your problem and demonstrate why it is problematic" (109). Sometimes I feel like I have to get down the bottom of the problem and fix it, whether it be in a paper or in general. This tells me it's okay to not have an answer to everything--problems simply need to be acknowledged before anything can be done to solve them, and an exploratory essay is one way to alert others to the situation. Later in the chapter, Ramage, Bean, and Johnson say "Although you might feel that sentences that show your mind talking its way through your research will sound too informal, they actually work well in exploratory essays to create interest and capture your critical thinking" (115). This is what I struggled with most while writing the exploratory essay. I have gotten so used to formal writing, that using "I" or explaining my research on a personal level was a completely different concept to use for an essay; but once I got into it, I realized how much more interesting (and relatable) my writing was with the technique.
In chapter nine, talking about citation, it says, "An in-text citation and its corresponding Works Cited entry are linked in a chicken-and-egg system: You can't cite a source in the text without first knowing how the source's entry will be alphabetized in the Works Cited list" (Ramage, Bean, and Johnson 222). Well, I mainly thought this was funny, but then I thought about the whole relationship between the source and the citation of it, and it makes sense. When others read an essay, they need to be able to verify where the information comes from, and citing it in the text and works cited is crucial to that proof and support.
I like how in chapter eight, it gives the three ways to incorporate sources: summary, paraphrase, and quotation. For the summary, it highly suggests to keep it as brief as possible (clear and concise) so as to keep the reader focused on your argument (Ramage, Bean, and Johnson 203). I agree with this, because it is important to give the information from your source, and some context as well, but it is perhaps even more crucial for an argument to keep it on-topic, and not relate every single detail from the source--it can be boring. But a clear and concise summary of the information is a step towards a truly awesome essay.