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Tutor profile: Quinn R.

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Quinn R.
Experienced Reference Librarian and Student Athlete Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

My professor keeps marking down points on my papers for using "passive voice" but never explains how to fix it. What is the difference between active and passive voice, and how can I avoid using passive voice in the future?

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Quinn R.
Answer:

Put simply, active voice means that the subject of the sentence performs the action. I.e. the subject is stated before the verb and intended action is carried out, usually on another object. Active voice usually follows the very typical sentence structure described above. Passive voice means that your subjected is being acted on by the verb. Or, the verb comes first in the sentence, making the sentence sound clunky or unclear. Examples: Incorrect: "A year-long study will have been completed by the research team, and their findings announced in the quarterly journal by the lead researcher by next fall." Correct: "By next fall, the research team will complete a year-long study, after which the lead researcher will announce the findings in the quarterly journal." Some good give aways that you're writing in passive voice are: 1. You're using past tense verbiage (usually past perfect or past continuous to be specific) when you could be using present tense and it would still make sense. Check your writing to see if the sentence would still make sense if you changed the verb tense. 2. The object and the subject of the sentence become incorrectly interchangeable or confused. If it's unclear which item in the sentence is performing the action, you might be using passive voice. 3. Your verb comes before your subject. Check your writing to make sure that the "doer" comes before the "doing" or the "done".

Subject: Library and Information Science

TutorMe
Question:

I need three online, peer-reviewed articles about the effects of wind turbines on wildlife and natural habitats. Where can I find those?

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Quinn R.
Answer:

First, you'll need to connect to your college or university's online library. There you will find online databases that house professional, peer-reviewed articles. Most online libraries organize their databases by subject. You'll want to browse the database list for the broadest subject to describe your search. Once you've selected a database to search, you'll need to find the search feature. Try using the simple or basic search function first. Type in your keyword term or phrase. For this search you'll want to start by trying "effects of wind turbines on wildlife" or "wind turbines and wildlife/environments". Keyword searching is the most basic of search options. Review the list of results to see if any of them relate to your subject or assignment. If the first search yields 0 usable results, change your keyword term or phrase to a variation of the ones you've already used. If repeated attempts yield few or no results, your next option is to try the advanced search option or to choose a different database from your university library's list. Advanced searching is more useful in filtering or limiting results, or in finding an exact item you already know the title, author, publication year, or journal for. Choosing a new database to search is more useful if you're unsure where you're most likely to find article on your chosen subject.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

My professor asked for a feminist reading of the short story we read for class. I'm still not sure I understand Feminist Criticism well enough to complete the assignment. What am I looking for exactly in the text that would reflect a Feminist critical reading?

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Quinn R.
Answer:

In short, Feminist Criticism is the analyzing and interpreting of a work to see the ways that female characters, as well as their psychological, social, political, economic, and physical needs and attributes are either oppressed by the Patriarchy (i.e. men) or ways in which these things are celebrated. For example: does the work discuss or show women having the same sexual and moral freedoms as men? Or are the women in the literature subjected to unbalanced restrictions on their sexual freedom, where men are free to commit adultery without it affecting their lives, but women lose everything when engage in an affair? Exact examples you could discuss in an assignment on Feminist Critical Analysis are the ways that similar actions yield disparaging consequences for men and women, the differing ways women and men are described physically, emotionally, and intellectually in a work. Even the lack of female characters or substantial character development lends to a critical analysis.

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