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The Roadrunner's Guide to English: Supporting Details

Supporting Details - Practice 1

Determine the number of major details in the paragraphs below.  It is useful to identify the topic sentence and to look for transition words that suggest addition ( such as first, second, third, moreover, also, in addition, furthermore).


  1. According to WebMd, there are a number of symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.  One common symptom is the inability to tolerate cold.  People with hypothyroidism feel cold more intensely and often wear light sweaters, even during the summer.  Another symptom is feeling tired throughout the day.  In addition, individuals with this disease often experience hair loss.  (Some women find that they never have to shave their legs again.)  Yet another symptom is dry skin.  Perhaps most problematic is modest weight gain.  People with undiagnosed hypothyroid disease often gain weight even when they do not overeat. 


  1. Mystery fiction comes in many varieties, each appealing to different groups of readers. First, there is the "classic" mystery.  Classic mysteries include works by Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and allow the reader an equal opportunity to solve the crime.  Another category is the hard-boiled variety.  Often considered distinctly American, this variety includes tough, solitary detectives who live in a world gone wrong.  Then there are police procedurals.  These stories offer a step-by-step look at the personnel and methods used in the investigation of a crime and typically include police officers as protagonists.  Finally, there is the contemporary cozy, which is similar to the classical style.


  1. For a novel to be classified as a "contemporary classic mystery," it must include many of the following characteristics.  For one thing, there must be a puzzle to be solved by both the reader and the protagonist.  In addition, the detective, usually a reluctant amateur, is the hero.  Next, the investigation of the crime must be the central action or plot of the story.  Furthermore, the victim of the crime should be someone who will not be terribly missed.  Contemporary classic writers must also follow the rules of fair play.  That is, all clues should be accessible to the reader and no new evidence should be included when the villain is unmasked.


  1. The 1970s saw a number of changes in the mystery fiction publishing world.  One change was the importance of regionalism.  Novels need not be set in an English country village or on the mean streets of some huge city.  Another change was inclusion.  Females were no longer excluded in the world of the private eye.  Novels of this time period also saw changes in ethnic and racial representation.  For instance, James Patterson introduced the African-American detective Alex Cross, and Rabbi David Small and Father Dowling both had crimes to solve.  In addition, novels of the 1970s showed increased specialization.  Series might focus on horse racing, sports agents, cats, and even antique prints.


  1. The writer S. S. Van Dine forbade certain tricks in the writing of mystery and detective fiction.  First of all, a writer could not use a seance to trick the guilty party into confessing.  The detective also could not use a word association test to determine guilt.  Another forbidden trick was the use of phony fingerprints.  Nor could writers have a character use a dummy to establish an alibi.  Van Dine viewed such tricks as violating the rules of fair play.


  1. Father Ronald Knox also offered his own rules for detective fiction. No more than one secret room or secret passageway was allowed.  The criminal had to be introduced fairly early in the story.  Supernatural forces were also not permitted.  Knox also believed that the detective could not be the villain.  Perhaps his strangest rule was that no Chinamen could be featured in a story.


  1. The Roadrunner Portal has many useful features.  It includes access to BANNER.  Here students can check their grades or register for courses.  The Portal also includes campus announcements.  These may inform students of new courses or events offered through the Fine Arts series.  The Portal's "bookmark" feature is particularly useful.  With a few simple steps, the user can have access to the Weather Channel, the Hummingbird Migration Web site, or even the Daily Citizen online.  Moreover, the Portal offers "tabs". These tabs can take interested students to the Roberts Library Web site or to their GAView course page.  Finally, the Portal offers access to campus email.


  1. According to Research Methods in the Social Sciences (Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias), using personal interviews is often more advantageous than using questionnaires sent through the mail.  Personal interviews offer greater flexibility.  For instance, during an interview, the interviewer can clarify questions that might be misunderstood.  In addition, personal interviews typically yield a better response rate.  Researchers cannot control how many questionnaires are thrown away as junk mail, but they can control the numbers of people they eventually interview.  Personal interviews also provide fuller information.  The interviewer can observe facial expressions and spontaneous reactions that a mailed survey cannot provide. 


  1. However, using personal interviews to conduct research is not without disadvantages.  The text Research Methods in the Social Sciences (Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias) notes that personal interviews are more expensive than mailed questionnaires.  For example, travel costs to interview a single subject for a study may be far more expensive than the cost of a postage stamp.  In addition, personal interviews are subject to interviewer bias.  During a face-to-face interview, the interviewer may inadvertently send nonverbal signals to the interviewee that might affect his or her responses.  A final drawback of personal interviews is the lack of anonymity.  If the subject matter is sensitive or controversial, the interviewee could feel too uncomfortable to answer truthfully.


  1. American workers change jobs for a variety of reasons.  Promotion is one typically positive reason for changing jobs.  Relocating is also a common reason for a job change.  Sometimes workers relocate to help out an aging parent; others relocate for health reasons.  Layoffs are also responsible for many job changes.  Employees who find themselves laid off will often take any job available.  And of course, some individuals are forced into a new line of work when they are fired.