Phase 1

Week 1:

Hi! My name is Brittany, because of my petite stature I tell people I’m underage in hopes that they back off, there are too many problematic people here in Toronto. I’m 18 and I’m a stubborn Aries. When I’m bored I either read or watch Netflix. Currently, my favourite show is Lucifer and if you haven’t watched it I highly recommend it.

The podcast seems like a perfect idea to get our opinion out there and be heard by our peers and other people. I have listened to countless podcasts and feel like I know how to do it because of that experience.

A research tactic shortcut can easily be asking the people around you either for websites or their own personal opinions on the subject. That way you get a quick and reliable source on your said topic.

Week 2:

A matter of opinion depends on the individual’s perception on the said topic/object being discussed. While an opinion is not based on facts or knowledge, a matter of opinion cannot be proven either way since its relative to the person.

Another way to differentiate between opinion and a matter of opinion is that a matter of opinion is often harder to dig deeper into (like what the worlds best coffee is), so research often ends because it usually is either impossible to know or just a waste of time. They are big bold claims.

In the end I believe that everything can be a matter of opinion because some a matter of opinion is relative to the person and cannot be proven anyway one looks at it. If you think about it, even my argument can be looked at as a matter of opinion by someone who believes that not everything is a matter of opinion.


Hi! my name is Laura Younan. I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Toronto when I was around five years old. What I admire most about Toronto is it’s unique atmosphere and all of the amazing memories I have made here. beyond writing, I have a passion for music, art, and animals. I have been obsessed with art from before I could even remember, and still continue to be. I feel I am a very creative and artistic person and expressing myself through activities such as painting has become therapeutic to me. My interest in writing sparked in the first grade when my teacher at the time encouraged us to write and present them to the rest of the class whenever we wanted. This really made me feel proud of myself and encouraged me to continue to write.

Currently, I am an 18 year old first year student majoring in English and professional writing. So far I am enjoying the program and feel I have made the right choice in choosing the program most fitting with me and my interests. I plan to study teaching once I have completed my degree and hope to teach in an elementary school.

I am both excited and nervous for what is to come in this course. I have an interest in blogging, and this seems like a great start. I am also looking forward to advancing my research skills and becoming more confident in presenting. I also like the fact that this course has a main focus on one overall project. Doing it in calculated steps will be less overwhelming in the long run and it helps me with knowing I am on the right track.

A flaw in the research tactics of college and university students include not knowing where and what to search for. often students do not dissect their assignments and instead search for things too specifically. Although Google is an excellent search engine there are also thousands of other useful sources that are often overlooked and may help immensely with certain assignments. Although I am also fairly guilty of doing this, I am definitely getting better at exploring all the sources I can and dissecting my assignments and research. EN 1001 helped with this a lot as we were required to do research for most, if not all our assignments and it also made me realize how much more effective the use of facts and proper background information is. It also helped me realize what was an important extraction from sources (what to include and what not to include).



My name is Ibrahim. I often have to say my name multiple times because the person doesn’t catch it completely. I tell them just say Abraham but replace the A’s with I’s instead, but they say it wrong anyways. It doesn’t really bother me that much honestly.

I spend most of my free time playing video games and watching stuff on Netflix.

The course project seems interesting to me, since I have never taken on a course long, single project before. I’m looking forward to learning how to structure a podcast, such as how to an intro/outro and how to talk to your listeners without them being a live audience.

I believe me and many other undergraduate students take the shortcut of finding a specific part of a large article or paper and snipping the quote that supports their claims to help strengthen their words. This is usually done out of frustration and impatience while trying to meet deadlines. This can be both helpful and limiting as you get your evidence for your paper, but you do not consider the article’s entire argument when inserting it into your paper.


I don’t believe that all knowledge is opinion. I think if you can prove what you are saying with facts that show that you are correct, it turns your opinion into fact and therefore knowledge. If you have a bunch of opinions that don’t make sense, you wouldn’t say that you have knowledge. However if you have opinions backed up with facts, it takes your opinion and turns it into something concrete.

If your opinion has nothing to back it up, then you’re just saying words and not establishing any type of reason for someone to take what you are saying as knowledge. If you say that apples can be purple, but then not bring up any article or evidence that the statement is true, then you are spouting nonsense. However if you said apples can be purple and then showed a study about purple apples, one would believe what you are saying and turn your opinion into knowledge.

Phase One: Introduction

Hello everyone.

My name is Dhiren Pooran. I am 20 years old and live in Markham, Ontario. I’m in my first year, second semester at York and my major is English and Professional Writing. I first found interest in Professional Writing because I always loved the idea of conveying emotions through words. I found that I loved creating and writing stories and I hope that this course can help me with this endeavour. I’m also a huge of video gamer, owning an Xbox One and Nintendo consoles. I’m also an avid fan of anime, cartoons and some TV shows. As long as I can remember I’ve read dialogue and descriptions from some video games (mainly bad ones) and thought, “I could probably do better,” and I hope to one day.

I took this course, in all honesty, because it was the next core course, but from the description and first lecture, I am both nervous and excited for whatever it throws my way. Research has never been my strong point as my best ideas come from my brain, but I hope to learn much from this class and excel at that which I learn. My main concern is the podcast assignment, although it is a ways away. I usually hate the sound of my own voice, so talking for twenty minutes seems like a difficult task to me. However, I’ve always ignored podcasts and I now see how they can be interesting to listen to and make. I’m looking forward to learning editing techniques and the process of creating a podcast itself.

In terms of research tactics, one cliché I’ve seen used is that people search exactly what they need in Google search and take from an article that has the bare minimum of what they are required to obtain. By doing this, students barely get any viable information on their desired topic. Sometimes, people skim through the paragraphs and look for keywords, then end up with a jumbled mess of data. I am also guilty of having done this before but I’ve taken measures to ensure I read almost everything before using a site as a reference.

Although I’m a bit nervous about the forthcoming notes, projects and assignments, I’m also excited for new learning opportunities and improvement.

From Dhiren Pooran



On reflecting on the nature of “opinion” it is in my opinion that it is not possible to assert that all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion—Although it is possible. But for this argument, lets be reasonable and say this is hasty. Knowledge by definition is justified and proven, and is or should be a true belief. Where as an opinion is only the true belief without proof and therefore not proven, but then once it is without proof, it is strictly a matter of opinion and then it does not need to have any justification at all, just the unadulterated belief that some idea, any idea is true. I believe that tea is the best hot beverage of the world and not coffee. The assertion then that all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion is to ignore the reclassification of the terms. Knowledge can have opinion but opinion does not need to demonstrate the possession of having any knowledge. I can talk at length on the matter to exercise the circular nature of this discussion. The point is that the terms are very related and can transition from one to the other easily. Opinions are easy to form and does not need to be gained, it is shared, knowledge can be gained but it is not easy to form but easily share, easily gained but not easily arrived at. The process of knowledge requires multiple perspectives, although it can grow from a single person, where as opinion does not need the same level of scrutiny. To know is suggestive of factual, measurable, developed. To give an opinion is suggestive of less precise sharing of information. It is my opinion that the term “opinion” is a staging point from where knowledge will inevitable springs this notion of grow is why the infinitive “all” altering knowledge as being “a matter of opinion” is itself highly problematic. The very question I am currently wrestling with his a hasty generalization. Forming a conclusion of about a whole with little or not enough information or data to speak about an entire group, in this case all knowledge.


Hello World,

My name is Le-Var Rowe. I am complicated! Because I choose to be. I wish to be more than simple, of course. I could be simple, but then that's not my opinion. I believe every action is task oriented and these actions are more than we perceive them to be: things are never “simple”, they may only seem simple but that is only on its surface. However, there are times when things are simple and only when we have boiled it down to eliminate the redundancies, expand it nuances, do away with the bells and whistles or we are lucky enough to be say more with less, then we are able to see the “simple.” In fact, “everything” is complex: At set of things built a top of other things. I am interested in the idea that we can always obtain “clarity” and in this exists the best the world has to offer and the best way to gain it is by giving a personal touch to every task we endeavour to take on. I want to think like writers do, so I enrolled in the English and Professional writing program. Taking this program is outside my comfort zone and I hope to stretch a bit further each year. I enjoy watching audio visual programs, and the unpacking each element is the best means of study—the audio, the visual, the programing, and the stretch that connects all the elements into one seamless whole. I though my interest would make this easy to learn. It was not the task I thought it would be as it turns out: its difficult, it is boring a times, painful, but fun, yet exhausting, and not at all that interesting. So, although I am interested in anything that interests me, and I am also stilling learn what those interests are, for now, I enjoy conversations, I enjoy eating new recipes, passively participating in sports, and occasionally I enjoy aggressively doing nothing.

This course project is not new to me. I feel both prepared and worried. Yes, I have taken this course, but I did not complete it. I never over came my challenges the first time around so it begs the question, “will I do well” this time? After all, I don’t think another strike will be coming any time this year to save me. So how do I feel about the course project? Uncertain and excited.

Describing a research tactic or shortcut that I think might be commonly used by an undergraduate student is the ouroboros. Literally, I would be eating my own tail. I have no idea of a tactic or shortcut commonly used, but I do think it is helpful to be taking a class like Research for Professional Writers, and of course, it is limiting when you do not know what you bring to the table. Because this will be my first exposure to formal research training, and I do not know where I stand with my current skills, developing these skills can be gratifying and falsely comforting. I am very prone to complacency. I do believe asking what others have said, if anything, about a subject I am interested in is a nice place to start when gaining new knowledge. I believe to gain knowledge is the purpose of research; indeed, it is the way out of our assumptions. Being conscious of the process throughout, allowing the process to enlighten our experience, is relevant. So a research tactic would be to approach the task with a question or problem in mind and a shortcut would be to avoid trying and do everything at once, just make it as meaningful to you as you can and then complicate and expand on it.

Thanks for reading.

PHASE 1: Just the Beginning

Hey everyone!

My name is Alexandra Szczurowski but I prefer to just be called Alx. I am a 19 year old second-year student here at York University majoring in English and Professional Writing. I was born and raised in Toronto and live in the city of Etobicoke a quick 25-minute drive from the heart of Toronto downtown area. I absolutely love taking trips to downtown Toronto, listening to street performances, browsing the thousands of unique boutiques, and commonly just watching the hustle of others through the busy downtown streets. Some of my current interests include cooking and wellness. I find great joy in cooking and baking, making everything for scratch and putting my own little twists and tricks on delicious recipes I find. Wellness has also been a great part of my life, anything consisting of eating healthy, meditation, fitness, and self-care. I love partaking in any sports my favourite having to be swimming as I was a competitive swimmer for 7 years, it taught me dedication, perseverance, and teamwork. I may not swim competitively any more but the qualities I learned from it will stick with me forever, applying them to any work I do today. Lastly one of my most beloved passions has to be fashion. I love keeping up with the latest trends and simply having fun expressing myself through attire.

So far, I am feeling great about our course project! I was extremely taken back when hearing we will be making our own podcast, something I have never done before. When entering this mandatory course, I assumed it was going be a difficult, heavily informed class in which I would not enjoy going too however, I was pleasantly surprised. A podcast sounds like a refreshingly new concept to learn and take on leaving me excited to unfold such new territory.

A research tactic and or shortcut that I believe is commonly used by undergraduate students is using quick and easily accessible search engines such as google. Google is definitely the, ‘go too’ for students as it is easy to use and by far the simplest. Branching out and challenging others as well as myself to use a multitude of sources will not only strengthen our research skills but ultimately result in improved work. Utilizing websites such as google scholar, books from the library, and search engines through York’s library will make us successful students.

I hope you learned a little about me and I cannot wait to learn a little about you and what more this course has in store for us all!


Phase One

Week 1:

Hi there everyone! My name is Jesenya and I’m an English and Professional Writing major. I would describe myself as shy, sleepy, and superstitious. I’m excited for this class although a podcast is very intimidating and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.  A good chunk of my friends are aspiring youtuber hobbyists so maybe they’ll have some tips for coming out of my shell and recording. While at this point I am comfortable with my written academic voice, communicating either personally or orally has always been a struggle for me. I sound like a child in person and like a chipmunk on audio/video/phone calls which makes me dread the final act of this course a bit but I’m still excited for all that it could be.

Unfortunately I don’t know many shortcuts, but one of my shortcomings is my reliance of sites like easybib to help with my works cited. Reading some of these other posts I see I’m not alone in that regard so hopefully we can all move on from that habit and improve throughout the semester.

Week 2:

Opinion is derived from emotion and schemata. While an opinion may be a deeply rooted and long held belief, it will not hold much merit unless  backed by evidence. Facts are tied to logic and verification.Facts are proven while opinions are disputed. As the Imagine Easy Solutions video stated it is getting harder to differentiate fact from opinion. I find myself more inclined to believe someone when they hold a generally neutral tone.If I can’t hear their bias upfront, and I see that they are trying to look at multiple sides of something without bias, then it makes me feel like they are more inclined to stick to the facts of a matter.

Since one defining trait of a fact is that it is “accepted by the majority” I suppose it can be argued that all facts/knowledge boils down to a matter of opinion. Personally I think it boils down to trust. Take the Flat-Earthers for example, their opinions about the universe came to be because they did not believe in what we accept as facts. For us the earth being round is a fact largely because of the photos provided by NASA (and other factors as well). We trust in those photos as well as all the other facts we have about our round earth and how it operates; Flat-Earthers don’t harbour that same trust in NASA or science. They wholeheartedly believe the photos are faked and we are all being lied to. Does having such a strong opposing opinion on a fact change the nature of said fact?

Phase One

Hello everyone,

my name is Connor Stacey and my major is English and Professional Writing. I have always found that one of my true passions is writing and with that in mind that program choice seemed pretty good. I also chose this path because it will hopefully guide me to becoming a writer for film also known as a screenwriter. Some of the things I like to do include; eating pizza, being with friends, and watching Netflix because “The Office” is a masterpiece. I have never been particularly fond of podcasts, but recently I have been listening to a lot of interviews on YouTube, like for example; “No Jumper”, “Kody Co”, and “Good Mythical Morning”. So, with that in mind, I am open to giving podcasts another try by starting to listen to them more. I am interested in the podcast assignment though because there is just something really cool about getting to tell a story and critique something, while someone discusses it with you.

Something that I frequently do when I have to cite something in APA or a different format is use the citation machines and I hope this class teaches me to use less of it. The main research tool that I use is I type what I am searching for in Google Scholar or I try and find other scholarly search engines. I am pretty excited to put my research skills to task in this class and I also hope to gain a lot of useful tips for future research.

Phase One

Week Two: Knowledge =/≠ Opinion

Is all knowledge simply a matter of opinion?


I believe it is impossible for any thought, feeling, or action to be untainted by perception. Everything we do, everything we see, or know, or understand, is acquired through our own minds. To learn something, we must first pass the knowledge through the filters of our own reality. We see only through our own eyes, hear through our own ears, and feel through our own hands. This is especially true when we consider that we gain most of our knowledge through others. Through books, or lectures, or conversations. Even search engines only lead us to discoveries made by other people, related by other people, and interpreted by other people.

Truth to Knowledge to People

I recognize this may not make sense, so I drew a picture!

Whit this realization though (you know, that all knowledge is relative, and we experience everything inside the constructs of our own minds) there begs a question. If all knowledge is simply ‘opinion’ is anything real?

Of course!

I think we too often confuse ‘knowledge’ even ‘fact’ with ‘Truth’. Yes. Capital-t ‘Truth’ Of course there is a Truth. There must be. Otherwise how would anything exist? How would anything be real?

Now, let’s say that facts are the clearest truths that can be recognized at any point in time, and that knowledge is our interpretation of these facts, then of course not all opinions can be equal. Certainly, all opinions exist, but opinions based on flawed knowledge cannot be considered with the same verisimilitude as opinions backed up by evidence or ‘facts’. So if someone ever presents you with an opinion that they cannot back up with facts and evidence or at least logic, then their opinion must carry less weight than one based off of facts and evidendce. In this regard, (and in this regard alone) you may feel free to use the coloquialism your opinion is invalid. Not that it doesn’t exist or even that it shouldn’t exist, but you can use invalid. Plus it’s fun to say.

So, what is Truth? I don’t know. I’m not a philosopher, I’m not a scientist, I’m not even really a theologian. I have not made it my life’s work to define Truth. Only to tell it. Only to say with the most conviction everyday that ‘this is my reality’, ‘these are my facts’, ‘and here is my evidence’. I’m doing my very best to get it right.

But hey, that’s just my opinion 😆

Week One: Introductions

My name is Pendo, and it is a pleasure to be in this class. I am hoping that I don’t begin every sentence of this paragraph with an ‘I + verb’ statement, but what can you do. I am an avid reader, and lover of stories. I think animals are amazing, and that colourful money is one of Canada’s best qualities. My hobbies include graphite sketches, existential internal debates (don’t knock it till you try it), and feeding a rabid addiction to music.

Sometimes, when an idea plagues me, I write about it.

I am a peculiar mix of anxious, and excited about the project. While I fear I may not do my chosen topic apt justice in the podcast, I am also eager to exploit the many resources available to us as students. Hopefully I will be able to gain a better understanding of exactly what those resources are after completing the course. At least that’s the goal.

One shortcut I’ve noticed is that as students we can sometimes take our resources at face value. Maybe we assume that if they come from a reputable database or library archive then they must be reputable sources and so we never take the extra step to verify the publishers or authors. While most of the time this shortcut is neither limiting or beneficial - because most databases of academic work are carefully curated - occasionally a student is limited when a citation is discovered to be from an disreputable source.

Phase One

Week Two

This week’s lecture has made me think in diverse ways. After analyzing the facts presented to us in lecture, I have learned that opinions are personal. An opinion is something every use and carry out throughout their daily life. It differs from person to person and is not supported with an any evidence. It is a bias that everyone holds.

When differentiating between fact and opinion, an abundance of information must come into consideration. A fact is something that was been scientifically backed up with evidence. It is something that has been proven to be true, such as the world is round. An opinion on the other hand, is not scientifically proven, but instead an individual’s diverse way of thinking. It is all a matter of opinion.

Week One

Hello everyone,

My name is Riya and I am an English and Professional Writing major. I have always had an interest in reading and writing, so I believe this is the most suitable program for me. When I was deciding which program I should choose, this program stuck out to me and I decided to go for it. I am very glad I did because of my interests, everything fits perfectly. I am very outgoing person and always eager to learn more. My interests other than reading/writing are cooking/baking and I enjoy spending time with friends and family. The course project has made me both excited and nervous because I do not listen to podcasts, therefore neither am I familiar with them. I feel that in order to make a podcast I need to be familiar with them as well. So, because of this project I am going out of my comfort zone to listen and along the way discover and familiarize myself with different podcasts. I have never recorded my voice, so I am very interested to see how that turns out.

A research/shortcut tactic I’ve used is the search of “key words” that I learned in EN 1001. This tactic has allowed me to figure out the main terms of a scholarly article, which can then help me in the construction of the topic and theme. This technique really allows readers to capture a sense of topic. Even if  you did not read the passage, you can get an understanding of what the text is talking about.

Phase One:

I believe that specific information can be factual and that certain information can be rooted in opinion. I have to disagree that all knowledge is a matter of opinion if an individual can formulate proper evidence to prove and support their alleged claim. According to this week’s lecture, an opinion is a view or judgement about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge, but can be further investigated to be proven. An example of this would be the following: MAC makeup is cruelty-free. The claim that MAC makeup is cruelty-free can be further investigated. After researching, an individual can find out and can 100% confirm if MAC tests its makeup products on animals or not.

An opinion has the potential to become a fact if it is supported by evidence and reasoning. Michael LaBrossiere is in agreeance when he writes, “Given that logic and reasoning are not simply matters of opinion, these supported positions cannot be dismissed as being simply matters of opinion.” Furthermore, factual information has the potential to be disputed because an individual can present supplementary proof to support their assertation. If an individual wants to refute, they would have to provide secondary proof or else their appeal to disagree has no reason to be accepted over an individual, who can support the assertation they are making.

To contrast, a matter of opinion is something that is incapable of being proven. A matter of opinion has a tendency of being a grand and bold statement that an individual declares to be true. An example would be the following: Starbucks coffee is the best coffee in the world. This statement is a matter of opinion because it is subjective; there is no possible way to prove that Starbucks is producing the best coffee in the world because people’s coffee tastes and preferences vary, and due to this there is no way to determine who makes the best coffee. 

In regards to the nature of opinion, I agree with Michael LaBrossiere that not all opinions can be regarded as being “equally good.” For example, if an individual seeking medical attention for an illness, they would trust the advice and opinion that they receive from a Doctor, whereas they would not trust the suggested advice from a friend family member, who is not a qualified Doctor. If all opinions were considered as being equally good, there would be no point in visiting a Doctor’s office to diagnosis an illness if anyone else’s opinion was good enough. 

To summarize, opinions are subjective, based on emotions, biased, and cannot be supported by evidence. Opinions often involve statements including personal pronouns such as, “My belief is that” or “I feel that.” However, a fact is a statement that is true and can be verified with evidence. Therefore, I believe that an individual cannot assert that all knowledge in the world is just a matter of opinion because opinions become facts when they are confirmed with proof to be the truth.

Hello everyone! My name is Julia Vaiano. I am an English and Professional Writing major. I would describe myself as being a kind-hearted and enthusiastic person who is always eager to learn. My three greatest passions in life are writing, acting, and reading. I love writing because it is a medium that helps me to express myself. One of my greatest aspirations is to be a successful writer and to publish a novel. I have a passion for acting, and I want to learn about the craft as much as I can. My last passion is reading, and it is a hobby that started when I was a young child. It’s challenging for me to select a favourite book because I have read so many. Some of my favourite books would have to be: The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games Trilogy, The Mortal Instrument Series, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and The Fault in Our Stars. 

I am excited about the course project because I enjoy researching topics I am interested in. I am also looking forward to working on my public speaking skills. A research tactic I think is commonly used for undergraduate students is researching a topic on an accessible database such as Jstor, Google Scholar, and Scholars’ Portal.  This tactic can be helpful but is also limiting because finding peer-reviewed journals is more convenient for a busy student to find than spending an ample amount of time in the library searching for books on a topic. I believe a strong paper contains information from online academic sources and books from the library. Students should strive to include a variety of resources in their writing to make their paper more accurate.

I am looking forward to getting acquainted with all of you. I wish you all the best of luck on your upcoming research and creating your original podcast!


Phase One

Week Three:

The opinion piece I’ve decided to centre my podcast episode is “To reduce youth crime, focus on mental health” written by Anna Kamila Socha. This piece explores the ideology that Canada’s youth that have committed crimes may have a better chance at a future where they do not reoffend if their mental health is cared for and a rehabilitation approach is taken, rather than incarceration.  

The main claim of this article there is a significant reduction of youth that reoffend when a short aftercare approach involving families is demonstrated, rather than long term incarceration. She’s able to back her claims with evidence based on statistical evidence. For example, “40 percent of all youth released from a detention centre end up reoffending, as opposed to a low 15 percent of youth that go through a rehabilitative approach” (Socha, 2018).

The social context of this article focuses on society and the benefits of caring for at risk youth mental health. These benefits are both economical and social, by’ keeping these youths locked up, and end up costing taxpayers upward of $120,000 a year per individual — several times more than probation/community outreach would” (Socha, 2018). The less costly approach could be having these children be guided in outreach programs with family and friends.

I can safely conclude this is an opinion piece because there isn’t a wide variety of evidence to back this up. Sadly, the limited amount of sources makes this piece to be mostly constructed by matter of opinion, at the end of the article she states ‘We live in a society that glorifies incarceration rather than prevention; the actions we take to fix that inequity mirror our priorities as a society”(Socha, 2018). This cannot be concluded as right or wrong, but shows her stance on the topic.Anna Socha’s background, being a Criminology Student at UofT, can her her some useful insight due to crime being her major of study. Unfortunately, a student perspective may still make her inexperienced in the field since she’s in her early stages of her career.

This has the potential to make for an interesting podcast because of the controversy of the topic alone. Many individuals believe that those that offend deserve punishment, but now in an era where more individuals are exploring mental health, it could shine light and help end stigma around mental health.

Week Two:

This week’s lecture has opened the conversation of what is an opinion and a matter of opinion? An opinion is what each individual believes in, not a factual conclusion. Whereas a matter of opinion would be a conclusion driven by evidence which could also differ from individual to individual. The idea of morals and values could be a possible drive where one forms an opinion, whereas evidence would drive. matter of opinion. The use of Starbucks as an example presented is one that can easily help differ opinion and matter of opinion. Saying ‘Starbucks is a snooty company” is an opinion formed by no definite answer available. To each person, different experiences can change their view. Now saying Starbucks “Starbucks coffee is ethically produced” This statement is a matter of opinion. Each person will value different things in the workplace, but at the end of the day whether the statement can be accounted as true or false will be determined by the individuals checklist of what falls under ethics, making it a matter of opinion.

   The question presented is; is it possible to assert that all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion? I can safely conclude that this is not the case at all. A matter of opinion can shift from person to person, but there are factors in life that cannot be debated. For example math, there is no debating the knowledge of something simple as one plus one equals two. No matter where in the world you go, this knowledge remains the same. In conclusion, there’s no way knowledge can be just a matter of opinion.

Week One:

Hey everyone!

My name’s Itzel and this is my first year here at York University as a Children, Childhood, and Youth major. Growing up, I have always had a fascination for those who take majority of their time teach the next generation, which ultimately inspired me to want to be involved in child care. Although this school year hasn’t ended, it has already been a fulfilling experience. Being a somewhat quiet and self kept individual, I’ve always had the luxury of staying in my comfort zone by attending a small, all-girls high school. My fears of attending University grew exponentially as my first day approached but fortunately for me, York has pushed me to step out my comfort zone. The projects at York have given me no choice but to meet new people, becoming a valuable asset in my life.

This project has already proven to be rewarding. I’m excited to proceed because of the experience I will gain. The idea of creating a podcast that others can listen scares me, but I believe that this is just another lesson I need in order to obtain valuable communication skills.

A research/shortcut tactic that has been useful to me on many occasions is google scholar. It can be a life saving resource for those “last minute” assignments. Although it has many reputable articles, it can be limiting. Google scholar can never truly replace physical books due to the credentials needed to publish them.

Phase One

Week 2:

The Nature of Opinion

I find that knowledge cannot avoid being claimed as a matter of opinion. As I speak about this matter, this is my own opinion. While many of us may use facts or ideas in order to prove that an idea is not just an opinion, being able to compress multiple ideas as a way of proving an idea is “correct” can be taken as a form of opinion. “I want others to think this is right and just, so I will use examples to prove it is in fact right” - this does not make it right; it just means you want others you believe in what you find is right. Don’t get me wrong, that said idea may be right, but then won’t that just be my own opinion? Everyone has their own thoughts and mindsets, while knowledge is constantly around us to learn. Just as an example given in “is philosophy just a matter of opinion?”, if all opinions were equally good, then there would be no point in having doctors, since simply asking for medical advice would be just as fine. Why bother hiring an engineer, if anyone was just as capable of designing an airplane?

Even so, if this is the overall idea of “an opinion,” then no matter what, despite our toughest efforts to produce a “non-opinion related claim,” it is still our own matter of opinion overlapped with knowledge.

Week 1:

Hello everyone!

I’m Paola Toaquiza, a first year English & Professional Writing student at YorkU. When I was applying to universities, this program caught my eye immediately. My two passions have always been to read/write, along with painting. Despite aiming for a graphic design major in the past, I feel like I made the right choice on deciding on this program. I’m comfortable in this program, if that makes sense. After graduating high school, I took a gap year before applying for university, and in that year, I began to recognized my love for writing all over again. From poetry to short stories, I wanted to try them all. Since I pour my heart into anything related to writing and art (along with video games), a future combining all three, maybe in the game development business, would make me ecstatic. When I head that we would be developing a podcast, I was overjoyed. “Something I can make~” is what I thought, and although I have very little knowledge on podcasts themselves, having the chance to make such a project from this type of program, it’s very exciting.

A recent shortcut or tactic I have learned has to be the power of “key words.” Especially towards research-related papers that involve scholar articles, key words can be a gigantic change in what, or what not to use in a paper. Despite being a English & Professional Writing major, reading can be tiresome at times. By looking up key words through article searching, themes or topics related to your work can be found. Even so, it can often mix completely different topics together, so make sure to be direct on your research. One word searches are the best, but remember to read over articles, even if it is over 100 pages long, better safe than sorry.

Phase One

Week One:

Hey everyone, my name is Ethan Sammy and I’m a first-year communication studies major here at york university. I discovered this course through the school's guidance office when they were helping me put my timetable together last summer. I remember discussing that I wanted a course that was entertaining but not over the top and gives me opportunities to dip my toe into the world of media and technology and this course was recommended. By the title of ‘Research for Professional Writers’, I was terrified because it sounded super intimidating, however, as soon as I was told that the end of the year summative was a podcast I was sold given that I listen to them every day. This being said I hope I get to learn a lot more about the world of podcasts and the research that goes behind them in hope of one day making my own or at least making myself sound more credible in the way I speak, think and write for the rest of my York career.

One of my go-to research tactics that I use for reading and writing projects is using Google scholar when it comes to finding articles. It gives me options of reputable sources that although some are scholarly, some are reputable non-academically meaning they could be trusted names like Huffington Post or Bloomberg.

Phase One

(Week 2) Based on this week’s lecture and in the videos shown both in class and on the blog schedule. A key aspect of an opinion is that it is more or less based on personal emotions/beliefs, is open to interpretation and cannot be confirmed to be the fact. Your own view or belief that. Using the Starbucks example that was presented in class, the statement that “Starbucks is ethically produced” is something that is not based on fact, with possible evidence to reject that claim. Whereas the matter of opinion is something relative and cannot be proven either way.  Harkening back to the lecture’s Starbucks example, statements such as “Starbucks coffee has the best taste” cannot be proven either right or wrong, as it is entirely subjective to a person. 

   So, with all this being said, is it possible to assert that all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion? I would say no, not necessarily. Knowledge is based on true facts and research. If knowledge were a matter of opinion, then it would all become too subjective and could perhaps lead into confirmation biases. Also taking into consideration that knowledge would then become something that cannot be proven either way, therefore a person’s understanding of say physics for example would not be based on actual facts and research to prove that they are correct. Justified true belief could also become skewed through a person’s own subjectivity, as what they believe to be the truth is no longer based on evidence to support that belief.

(Week 1) Hey everyone, my name is Mark Chinapen and I’m a fourth year film studies student here at York U! My hobbies include things such as videography/photography, writing about films and music, gaming from time to time and spending time with friends and family. I’m feeling pretty excited about the course project for this term, the idea of a podcast ( as well as the concept of the course website) all seem quite interesting to me, I listen to podcasts here and there but I’ve never really considered to start my own, so I’m eager to see how that goes! that I’m definitely looking forward to the learning process of the project as I feel it will help me improve on my own writing and research abilities inside or outside of school.

A research/shortcut tactic I’ve used time and time again is the York U E-resource, like scholar portals for example and reading them in depth. I’ve found them to be quite helpful when it comes to essay writing because of how easy it is to access them, plus as a film student, many of the resources such as journals or scholarly articles are more often than not available through there. What makes it limiting however is that you could tend to rely only on e-resources, hindering the chance to look for other sources like actual physical books for instance.

Phase One

Week One:

Hi, everyone. My name is Sidney, and I am a first year English and Professional Writing student. I am from Thunder Bay, ON and hope to move to Toronto permanently in the next couple of years. I have loved reading and writing from a very young age — before I went to bed, I would always insist on reading the storybooks myself even though I could hardly read any of the words yet. Other than that, I like to paint and draw in my spare time. Unfortunately, I have had little time to do that between school and work. Like many people, I love to travel; in the last three years I have gone to Toronto and Montreal for the first time and travelled Spain starting in Barcelona and continuing along the coast into Madrid. After graduation, I would like to find a career that allows me to travel more.

Coming into the semester, I expected the material and assignments to be dry in a research course. Fortunately, I assumed wrong as I am really looking forward to working on the course project. I have just recently started listening to podcasts and like the idea of creating my own but am overwhelmed with where to begin. This course is allowing me experience in something I may have otherwise never tried on my own. I also appreciate that we are working in a medium and learning a skill that feels relevant in our digital culture.

When it comes to research, I am guilty of just googling my topic and hoping to find websites that end in “.org” or “.edu.” While I do find relevant and reputable information from these websites, it is admittedly a lazy way to do research. Throughout this semester, I hope to become more familiar with how to search databases and ultimately form better research habits.

Week Two:

Upon reflecting on whether or not all knowledge is simply “a matter of opinion,” I was quick to think no. If all knowledge is simply “a matter of opinion,” that leaves me with a very uncomfortable possibility that there are no universal truths. I desperately wanted to cling onto the idea that the things I know are objectively true, but I have concluded that the answer to this question is, in fact, a matter of opinion — you could argue either way.

On the one hand, I agree with LaBossiere in his blog post Is philosophy just a matter of opinion? when he says, “an opinion can become a fact - a belief that is adequately backed up by evidence or reasons.” I think that in many instances we are told that our reasoning is “just our opinion” as a way to try and delegitimize our claims. However, this ignores that we can develop well-informed opinions based on facts. If one has formed a view or judgement based on something irrefutable, then they must have arrived at some sort of knowledge or truth.

This line of reasoning is then complicated because, as discussed in lecture, “our access to reality is strained, and that reality itself is socially constructed . . . and changeable.” In the TED talk we watched in lecture, I was sure that the orange circles were the same shade, while the person sitting next to me asserted that the grey circles were the same. What was true to me was not true to someone else, and even more unsettling was that what was true to me was not the truth at all but only my perception of reality. If knowledge is subject to our perception of reality based on our senses, culture, lived experience, etc., then our knowledge is simply a matter of opinion.


Week Two: Nature of opinions

Throughout the history of humanity fact and opinion have been notoriously difficult to separate. Religion has been a marker of mankind’s decisions, and beliefs for hundreds of years. Many religious teachings are widely accepted, yet the authenticity of these teachings remains unconfirmed. Even though many opinions are equated with facts by the majority (such as religion), that is not to say all opinions are factual or by any means equal in merit. Beliefs that are verified by experts, widely accepted, and “proven” are more factual than beliefs founded in emotions, biases, and without any possible way of confirmation (Imagine Easy Solutions, 2014). So even if many religious teachings are widely accepted, they are technically still matters of opinions, as they cannot be confirmed.

Yet, certain popular truths, such as the position of the earth in our universe (rotating around the sun) can be considered a fact, and not a matter of opinion, as it is supported with a plentitude of scientific evidence. As such, “given that logic and reasoning are not simply matters of opinion, these supported positions cannot be dismissed as being simply matters of opinion” (LaBossiere, 2007). All this to say that it isn’t possible to assert that all knowledge is a matter of opinion, as some beliefs are routed in more merit than others.

However, one of the great talents of mankind is our ability to be wrong, proven wrong and make mistakes. Consequently, information that is considered factual (beliefs that have merit), may be “proven” wrong with the use of more advanced technology. What I mean by this is humans are inherently biassed, whether or not we attempt to approach information neutrally. We are biassed in how we interpret data with our known information. New discoveries may change our current understanding of a natural phenomena, disproving the basis for our thought processes. The misinterpretation of information is seen throughout human history. Therefore, it would be a mistake to treat any information, even factual beliefs, as the absolute truth. Humans don’t really “know” anything. Numbers, words and even facts can be manipulated to suit our opinions and beliefs. Although some opinions are more factual than others, we as mankind are not capable of omniscience, we are in a perpetual state of proving and disproving beliefs.

Imagine Easy Solutions. (2014, Aug 25). How to Identify Fact vs. Opinion in Writing & Research[Video File]. Retrieved from

LaBossiere, Michael. (2007, Aug 26). Is philosophy just a matter of opinion? [web log comment]. Retrieved from

Week One: Exploring my vast hatred for technology?

Hello, I am an English and Professional Writing student in my first year at York University. I have journeyed far, originating from the dense forest wasteland of Fredericton, New Brunswick. My interests as well as my supposed identity, mimic greatly the stereotypes of my woodland people. I enjoy adventuring in the woods, preferably on a four-wheeler or snowmobile, and incorporating various selections of plaid into my everyday attire. My transition in a “city folk” is greatly motivated by my love for films, music, and literature. Toronto has much more opportunity to offer within such fields of study and employment.

I am nervous about recording my voice, and thereby the process of coming across somewhat entertaining and professional. Though I have been told I have an excellent face for radio (podcast), my voice is less suited for comfortable listening. However, I am excited for the opportunity to create a script, detailing my opinion. Manipulation through the use of language would certainly serve to be beneficial in my life.

Finally, when it comes to research tactics, the only strategy which I have used is peer collaboration (also known as mooching off your friends). Unfortunately, my peers often don’t research similar topics as I do, or even know of further research strategies, they too employ the peer collaboration method. I hope to learn ways to efficiently and thoroughly find reliable information, without the required assistance of my peers.


Hello, guys, I am Zheng Gong, third year film study student. I am a basketball fan, love playing and watching basketball. However, since I am an international student, after I come to Canada, it’s bit hard to involve myself in a team that can play together. The reason could be culture gap, busy studying. So, recently, I find myself gradually lost passion in basketball. I try to explore other sports such as swimming.

I really want to have fun with this course, and express the podcast with my own words. Sometimes, i just too serious with my essay, and i am afraid my words would be inaccurate. Last semester, one of my TA commented on my essay that I just stitch and paste other peoples’ words without my own words. This semester, I WANNA BE CHILL AND RELAXED TO EXPRESS MY WORDS.

A research shortcut for me is to borrow books such as “they say i say“, “fit to print“, or go to writing center to learn and ask how to do the research. But as I said, I am bit too serious and tight in my assignment, so, It’s better to express idea around interests in various media format, rather than lifeless paper essay. I still remember in my first year course “Making media“ , I used final cut pro, an editing software to create a video essay in the topic of sexuality in Japanese new wave film. Although I didn’t know how to narrow down the topic, or use articles as reference, I excitedly spent at least 20 hours for that project. Just feel great to engage my interest in my own words!

Hope I can find the way to avoid lifelessness in the podcast




Hi all!

To keep things simple, we are creating and updating THREE blog posts each.

  1. The first blog post, titled PHASE ONE, will contain entries from weeks 1 through 4.

  2. The second blog post, titled PHASE TWO, will contain entries from weeks 5 through 8.

  3. The third blog post, titled PHASE THREE, will contain entries from weeks 9 through 12.

You’ll use headers to separate weekly entries as you edit & update the blog posts you’re working on.

Note that this assignment is worth a hefty amount of your course grade. Treat each blog post seriously. While your tone can stray from formal here and there, your posts should be thoughtful, well researched, and carefully considered.

While your TA will be checking for weekly blog post completion, they will be grading for substance after each blog is complete (week 4, week 8, week 12).

Formatting instructions, the schedule of prompts, and assessment information is available here.

Dr Bell

Dr. Bell is the Director of York University's Writing Centre and a professor in the Writing Department's Professional Writing degree program. She spends her time devising ways of using critical pedagogy to support students' understanding of and commitment to academic and professional integrity. The podcast course is a result (and continuation) of one such experiment.