Phase I

Week II: tHaT’s mY OpiNiOn!

In philosophy, the term for the belief system that all knowledge is merely opinion is Relativism. The two arguments I’d like to present against this thought process are simple.

First, let us consider the existence of indisputable facts. For example, exact value of the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second. This is a universal physical constant and is irrefutable. Like the number seconds in a minute or the number of minutes in an hour, these are evidence based and scientifically proven. Verifiable truths, such as the figures previously mentioned, would not exist if we believed that all we know is simply a matter of opinion.

Now, the second and glaring problem with believing that all knowledge is a matter of opinion is, that statement itself, is paradoxical. If one believes that everything is opinion, by that logic, it can be argued that, that very belief is merely an opinion and can be easily discarded. This renders the entire claim moot as the only way one can argue that everything is unquestionably “just an opinion” is if one believes the very claim that everything is a matter of opinion is definitive fact, which is both contradictory and hypocritical.

That is a wrap on my philosophy crash course on Relativism. Check back next week when we dive head first into at an extremely pertinent topic in today’s world!


Ash SK

Week I: Mic check 1, 2

Hello! You can call me Ash. I’m fairly certain you’ve heard the accent by now, so I might as well tell the story now, so you aren’t entirely confused later. My mother is South Indian, my father is Malaysian and the first couple years of my life I grew up communicating in either Tamil or Malay. They were adamant to instill their culture in me as soon as I started speaking, which, at 6 months, was unusually early. To continue the trend, I started preschool at 2 and a 1/2 because I was too bored, or too talkative (depending on which parent you ask) to keep at home. Until I was 4 and a 1/2, I attended an entirely Malay preschool before they moved me to a tiny institution had 2 main teachers, my British homeroom teacher and my Australian elementary headmistress. The first time I heard English, it was spoken the way I speak it now. And, as they say, the rest is history…

I must warn you, I have lived in and out of Canada from when I was 7 years old, so the accent does wax and wane from a very normal Canadian one to the convoluted Australian/British mix depending on my level of comfort.

Now that that’s out of the way, there’s not much more that is as interesting about me. I am trying so hard to keep an open mind whilst I reenter university life after having taken a medical break and dealt with a lot in all aspects of my life. I am a strong and vocal advocate for intersectional Human rights. Which is ideal because I’m doing a double major in Human Rights and Equity Studies and Professional Writing. I enjoy stories in all their forms, whether it’s movies, tv shows, short films, podcasts, web series’ books, etc. Since this course offers me the opportunity to be the one telling it for a change, I hope to produce some exciting content.

A shortcut often used for research is Wikipedia summaries to generate core ideas and opinions and use the linked references as one’s own references without having read the piece. This would be helpful as a starting point, to help find a direction to focus research. It is also useful in case the student doesn’t know very much about the topic, since Wikipedia is a useful summarizing tool. However, it’s very limiting in the amount of detail and accurate information it provides when looking into the researched topic. Not reading the source materials and understanding what its entire point is means there is a higher chance of misunderstanding or miscommunicating the source. It also may not provide a complete picture of all aspects of the topic, since using only Wikipedia is sometimes outdated and unreliable. Good research requires analysis, which would not be complete without considering all points and fully exploring the facets of the topic. I hope to have conveyed my thoughts on the question clearly.


Ash SK

Phase One

Why My Opinion is the Right Opinion.

Two summers ago on a cool August day in the Yukon, I had a blow out fight with my dad over a Secondary School in BC removing John A. McDonald from it’s name. I remember this night distinctly because it was one of the only nights when it was just the two of us at home. My dad had cooked a beautiful salmon dinner with his famous Caesar salad and I was looking forward to some father daughter time before I had to head back to Toronto.

It started pretty low key, a simple comment about the recent discussion in the news, then “What do you think, Dad? Do you agree with the decision to remove John A. McDonald from their name?,”

It didn’t take long for us to realize that we had a very big difference in opinion on the matter. I was all for the removal of the name, and my dad was against it.

The problem was, I couldn’t stop there. I couldn’t just listen to his opinion, share mine and move on. No, I felt personally attacked by his difference in opinion. How could he be so ignorant!? So insensitive to the actions of John A McDonald and the negative impacts they continue to have on indigenous communities today!? My own father!

The fight ended with me storming out of the room after telling my dad he was an ignorant, old white man. I later had to swallow my ego and apologize about the name calling.

The fight with my dad is very reminiscent of the only fight I’ve ever had with my boyfriend that ended in us sleeping apart. A fight about a difference in political opinion on one issue! The funny thing is, I can’t even remember what that issue was anymore!

So what is an opinion? An opinion is an expression of one’s views or judgement. This can be based on facts, but is not necessarily. In fact, the amazing things about opinions is that they are more often shaped by our own life experience, values, belief system, and people whom we surround ourselves with.

The truth is,I love my own opinion, I like other people who agree with me and share the same opinion and I tend to show less respect to those who don’t share my opinion. That being said, I think the very best way to learn about anything is to have discussions with people who have opposing opinions to yourself. It is usually a difficult and taxing conversation that leaves us questioning literally everything , but at the end of the day it is the only way for us to even try to understand all the complexities of humanity. Opinions are a cool and frustrating thing!

Nice to Meet You, I’m Simone!

Hi Everyone!

My name is Simone and I am pursuing my undergrad in Political Science. This is my first semester back at school after taking a year and a half off! I graduated in 2017 with a Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Seneca. Since then I’ve worked in TV production, Theatre, Radio and I’ve spent 6 months travelling around Southeast Asia and Europe. So needless to say, I’ve enjoyed the break from academic life.

I love writing. Mostly I write screenplays and sketch comedy, but I also enjoy writing about politics and social issues. I’m always trying to find ways to get paid for my writing and am hoping to someday make a living as a freelance writer.

I love the research process because not only do I get the chance to deepen my factual understanding of a subject, but it also allows me to explore different perspectives and points of view. I often find myself becoming obsessed with views that oppose mine and spending hours trying to quantify the opposing view.

A research tactic that I find helpful is finding people to speak with/interview in person as opposed to just reading about a topic. This allows the opportunity to get specific answers to any questions you have. It can also help to narrow the focus/angle of your story. A professional or someone who has a personal experience in the topic you’re writing about is a good place to start.

I often fall into the trap of not citing enough academic sources. With the broad selection of non-academic articles that are available online, I usually get lazy about reading academic papers. This can be limiting in helping me to gain a more in depth and well rounded understanding of a subject

I am really excited about the podcast project because I enjoy making podcasts. I like the production aspect as well as the writing aspect. From brainstorming different sound clips to playing foley artist as you try to create the desired sound to coming up with the perfect wording for your script- it’s all very fun and challenging!

I’m looking forward to this class.

Phase One


I have opinions, so do you. We all have opinions. Even the one who can never seem to make up their mind, there surely comes a time in life when they also experience having several opinions about the most tiniest things. And there isn’t anything wrong with it because it shows that you have a voice, an input in a topic for you fellow peers. However, do we think that all opinions are the same as facts? It’s debatable. What about knowledge? Is knowledge simply a matter of an opinion? A striking difference between the two is that knowledge by definition is always true, whereas opinion can be either true or false. The reason being so, the former is backed up by solid research and studies and the latter isn’t. If we go by this method, then knowledge clearly wins because of the evidence.

But, what happens if an opinion is as strong as the research. Let’s take an example from the popular sitcom Friends. For those who haven’t seen it, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of it considering the popularity level. It’s the one where Heckles dies. In the episode Phoebe and Ross argue over Evolution. Basically, Phoebe drives Ross mad with her refusal to accept that Evolution is a scientifically proven. Ross who is a professor cannot stand her opinion. By the end of episode, Ross loses to Phoebe. “How?” you may ask. Its because, even though her opinion wasn’t supported by any facts, it was just so well constructed that it left Ross speechless.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that Evolution is incorrect or anything. All I am saying is that the juxtaposition of the statement “knowledge is a matter of opinion” is indeed real. Since, if one wants to perceive something in a certain way, then no one can probably stop them. So, how about we just accept each other’s opinions unless it’s threatening someone’s existence. Then let’s use the entire universe’s knowledge to stop them!!!


Hello everyone,

My name is Harsha Gehani. I’m 20 years old and in my first year here at York University. My major is English and Professional Writing and I transferred from The Canadian University in Dubai where I studied for a year.

In my free time I love to read, write, listen to music. I am known to be the bibliophile in my friend circle due to my insane book collection. Some of my favorite books are Herman Hesse’s “Demian”, Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Those Who Walk Away From Omelas” and I have just recently started reading J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” which I think is slowly but, surely becoming my favorite.

In all honesty, I don’t have much plans for the future and am just going with the flow. As of now, my only educational aspiration is to acquire my Honors degree in English and Professional Writing.

When I first enrolled in the course, I didn’t really know what exactly to expect simply because the name was kind of a giveaway — that it would be a research course. I have never taken a research course before so, this was very new to me. Once I was able to view the syllabus, I can say with assurance that I never thought it would be so contrasting to the regular research assignments I’ve done before, in a good way of course. However, as I was reading through, an assignment that really caught my attention was creating our own “podcast”. I do enjoy listening to them but having to record my voice for 20 whole minutes had me in a nervous fit. Nevertheless, as the slides were uploaded I calmed down a little since, it explained a lot more in detail. I also, convinced myself that it’d be good to step out of my comfort zone. After I read through everything that was uploaded under this course in Moodle, I found myself gaining interest in all the components of it. It’s new, refreshing and challenging which got me feeling excited.

As regards to the research tactics, I always make use of technology at its most. One thing that I am certain about is no matter what the topic is, never ever use Wikipedia. The website is informative still, it doesn’t have the uniqueness that we all need in our research projects. Another way to find some different information is through books. Considerably, it takes a larger amount of time to dig through the rows of shelves however, majority of times it provides you with a whole new world of knowledge.

Despite the fact that I am feeling a little anxious about the upcoming assignments, I’m also looking forward to the new learning opportunities this course will bring.

Thank you for reading!

Phase One

Hello, everyone! My name is Zainab. I am 22 years old, and I am a first year student in the English & Professional Writing program. I am extremely excited to be studying what I am. More grateful, than excited. I have always been a writer at heart - I have years of diary entries to prove that. I have turned to writing during different times throughout my story and no chapter is officially closed until it is written on paper. It is not always easy for me to write. In fact, when I avoid it is when I know I must. I am unsure about what exactly I want to do in the future, but that fact that I get to do what I want right now is more than enough for me. I have been teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies for the past two years and love all of my students! Teacher’s college is always a possibility at the end of this. I am close to my faith, and am always trying to get closer. I am also the Academic Director of the Muslim Student’s Association here at York. I am a reader and often have more than one book on me, which means my bag is quite heavy. I also might be a coffee addict but it’s not too much of a problem yet.

One tactic that helps me when doing my research is to organize all of my thoughts onto paper first. I write everything down, and then I challenge myself by looking at the given topic in many different angles. I also love to see what other people think about whatever it is I’m studying so I can get a good look at the different ways the topic can be approached. Social media makes it very easy for us to begin to understand the many different perspectives people have. Another tactic I have picked up (as many people have already listed below) is Google Scholar. It is Google, but smarter. Who wouldn’t love that?

Phase One

Week 1

My name is Ali Sadoon, I am a first-year student, hoping to double major in Geography and Communication studies. Having learned a trade and entering the workforce at 16 years of age, I took the more untraditional route to university. I enrolled in online courses, as well as brick-and-mortar adult education centres, only after realizing that I still had a hunger for knowledge, as well as the finances to invest in my personal growth, as I had climbed up the corporate ladder in my company to a management position. I acquired my secondary school diploma sometime in my early twenties, and subsequently, the university prerequisites with which I was admitted into York at 23 years of age. My life experiences thus far, though slightly divergent of the societal norm, have installed in me a work ethic and discipline that I think is of paramount value to me in my effort thrive in my undergraduate studies, and perhaps even gain admission to a reputable law school.

 In my free time, I very much enjoy reading, although my interest in literature has evolved since my adolescence, and the fictional fantasies I once enjoyed have been replaced with texts pertaining to philosophy, politics, political psychology, and the like. Although I usually only write when I must, I find that when I do, I quite enjoy the process. Some of my time is spent watching videos on YouTube, the likes of which are almost always strictly educational in their nature. I mostly watch videos pertaining to bodily health, and philosophy, although I would also watch news clips, from both Liberal and Conservative networks. I also enjoy listening to university lectures occasionally, as well as talks and interviews done with various personalities with a strong online presence.

 Although I have absolutely no experience in podcasting, nor am I very tech savvy, when I learned of the course project, I found myself fill with excitement. I feel that I most enjoy working in settings where creativity and free speech is not limited, but rather encouraged. I feel this project does just that, it encourages my free thought, while the course work simultaneously teaches me new and invaluable skills that are quite relative to the post-post-modern age that we seem to be entering.

 Regarding the research tactics and shortcuts utilised by other students, I would think that Google and Wikipedia would be the platforms most used to gather information. People do tend to take the top hits on Google as the most credible, and this is very detrimental approach to take when conducting research, due to the financial motives Google must have to post links to specific sites to the top of the list, as opposed to the bottom, among the other motives Professor Bell outlined in class. I believe another such “shortcut” taken by some, perhaps more unintelligent students, is plagiarism. This was indicated to me by the plethora of warnings of plagiarism I have received in my courses, as well as on the various, York University affiliated websites. Such tactics are limiting in that academic dishonesty has a lasting, and damaging effect on the student’s reputation, as well as being detrimental to their own psyche.

Thank you for reading,



Week 2


 I feel that knowledge can be either a strong opinion, or hard facts, depending on one’s philosophical view of knowledge and the world we live in. Two people may hold different opinions, believing their opinions to be knowledge, but with one of those individuals’ opinions being knowledge, with the other upholding a false assumption. In this case we see, one’s opinion also may fit into the category of knowledge, if we think of opinions in this way. The perhaps more academic approach to the matter is to dismiss all matters of which a consensus has not been reached as simply opinions. I would consider opinions backed up with hard evidence as strong opinions, but not factual, until which time said opinions are deemed legitimate, by most experts and/or professionals in that subject matter. One could have a knowledge of philosophy, or a knowledge of the works of Plato or Socrates, whose respective opinions pertaining to the subject of philosophy, are considered knowledge of philosophy. I would also consider the Pythagorean theorem as knowledge of mathematics, and likewise, Newton’s Third Law as knowledge pertaining to physics. One could argue that even the hard facts of mathematics and physics were rooted in the subjective outlooks and original opinions of creative individuals, and that the earliest ideas in such subject matters were simply strong opinions, validated over time by consistent consensus among scholars, academic institutions, and the like. Here we see, that the argument may become a logical fallacy of sorts, as a similar argument could be made to the origins and validity of the very words, “knowledge” and “opinion”.

Thanks for reading, and see you next week!


Phase One

Week One:

Hey! My name is Katerina and I am a transfer student. I was in another program last year doing something that I thought I really wanted to do, but that’s also the year that I truly realized how much I love writing. So, I switched courses and am now doing English and Professional Writing. I absolutely love it so far as it’s teaching me so much, and also pushing me to do my very best. This year has helped my skills grow, and I’m looking forward to see how much my writing skills can develop in this program. Other than writing in my free time I also love to paint, sketch, etc. I’m really into the visual and written arts in general. I also love to read books and graphic novels. I also love to listen to music although my taste is very diverse and is honestly whatever ‘sounds good’. The podcasts I listen to always have a comedic aspect to it because I think those are personally the most enjoyable. 

A research tactic that I personally use is to completely clear my mind of anything that I think I know or that I know about the topic so I have an open mind. I find this the most helpful because there’s a less likely chance that ill formulate my assignment with a bias. It’s been working well for me so far and hasn’t let me down yet! 

Week 2:

Since in lecture we covered that opinions vary from person to person, and is almost completely subjective. Although, in lecture we also covered how these opinions could be backed up by facts and evidence. Like for example ‘the best coffee’ (what we put in – cream, sugar, etc.), is very much subjective and varies entirely on each individual taste pallet. A real-life example is that I love my Tim Horton’s coffee with 2 creams and 2 sugars (double-double), although my best friend thinks that my combo is horrible. She on the other hand thinks that the best coffee is with no cream, no sugar, only 6 shots of espresso. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (even though I’m totally confident my coffee taste is the better of the 2!). But, some things that are – or can be backed up with facts – which is knowledge. Knowledge is thoroughly research and based on studies, facts, and can be proven.


Week 1: Hi everyone, I’m Katrin! I am 19 and in my first year of English and Professional Writing at York University. I had two English teachers in high school that inspired me to write and appreciate the language for more than just a simple definition. So now, here I am, diving into the world of reading and writing- professionally.

I live in a small town called King City, and I tend to prefer smaller towns than big busy cities. In the future, I hope to become some sort of public speaker or teacher. Personally, I find the most difficult thing to write about is myself. I love poems, music, tv shows, movies, and most importantly- I love food. I believe in trying anything at least once in your life. Why is it that people say they are opposed to something, when they’ve never experienced it?!

Before the first lecture, I had no idea that the goal of the class was to produce a podcast. I’m used to applying research to strictly written work, and not putting it into spoken word. So, I am very excited to learn more about podcasts and story telling, and finally create my own.

Week 2: There is a fine line between an “opinion” and “a matter of opinion”. Opinion formation can develop from education, social influence, and a number of other factors. Opinions do not particularly have to be facts, but have the potential to be proven. A matter of opinion, however, is extremely relative to a person and/or the situation they are in. A matter of opinion can neither be proved or disproved because of this relativity it holds. I had a conversation about this topic with one of my coworkers, and we went back and forth vocalizing our opinions on whether or not facts were once opinions. Not everyone agrees with certain facts. Take flat-earther’s for example, they disagree with the fact that the world is round. Think about it, all facts are just widely believed opinions. But, that is just my opinion, after all ;).

Phase One

I’m Yonatan Gershon, first-year student of the Professional Writing Honors Program. I have no idea why they put me in the Honors version, and it honestly seems like just extra work (120 credits needed instead of 90), which probably won’t pay off because writing jobs care more about your portfolio than your grades, but here I am anyway. I don’t know how to make myself seem interesting, so I’m hoping just mentioning that fact will tip the scales, such that this post seems original rather than just whiny. I’m also hoping I don’t sound bitter - fingers crossed.

I write a lot. Actually, I tend to get increasingly antsy any time I’m not writing. My thought process when picking a major was to ask myself what I’m good at, which I can also do well even when it gets hard and/or tedious. Writing was the only thing that popped to mind. That’s why I’m here, above all else, I suppose.

Nonfiction is most of what I write, and sources are usually required to support your claims. Trouble is, most sources suck, and it’s hard to recognize unless you’re actively expecting it. Sometimes, a whole group of news outlets will do this fun thing where they all reference each other, like one gigantic circle, and the original piece was just made up by one of them without an actual source - they count on you not to check, and so they get away with it. Right now, my main referencing tactic is to stubbornly keep looking for a reliable source, until I either find it, or I manage to swallow my pride and let go of whatever amazing-yet-unsupported point I was trying to make. It’s kind of a draining process and I’m hoping this class will teach me something new on that - maybe not new referencing techniques, but at least the ability to do this more efficiently.



Opinions are something we all have: it is what makes up who we are as people. Everything from our values and our philosophy to our likes and dislikes are things that are true in our opinion. It’s interesting to also note that these opinions make up the facts of who we are. Me believing in God or me disliking mushrooms are my opinions but these are facts about me. 

The blog post about whether philosophy is an opinion is interesting. I feel like I don’t agree with what the author is saying, that philosophy is not an opinion. I would say that philosophy is an opinion of sorts. Yes, opinions are things that are backed up with facts and knowledge, but the overall idea is subjective, and everyone has a different opinion on it. For instance, the matter of free will versus determinism is one big philosophical idea. I could say I believe that everything is predetermined for us, and I could state the arguments that this view supports. However, there is still the fact that the other view exists, and this other view has its own arguments supporting it. These opposing sides both have truthful facts, yet people have their own opinion on what they feel is the right.


Hello! My name is Hannah and I am in second year doing English and Professional Writing. This year is when I switched into this major and I am really excited to see where this road will take me. I wouldn’t call myself a writer, but I do want to become one so I'm hoping somewhere along the line my writing skills will grow. I love books and reading (though I find that these days reading has been replaced with Netflix). I wouldn’t call myself a shopaholic, but leave me in a mall for a couple hours and I am leaving there with a few bags.I love pop music, classical music and a little bit of show tunes, and I love podcasts! My favourite ones are Reply All by Gimlet Media and Serial by This American Life (I binged listened to this because the case of Adnan Syed was so interesting: I recommend to everyone!).

The course project is actually what drew me to taking this course (other than the fact that it is a required course for this major). I am always trying to find outlet for my creativity and I’m hoping that this could be one way for me to do that.

A research tactic that I use is to first start with getting to know my topic. I first do a simple Google search to get a better idea of what it is I am looking at and where to start digging deeper. After, I check the library databases to see what articles will come up. However, for me I always find that I never find anything useful in these databases; I think it’s a matter of using the right words, but I like using Google Scholar. I find my best articles come from there, as they search all different databases and you are not limited to looking through one at a time.

Phase One

Week One

Hello everyone, my name is Emily and I am a 21-year-old exchange student from Berlin. I am studying English & Professional Writing here at York for the Fall 2018 and the Winter 2019 term, whereas at home I study German Literature and American studies. My biggest passion is reading basically whichever book I get into my hands, but most recently I am focusing on literature that is considered to be feminist. I am very interested in that field as well as in European and North American politics. Considering this I am overly excited about the course project and looking forward to dive deep into a feminist or politic related opinion piece. Although the podcast and not only writing but also recording myself in a language that isn´t my first is kind of frightening me, I am also thankful for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and increase my knowledge on topics I am really passionate about.

Speaking for myself a research tactic commonly used by me and my fellow students is using the References section on Wikipedia. It is an extremely easy way to start your research as you have a Wikipedia entry on nearly every topic you can think about and this is most of the time the first thing that shows up when you google a topic. It is extremely helpful to start your research this way as there are many sources already listed for you and you don´t have to start from scratch.

Week Two

We live in a diverse world where many people have different opinions on topics and I believe that this diversity is a good base for discussion. Having an opinion is important for each individual. Opinions are developed mostly based on education and surroundings, but also through the media and social media and are therefore very subjective.

As for all knowledge being simply a matter of opinion I am not so sure that this is true. As the YouTube video states, an opinion is subjective, based on emotion rather than facts and open to interpretation. Knowledge is (most of the times) something that is based on facts and can therefore be proven as wrong or right. To be more precise, we defined a matter of opinion in the lecture as “something not being capable of being proven either way“. Therefore I don’t think it is possible to assert that all knowledge is simply a matter of opinion.

PHASE ONE- Matter of opinion

Week 2

For the past few generation human being in power have been imposing their belief to rule society. This imposition of one's belief began an uprisal of individualism, where each human being shared a different opinion. Nowadays that society is filled with individualist; everyone carries a different belief or opinion that opposes another. So, as a society, especially our Canadian society, in order to avoid conflict we have chosen to view all beliefs as merely a matter of opinion. It would be wrong to assert that all knowledge is merely a matter of opinion because actually what is an opinion? An opinion is subjective, based off emotions and open to interpretation, physics is not is not based off emotions, and it is not opened to interpretation hence it would be wrong to assert that all knowledge is merely a matter of opinion. Above all, an opinion cannot be proven right, therefore certain things such as philosophy, and language, in general, is just a matter of opinion, but not all knowledge is a matter of opinion.


Hello Everyone! My name is Silja Mitange; I am 18 years old and a first-year student in the Professional Writing Program. I was born in Luanda, Angola ( it is in the southwest of Africa) but raised in Toronto, Canada (fun fact: I am fluent in both English and Portuguese.

Growing up, I always preferred language above all school subjects, whether it was English or Portuguese. I practiced musical theatre and dance throughout High school, but all of those skills were just hobbies to me, no matter the amount of positive feedback I received from all my instructors. Long story short,  I had an epiphany. Yes, at the age of 18! (I have had more in the past). I realized that I was unaware of the gifts that God placed within me ( I am also a follower of Christ). So, after studying both sciences and arts, I realized that it was time to leap into the unknown, trust in the Lord and use the tools he gave me to move forward, because believe it or not ladies and gentlemen, I was not going to major in the arts, let alone go to university. Now here I am, at York University habitually writing, The Lord is gracious, and I am grateful.

 Thereupon, I am excited to use my skills and gain more in return as we begin this project.


Phase 1 - Introducing Me

My name is Ayesha Boison, a 19 year old, second-year student in the professional writing program. A born and raised Torontonian, with a background of Ghana. I love the colour blue, cheese, anime, kpop, music (not really country though, sorry), sleeping, eating and writing. I only realized I loved writing at some point in grade 10 of high school - all that time before I thought I was just a control freak about how things should be written. I especially love writing and reading fiction. There usually always wild and weird ideas for stories, characters, and worlds floating around in my head - sometimes even early in the morning like at 3 a.m. I aspire to become an author of young adult fiction - and are currently working on my first novel…

I am feeling absolutely topsy-turvy, nervous, anxious, and tongue-tied about this project.

A research tactic/shortcut that I think is commonly used by undergrads is only researching/using sources that aren’t academic, such as articles, anything that isn’t ‘peer reviewed’. This is helpful when students can’t really find academic sources for their topic, and mainly articles (magazine, news) are discovered quite easily and seem to have the info we want/need. This can be limiting because we aren’t expanding mush of our knowledge which can mostly happen with peer reviewed sources that have much more essential , in-depth, and critical information.

Week 2 - Opinionated

In Michael LaBossiere’s article he says that ‘philosophy begins with an opinion”, so perhaps it is safe to say that all knowledge begins with an opinion - mainly objective ones, and later it is either proven (becoming a fact) or denied with research. With subjective opinions (matter of opinions), it’s more so a personal judgement about something, and not something that can potentially become knowledge. It’s a distinctive belief that isn’t reasoned or supported with credible evidence, therefore it’d be easy to dismiss. Knowledge is indeed not ‘a matter of opinion’ at all - not possible really. Knowledge is facts, information, and skills discovered (at times stumbled upon as objective opinions), researched, and proven through experience or education. If all knowledge was ‘simply a matter of opinion’, the world would be quite misleading since, ‘everyone is entitled to an opinion’, and not all opinions are equally good, so it would be hard to tell the good opinions from the bad.

Week 3 - Fan-fiction in a Nutshell

Phase 1

Week 1

My name is Sophie Corbiere and I am in the English and Professional Writing program. I was born and raised in Toronto and I love the big city and the many diverse neighbourhoods it has. I went to French schools since kindergarten but my passion has always been in English Literature. I hope to become an author in the future. I graduated from high school in 2005, so I am a bit older than the typical University student but this means I have more life experience and motivation to do better as I know what the alternatives are and I am determined to achieve my goals now that I’ve been given a chance to pursue them. The idea of creating a podcast is very daunting to me but I am willing to go on the journey and I hope I learn skills that I might be able to use in my future career.

I love to read and write, listen to music and I love to travel. I’ve always been able to tell a good story-I love to weave together an intriguing story that entices your imagination and takes you to another place. I also love listening to a good story, the joy of getting lost in another life is thrilling. The good thing about living in a diverse metropolitan is that there is always someone with an interesting story if you have enough time and patience to listen.

Week 2

Week Two

The ‘nature’ of opinion is subjective, by definition. In Lecture Professor Bell defined an opinion as “a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge” and a matter of opinion as “something not capable of being proven either way”.

Therefore, an opinion is just someone’s personal beliefs, based on their lived experience which may or may not take into account facts about the chosen topic. It is subjective to each person’s world view which is based on many contributing factors such as race, culture, religion, political views, upbringing and so much more. It is however even more complicated because by this logic twins born and raised in the same household would be expected to have the same opinion on a given subject but this isn’t true by any means. An opinion can be shaped by so many different factors that it is almost impossible to name all of these influences.

Opinions are typically gut feelings, intrinsically inherent to our character, buried deep and forgotten until it is awoken by someone rattling its cage and forcing us to confront them. It is this deep critical thought, coupled with a curiosity for the truth, that is so important if we want to consider ourselves a free-thinking and independent society that doesn’t rely on the government or the media to control our thoughts and emotions. 


Week One - Hello… Olá…

Hello everyone, 

My name is Lisa, I am 23 years old and I'm a first year student in Portuguese & Luso-Brazilian studies. My goal is to become a certified Portuguese translator. The whole reason I chose this field is because I love the Portuguese language and culture. I lived in a Portuguese island named S.miguel from the Azores for 11 years and just moved to Canada 5 years ago, but the traditions from back home will always be a huge part of my life. To keep the traditions alive in my life, I joined a Portuguese Folk dance group here in Canada, and the practices are what I always look forward to at the end of the week. Other than my whole cultural side, I also love reading, watching movies, watching shows, listening to music and singing along while listening. I’m also a crazy cat lady, well not like everyone imagines a crazy cat lady to be, but just a girl who loves cats, I brought 3 cats with me to Canada from the island I used to live at, because they are my furr babies. My family members say that I have a wild imagination because I can take one topic or word and make a whole scene or story off of it, and just start imagining the weirdest out of the box story, most of the times unrealistic stories, but still a story.

This course makes me a bit nervous because I know how hard its gonna be to get out of my comfort zone, but thats also what makes me excited about it, because it challenges me. I chose this course because research comes in handy in many aspects of life, not only for professional writers, and there is always room for learning more. When it comes to research tactics I am a bit of a newbie. Most research I do is through google, which can be difficult because of the deceptive information you can find there sometimes, so its always important to be careful, if possible, it would be best to find a direct credible web page to get the right information.

Week Two - Opinion… Opinions…

Having facts is good and makes topics credential, but having opinions makes things a whole lot more fun, specially in such a diverse country we live in. Seeing other people’s opinions helps us learn about them, and yes opinions can be biased but there are enough people in the world to cover both the ‘for’ and ‘against’ of each topic, we just need to learn how to accept that not everyone is gonna have the same opinion, because how boring would the world be if we did?

About knowledge only being based on facts, I don’t agree with that, I think opinions although subjective can be considered knowledgeable, but then again that is just my opinion. 

Lisa Raposo

Phase 1

Week 1

Hey everyone I’m Victoria. I’m 18 years old and a 1st year criminology student here at York. Eventually law school would be an ideal for me but at the moment I’m not completely sure what I want to do as a career. I also consider myself to be quite the film, television, and book enthusiast (and whatever mediums of entertainment I can get my hands on). Creative writing has always been a hobby for me, eventually with a goal being to get behind a camera and make or take part in a short film at some point in the future. Some people I draw inspiration from and who put out content I really enjoy include (but are not limited to) Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Emmy Rossum, and the band The 1975. But my opinions and interests change with the wind, so that list can be very different next week.

In terms of research for undergraduate students, I would say I’m far from an expert in that field, which is why I chose to take this course in the first place. Also for the fact that the class seemed very practical and applicable to life outside the classroom as well. Though through my years of school, a resource that has never failed me is JSTOR. JSTOR is a really easy to navigate online data storage of various articles, peer reviewed sources and primary sources. All of the materials I have come into contact with on this website are very high quality and I would recommend this resource to any student who is having trouble researching anything.

Week 2

The thing about opinions is that everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one. When of course as we know in reality this would be quite impossible. An opinion is a judgement that a person carries about a specific thing, which does not have to be founded in any actual evidence. Whereas a fact is something that is proven to be and is undeniably true. An opinion can be proven or dis-proven. On a different plane a matter of opinion is a belief that is impossible to prove of disprove because it is relative and unable to be measured. An example of an opinion would be, that you think it will rain later in the day, which can be measured as later in the day it will either rain or not rain, which will then become fact.

Phase 1: Joline

Week Two (January 20, 2019)

Happy Sunday,

Tested out Audacity today and realized how bad my voice sounds. I already had Audacity before this class, so it’s good that I get to learn how to use some of its feature in this. Unfortunately I’m sick, so I sound congested. I hope everyone stays warm in this frigid weather.

Opinions are subjective, but also very tangible. Based on emotions and influences like culture, politics, race, where you live, or even on the type of people you’re around. It’s hard to state that all knowledge is ‘a matter of opinion’ because there are factors that can be determine or evidence can be provided. Especially when certain subjects are related to morality or specific events within history. As long as there’s available research or discussion, opinions will be present and a matter opinion would be considered when a subject can’t be proven.

Week One (January 11, 2019)

Hello everyone!

I’m Joline. I’m a Communication studies and Professional writing major who loves to write and main aim is to become a writer. I love creating stories in my spare time or watch YouTube videos analyses about writing books or movies. I also like reading, watching movies, and drawing. I usually gain inspirations for my writing from my surrounding and the movies I watch. I get inspired from movie directors like Guillermo del Toro, Quentin Tarantino, and Hayao Miyazaki; and Authors Mary Shelly, Charlotte Bronte. I’m excited, but also very nervous about creating a podcast because I’m a very solitary person and am trying to socialize more during my time in university, so this is a big step for me. I find that this course will be a good opportunity to learn a new skill that I can use outside of this class one day. My main research methods are Scholar’s Portal mostly, Scott Library’s online catalogues, and recently Google Scholar. I sometimes use google, but I find hard to differ from credible sources and opinion based websites and find that it’s best to use Scholar’s Portal to find peer reviewed articles. It’s very helpful when used for a popular or broad topics, but it’s harder to look for specific topics. These resources are my most recommend and can be very helpful. I hope that I have fun and wish myself luck.

Phase One

Week 2: Flames of Opinion

Opinions are a part of life for everyone. Answers to questions like, “How did you like our service?” “Do you find that attractive?” lead to discussions about how we feel about these and other things throughout the day. We give opinions on everything from how good something tastes to how effective the leadership of our country is, but much what we say could be classified as blowing hot air because it isn’t based on facts, but rather our own feelings and personal biases.

Merriam-Webster (2019) defines opinion as “a belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge.”

I find this definition interesting because it provides a little more insight than, perhaps, other definitions do into what an opinion really is. I imagine impressions as tiny sparks that grow into flames of opinion. Most of our opinions are usually unfounded, but with research and analysis we might be able to prove or disprove their validity. Fanning or dousing the flames, if you will.

When I meet someone new, I get an impression about them right away, but I’d need a bit more time and experience with that person to form an opinion. Until people tell me facts about themselves, that opinion is up for debate. The knowledge I gain about them will either validate my opinion, or make it moot. Without the facts, my opinion would just be a belief I cling to without real proof that it is right.

Opinions aren’t usually founded on anything concrete or substantial. We go out into the world, see people, places and situations, and then we decide how we feel about all these things without doing much speculation about facts. It could be argued that all the facts we recognized today are truly matters of opinion and we just haven’t realized it yet. All the bit of knowledge that seem indisputable now could be disproven in the future by anyone with enough time and resources to discover a counterargument for each one. There was a time when it was believed as fact that the world was flat. We’ve since learned that it is round.

Or is it?

Opinion. (2019). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from

Week One: Hiya!

Hey everyone, my name is Kim-Lee and I’m 24. I took Accounting in college, then took a break from school to get work experience and explore various fields. Now, I’m in my 1st year of English and Professional Writing and I want to go into public relations and editorial work. I wrote my first short story when I was 10, published a novel when I was 17 and have been freelancing as an editor since 2011. When I’m not writing, I spend a good chunk of my time watching cringe-worthy YouTube videos and looking at Instagram tutorials. I asked a friend to describe me in a word once and she said, “wanderlust.” She wasn’t wrong—I tend to float between places, people, perspectives, and so on, but the one thread that holds all my feelings and faces together is writing.

So, having a podcast project definitely took me by surprise, but in a good way. I’ve dabbled with the idea of doing a podcast before, but usually wandered off and found something else to do (listening to your own voice is mortifying) so I’m totally up for the challenge of not hiding behind words anymore and bringing my voice into things. One tip I love to share with other students is this: if you’re feeling stuck and don’t have a clue what to put down, just free write. Grab a blank sheet of paper and write any old thing. Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you are writing. Do that for 5-10 minutes and then take a break and go through all your recommended reading and other sources for your topic material. Come back to your random free write and pick something sensible out of the mess that you can use to start your actual assignment. I know it sounds weird as heck, but it works. Mix random creativity with organized research. The goal is to get out of the rut and get your brain juices flowing!

Phase 1


Hi all, I’m Matteo. I’m 19 and I’m a 1st Year Student in Professional Writing. I took that major because I want to be an Author and Literary Agent, so I actually really like editing things for people. I spend most of my time writing (I’ve been working on a sci-fi trilogy since I was 15 and it pretty much runs my life now) and if I’m not doing that then I’m probably drawing. It’s a goal of mine to someday write a graphic novel. I love Marvel movies, and Broadway, and bad 90s punk music. My friends keep telling me I should do podcasts (which is probably just a nice way of saying I talk to much), so I’m really excited to do this project!

As far as researching goes, I don’t consider myself an expert, but my one tip is Google Scholar: it filters out any ‘un-reputable’ sources and leaves you with academic links. In addition to this, I usually do the good old ‘Ctrl F’ when I get into the file, just to skip to things I’m looking for. The only downside is that it’s super streamlined, so you might miss something if you’re not looking for it. Make sure you do a quick skim of the article, even if ‘Ctrl F’ doesn’t bring up anything you’re looking for.


We’ve been creating ideas for centuries, and then fighting each other over which one’s correct, just, ‘valid’ and not ‘problematic’. At the end of the day, it really comes down to previous biases, or how you’re raised. I think of my father, because the two of us seem to differ on absolutely everything, and the phrase “well it’s my opinion that…” seems to float constantly around my house. When these issues come up, and I’m fuming because I can’t understand how he thinks like that, I have to sit down and see things through his eyes, and how he’s made that opinion. I have to think about his strict Italian upbringing, his low-middle class life, even that he was a youngest sibling (as a kid, that was perfect fodder: “well you don’t get what it’s like to be the oldest”). Maybe it doesn’t make either of us correct, but it gives new insight.

Our opinions are like a complex algorithm, nearly predictable. Everything we’ve seen, heard, felt, changes how we perceive things. A highly astute person could probably predict what I’ll say about the newest political event, based on how I felt about the last one. We really are creatures of habit, instinct. Our ‘opinions’ come down to who we are, and it’s not until we realize our biases and privileges that we can fully round out how we think of the world.


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.