Final Reflection

It’s been a long fifteen week semester. A total of sixteen credit hours and most of my free time dedicated to one class: WRT160. No, this isn’t a sad attempt at sucking up for pity points. It’s a sad yet proud fact that I’ve been working so hard on projects in class. If it weren’t for this class, I probably wouldn’t be able to complete any essay in my later classes.

Coming into WRT160, I didn’t really have any expectations other than learning APA format. A bit blunt to admit how naïve I was but I’m reasonable enough to admit my flaws. Upon departure from this class, I can say that I learn much more than just APA formatting. The critical reading that was imposed by Sondra Perl’s lengthy article on unskilled college writers is a notable early reading. Not only did I have to read most of what she had to say but I also had to apply it to myself and then I had to write an essay about it. Of course, there were little companion articles related to it but they were smaller and just help to understand more of what Perl was saying. In all they gave a more in depth view to what Perl couldn’t in her more than thirty page article. This is hardly what critical thinking can be used for. In terms of my major, during translating word choice is key. If I’m translating a business meeting and I use the wrong word, I just potentially just ruined an entire deal. If I used my critical thinking skills to study more about Japanese business, I could then relate that to the deal I previously potentially botched.

The most important lesson I’ve taken from this course was the research methods, mostly primary and secondary.  In Unit 2, primary research was used in order to collect the thoughts and feelings, via surveys, of the common Oakland student on the topic of expanding the Oakland Center. The main point of primary research is to collect information that hasn’t been collected before. What I did with the pure numbers aspect of the data was a bit of math work. The data was input and made into charts. This is completely different from both Units One and Three. Unit One was comprised of primary research through the recording of myself while writing and of the secondary research conducted by Sondra Perl. Unit Three was a bit easier. Much less math involved than Unit Two, thankfully. In Unit Three, like Unit One, primary research was implemented and secondary research was scoured. For my project, I thought of different combinations of shampooing, conditioning, and the additional oil application. The two styles of research were vastly different but are both equally valuable research methods. The data collected from Unit Three is vastly different from Unit Two. Unit Three was qualitative as Unit Two was quantitative. Thus bringing forth a rift in primary research that I wasn’t aware of prior to this class.

I’d most likely apply APA formatting as well as primary and secondary research in my future Sociology as well as Marketing courses. Sociology is mostly a synthesis of previous theorists’ work into your own. While I lucked out of my SOC100 class and didn’t get any kind of essay assignment. I, however, can foresee an essay or two discussing which cities are based on the Hoyt or Chicago models of structure.  In Marketing, tons of different research can be implemented. I might be given the assignment of researching people’s thoughts on some product and its effect on certain members of society. In example, the marketing of potentially harmful products to young, impressionable children like the Frisbee that was also a bong marketed in the very early 1980s. Or which strategy of marketing is the most appealing to the eye at glance. People are shown five visual ads (posters or banners on the side of internet pages) then asked which ad was the most memorable. Both of which are both insightful to the fundamentals of Marketing.

What I’m most proud of overall and in my portfolio is my Unit 3 presentation. I enjoy presenting in front of people. Unlike the Unit Two presentation, which makes a close second on my list of most proud of projects, I was on my own for all of it. My proudest moments are usually when I do something on my own. Presentations are most likely my favorite scholarly activity. I say “most likely” because that could always change.

More often than not, if not all the time, I was forced to read and reply to my classmates’ papers online. Despite my constant of being online anyway, reading an entire essay online is both physically and emotionally draining to me.  Although the pain of staring at a computer screen is like tickling my corneas with a sewing needle, I dutifully reviewed others’ essays to the best of my ability. For each of our projects and a few of the minor assignments, the students were to read and respond to each other’s essays. Unit Three is a prime example. After reading Brandon’s essay, I responded with a thought of my own that wasn’t represented at all. What about those who pay car insurance? Are they affected by pothole problem as much as those who don’t have insurance?  Personally, I like to have a hard copy of what I have to review but I understand that my wants are irrelevant to others and I cannot just impose my will onto others because I have tact and manners. That being said, I enjoyed the Speed Dating activity that was done in class. We sat in two circles, one inside the other. The outer circle would switch seats and papers would be exchanged. Besides the obvious fact of my liking of holding hard copies, not only did I have someone from outside my assigned group read my paper, I got some pretty good advice that I probably wouldn’t have every gotten if we were to stay in groups. Laura pointed out that my intro of my essay was a bit, paraphrasing, stupid. I reconsidered what I originally wrote thanks to her.

Unit One, though focused on myself, was rather boring. I would, if at all possible, avoid situations where I’m forced to apply thirty pages worth of information to myself. Unit Two was more focus on what others think. That was slightly more enjoyable than the previous assignment. I just really enjoy presenting. Unit Three was the most enjoyable, as I’ve mentioned previously. Working alone is great! This class, though a mixture of both group and individual activities, was essential to the rest of my time here at Oakland University.

Procrastination of Unskilled College Writers

Possibly one of the hardest and longest projects I’ve had to force myself to finish. The amount of reading, applying, then rewriting was just way too much for me. The transcribing of just one of the recordings was around three hours. I had maybe four recordings. Luckily, just the sheer amount of junk said on the first recording was more than enough to capture how I write. In the end this set the foundation of the critical thinking skill set. For most of the Unit I was thinking, “Now that I’ve skimmed thirty pages about ten times, what does this mean?”

Oakland Center Group

This was the first presentation assignment given in class. My group was really laid back and we all got along fine. I’m happy with my grade on the presentation, not so much with the reflection of what I learned and all. Though not on the syllabus, yet still an important tidbit to know for future careers, is how to work as a team. At any workplace, I can be paired with the most disgusting pig or the uptight rulebook thumper. I’m sure I would be able to cope with them now. After all, I didn’t have much of a choice of who was in my group. As I mentioned earlier, we were laid back but some are more laid back than others.

Oils, Oils, and More Oils

This last project which consisted of an essay and a –if I might say ridiculously awesome- presentation. Unlike Unit 2, this was based solely on primary research. Not only was my primary research beneficial to my grade, being mandatory and all, but it was also beneficial to my scalp and hair growth. Overall, I think I had the most fun with this assignment. Learning about the differences in hair such as how many follicles are present within a square millimeter or that the main cause of dandruff is the fungus Malassezia. The assignment brought me to a whole world of knowledge that is definitely outside of my major. I was more interested in the secondary research than I was in Unit One. I suppose I combined what I learned in Units One and Two.




Perl, S. (2011) The composing processes of unskilled college writers. In E. Wardle &D. Downs (Eds.) Writing about Writing (pp. 191-217). Boston: Bedford/St.Martin



This should be fun to read…


I focus on which combination of oils and washing work best for the fight against dandruff in African American hair. I go about doing this by trying home remedies, recommendations from my hair dress, and products marketed towards African Americans. After three separate washes, I concluded that a mixture of coconut oil, argon oil, and olive oil infused shampoo and conditioner, when applied in a certain order, was the best option for my hair.

Oils, Oils, and more Oils

It’s often a common question, “Is African American hair actually different from Caucasian or Hispanic hair? Can they even be treated the same?” While all hair has basically the same chemical make-up, the distribution of lipids – specifically Keratin,  is thought to be different. (Berardesca, E., Leveque, J., Maibach, H. I. (2007)  On average African hair has about one-hundred and ninety hairs per square centimeter while their Caucasian counterparts have around two-hundred and twenty-seven hair per square centimeter. It should also be noted that, in the same set of research, African hair was found to grow on the daily average of two-hundred fifty-six micrometers as Caucasian grew three-hundred ninety-six micrometers. (Loussouarn, G., 2001, pages 294-297) Knowing these differences now, it is more than plausible to say that the two types at hand are very different and should be treated using various methods. From personal experience, I’ve had special shampoo prescribed by a doctor, oils, home remedies, and concoctions of different shampoos and conditioners applied to my scalp. Most, however, did barely a small indefinite amount to combat the ever encroaching dryness. So what combination of washing and oils would actually curb the amount of dandruff that occurs between washing?

Literature Review

When Dandruff isn’t Really Dandruff (2013), author by the screen name of sophie, is the most common place yet still factual telling of Malassezia. This article is for those that just want a short and simple answer to what could possibly cause dandruff. It doesn’t go as deep into detail about which scientist studied what and when. However, sophie does go to say that mainstream shampoos and conditioners are “loaded with chemicals [that] are often to blame for dandruff like symptoms.”(para 18)  Much like the actual fungus Malassezia, the chemicals “dry out” the hair and scalp.

In the excerpt of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Dawson, DeAngelis, Kaczvinsky), dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis are just two of the main scalp conditions caused by the rapid growth of new cells. As we all know, the outer layer epidermis is composed solely dead skin cells. These cells flake off naturally and the cells underneath rise up to take their place. Now when the yeast-like fungus Malassezia is present, the natural oils and lipids that are in the scalp and hair are “eaten” by Malassezia. When these oils are stolen, that leaves the scalp dry and more prone to dandruff as there is an overabundance of cells ready to flake off.

Malassezia is researched thoroughly in Hay’s article in the British Journal of Dermatology. Malassezia, previously named Pityrosporum, is a genus of fungi -meaning it is collection of fungus, not just one- associated with dandruff and seborrhic dermatitis. When fungus is high in number on a subject, the symptoms are more visible. There are also various diseases caused by this fungus such as Pityriasis versicolor and Malassezia Folliculitis. The former is the most common of skin infections. The pigmentation is “displaced”, similar in appearance to Vitiligo. Malassezia Folliculitis is a more serious infection that causes inflamation of the skin often leaving red blotchy areas on the skin.(2007)

The short article from the McClatchy – Tribune Business News demonstrates how others are looking to cope with the problem. More and more African Americans go to dermatologists because of scalp issues. What Dr. Jeaneen Chappell  noticed was that they would not wash their hair as much as she had prescribed. What she didn’t understand was that African American hair cannot be washed so frequently, as it will become very brittle. With the introduction of the [in the article] unidentified foam, dandruff could possibly be taken care of without excessive washing. While this sounds too good to be true, it’s only in the trail stage as the writing of the article.(Jackson H. (2011)

Lastly in the second of the two excerpts of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Vol. 66), the combination of authors comment on a survey conducted on African American girls and their knowledge of dandruff and dandruff-like symptoms. Their findings show that most think they are dealing with dry scalp rather than dandruff and without daily oiling, flakes appear. To support their findings, they mention that most hair oil and grease marketed for African hair contain sulfur in them, which combats seborrheic dermatitis. Regardless of whether they have seborrheic dermatitis or not, daily oiling helps. However, they conclude their argument with how they want to conduct research on how scalp conditions as well as daily routines change with the addition to the frequency of hair washing, hair extensions or “weave”, as well the actual presence of seborrhiec dermatitis.


While wash two and three are very similar, the time gap in between sets them apart, thus making all three washes antithetical. Before starting, I already decided to leave all heated styling tools (blow dryers, curling irons, etc.) alone during this experiment if I could. Heat is the enemy of all types hair.

The first wash was with Silk Elements with Olive Oil and Silk Protein shampoo and conditioning set as the woman at Sally’s Beauty Supply told me it would help with dry hair. After the rinsing the conditioner, a minimal amount of Coconut Oil was applied to my scalp and hair. After combing, I tied my hair into a bun at the top of my head.

The second wash I decided to add a bit more oil. I used the same shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner was applied to my scalp, however instead of rinsing out the conditioner before continuing, coconut oil was added to the shafts of the hair. An Argon oil hydrating hair mask applied to the ends of my hair. After four or so hours, the mixture was rinsed lightly from my hair, as to not rinse the oils completely from my hair. I combed my hair, wrapped, and let it air dry. After the interview with Ms. Fox, I decided to wait just a bit before washing again the third and final wash of the experiment. The same steps were repeated from wash two save for the mixture of Coconut Oil, Argon Oil, and Conditioner was left on a bit longer than wash two.


The first results were a bit depressing. Sadly, I had not realized that if my hair was in a bun, it would not dry completely. When it finally did dry, the flakes were more than apparent. It was so bad that they were sitting on the top of the hair. The hair itself was also dry. Not only dry but brittle.

After the second washing, I could tell that the oils really helped. My hair was shinier and healthier than before. Since I didn’t wash my hair for at least a week after that, it was a complete improvement. I knew that it was a major improvement. My scalp didn’t show any signs of flaking for some time.

Then, I broke my no heat promise. On Thursday, roughly three days after washing, I flat ironed my hair. It was then exactly another week before washing. Flakes hadn’t appeared until about five days after wash 2. Although the flakes were already present, I still kept to my decision of holding out on washing. At the end of wash three, my hair was extremely shiny and healthy looking. Flakes were not present as of March 24th, 2014.


From the data collected, the positive trend of the results suggests that the mixture of coconut oil, argon oil, and conditioner helps the most. Not only with the scalp itself but the hair looked and felt healthier. Even after the six days between washing, the dandruff had not gotten worse than it was before the first wash.

The first wash resulted in much more dandruff sitting at the front of the scalp and on top of the hair. The second wash added in the oils that my hair needed in order to grow. Since most of those who have African hair and deal with dandruff believe that the flakes they see are due to dry scalp, oil is often thought of as necessary. Thus I believe that oiling my hair is an important aspect of keeping my hair dandruff free.


Although my topic was fairly easy, it was easier said than done. Time is a variable and, generally, in experiments should have a very set time frame. Out of the three washes, there was a one day gap and then a week long gap. While this does demonstrate and emphasize that the second wash was much better, the flaw of a different time frame is brought up. Yes, while wash one was a complete failure and wash two proved to be the better combination, time is an important factor.

Also the fact that I was only able to conduct three washes in the same time vicinity. A study like this should be done over a longer amount of time and with multiple people as seen in the McClatchy – Tribune Business News article.



Appendix A

Below are the notes taken during the phone interview of Ms. Angela Fox, a professional hair beautician. The original prompts or questions are flesh against the left margin. He answers are indented. Further explanations/context help in brackets.

How many years have you doing hair?

“30, I started young.”

How often do you work on someone who has a significant amount of dandruff?

“Not often, most of my clients are regulars.” [She washes her clients hair before styling it]

Do you know the causes of dandruff?

“Each person is different, dryness, over use of products, hereditary, etc.”

What are your remedies?

“I take of her clients who are regulars, but a few [non regulars] I highly recommend a hot oil treatment. Do not to use dandruff shampoo. They can irritate and create more and dry out the hair. You need to drink lots of water. If it gets too bad, I refer them to a doctor.”

[Coconut Oil, Olive Shampoo and Conditioner, Argon Oil hydrating Hair Mask] With what I have, is this enough to see a difference?

“Simply put, Yes. Your hairs needs the extra oils.” [She’s also my hair dresser, so she knows how my hair is.]

As of this moment, I’ve been washing my hair every other day for this experiment. No heat is added. Should I change?

“You’re shampooing too often! Once a week, twice in the summer. If you wash too frequently there are hardly any natural oils left. [in hair]”

Appendix B

When Wash 1 (Mar. 8) Wash 2 (Mar. 10) Wash 3 (Mar. 20)
With what Only used Shampoo Shampoo and Conditioner Shampoo and Conditioner
Extra Oils Coconut Oil Coconut and Argon Coconut and Argon
Extra Rinse No Yes Yes
Dryness Yes No No
Dandruff (Scale 1 – 5)

1 = Barely

5 = Severe

4.5 2.3 1.4

Wash 1, March 8th

I washed my hair using Silk Elements with Olive Oil and Silk Protein shampoo and conditioner. The 100% organic, virgin, and unrefined coconut oil was applied to my scalp.

Washed with only Olive shampoo and conditioner. Applied coconut oil to scalp, did not rinse. Let air dry.

Results: noticeably flaky

Wash 2, March 10th

Olive oil shampoo. Applied coconut oil, argon oil,  and conditioner to hair. Left in for four  hours. Rinse. Let air dry.

Results: hair soft, flakes (though present) did not arise until several days after

Wash 3 March 20th

Repeat Wash 2. Waited on washing for so long because of interview. She was very livid that I was washing my hair so often. It worked out better in the end.