Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't Just Summarize, Analyze!

When professors assign analytical papers, they want more than a summary of information – they want students to delve deeper and form new conclusions about the material. Here are some steps to get started:

1. Read the material carefully, and take notes on anything that stands out. If something already provokes your opinion on the first reading, it might be a good starting point.

2. Read the material again to make sure you understand it thoroughly, paying special attention to the parts that stood out before.

3. Form an opinion about the material. Think about what the material is implying rather than just saying, and see if you can draw any new conclusions from the material – especially if you can draw on previous knowledge or outside sources to help make a case.
4. Answer the question, “So what?” Once you've formed an opinion, take it one step further by thinking about why it matters and how it can be applied to something larger.

Now all you have to do is write...


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