ANALYTICAL WRITING Chapter 1  The writer of an analysis is less concerned with convincing readers to approve or disapprove of professional wrestling

, or legal intervention into the sexual politics of the workplace…than with discovering how each of these complex subjects might be defined and explained. To write an accurate summary you have to ask analytical questions, such as: o Which of the ideas in the reading are most significant? Why? o How do these ideas fit together? What do the key passages in the reading mean? A good summary provides perspective on the subject as a whole by explaining, as an analysis does, the meaning and function of each of that subject’s parts. Moreover, like an analysis, a good summary does not aim to approve or disapprove of its subject: the goal, in both kinds of writing, is to understand rather than to evaluate. A summary is a focused description Laying out the data is key to any kind of analysis because it keeps the analysis accurate It requires the writer to reason from evidence Some rules: o The range of associations for explaining a given detail or word must be governed by context. o It’s fine to use your personal reactions as a way into exploring what a subject means, but take care not to make an interpretive leap stretch farther than the actual details will support. o What other explanations might plausibly account for this same pattern of detail? A good analytical thinker needs to be the attentive Dr. Watson to his or her own Sherlock Holmes.

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Writing Assignments 1. Locate any portrait, preferably a good reproduction from an art book or magazine, one that show detail clearly. First, summarize the portrait, describing accurately its significant details. Do not go beyond a recounting of what the portrait includes; avoid interpreting what these details suggest. What repetitions (patterns of same or similar detail) do you see? What organizing contrasts suggest themselves? In light of these patterns of similarity and difference, what anomalies do you then begin to detect? Move from the data to interpretive conclusions.

Analyzing Evidence in depth: 10 on 1 o The phrase 10 on 1 means ten observations and implications about one representative piece of evidence (10 as in arbitrary number meaning many)    . we see” or “In conclusion” that essentially repeats the thesis statement as it was in paragraph one. what they’re going to hear. to plug supporting examples into categories without examining them or how they are related. each supporting one of the three pints o A conclusion beginning “Thus. you should suspect that you are not adequately developing ideas. Five-paragraph form. and the conclusion repeats what the readers have just been told (twice). The first cause of all this redundancy lies with the thesis. Isn’t overcooked food unhealthy? Isn’t a lack of variety also conceivably unhealthy? The format invites writers to list rather than analyze. the form prompts the writer to simply append evidence to generalizations without saying anything about it. the succeeding three paragraphs tell the readers the same thing again in more detail. The first paragraph tells readers.” “second. As in the preceding example. the thesis is too broad---an unqualified and obvious generalization---and substitutes a simple list of predictable points for a complex statement of idea. carrying the overly general main idea along the inertly. as is evident in our sample’s transitions (“first. each beginning with an additive transition like “another” followed by a more or less exact repetition of your central point (another example is… yet another example is…). If the wording at these two locations is virtually the same. Here are two quick checks for whether a paper of yours has closed down on your thinking through a scheme such as a five-paragraph form: o Look at the paragraph openings. you know that your thesis has not responded adequately to your evidence. At its worst. o The form arbitrarily divides content: why are there three points (or examples or reasons) instead of five or one? A quick look at the three categories in our example reveals how arbitrarily the form has divide the subject.Chapter 8  The basic five-paragraph form: o An introduction with a thesis listing three points (the so-called tripartite thesis) o Three body paragraphs. What’s wrong with the five-paragraph form? o The introduction reduces the remainder of the essay to redundancy.” and “in addition”) counts things off but doesn’t make logical connections. in an overly general and list-like way. If these read like a list. o Compare the wording in the last statement of the paper’s thesis (in the conclusion) with the first statement of it in the introduction.

o Revision Strategy 6. o Revision Strategy 2. the writer has not used comparison and contrast to refine his conclusion. which he could examine in more detail. Alternatively. In the existing draft. as is almost always the case in revision. In the case of the writer of “Flood Stories. o Revision Strategy 7. Assume that the essay’s answer----its conclusion about the evidence---does not yet go far enough. that he hasn’t refined his initial idea enough. What can be said with some certainty about the evidence? This question induces a writer to rehearse the facts to keep them fresh so that his or her first impressions don’t “contaminate” or distort consideration of subsequent evidence.  [last read p. the 1 might be the single most interesting feature that the three stories share. He could then test his claims about this story through a comparison and contrast with other stories.  What can I say with some certainty about my evidence?  What else is certain about this evidence? o Revision Strategy 4. Uncover implications in your zoom that can develop your interpretation further. o Revision Strategy 5. 137] . the writer should consider.o The phrase 1 on 10 means one general point attached to 10 pieces of evidence  Revising the Draft Using 10 on 1 and Difference within Similarity o Revision Strategy 1. then zoom in on it. it leaves too much unaccounted for. Look for difference within similarity to better focus the thesis. Constellate the evidence to experiment with alternative thesis options. Think of the working thesis as an ultimate So what? Notice how the writer allows her evidence to complicate and stimulate her thinking rather than just confirm (corroborate) her general idea. To find the most revealing piece or feature of the evidence. keep asking. he has just imposed the same conclusion on other stories. Rather than having to throw out his thinking. Find a “1” to use with 10 on 1---a piece of evidence sufficiently revealing to be analyzed in more detail. o Revision Strategy 3.” that 1 might be a single story. As an interpretation of the evidence. Examine the evidence closely enough to see what questions the details imply and what other patterns they reveal.

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