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Critical Writing Using the elements and the standards.

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Writing Using the elements and the standards."— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical Writing Using the elements and the standards

2 Start at the beginning  Analyze the Q at I What is the question really asking of you? What seems to be its purpose? What is the context of the question?  Consider course objectives, recent readings and discussions  Current and/or historical events What system(s) do you need to use to answer the question? What information do you need?

3 Continue around the circle (as Chris did for getting married)  What assumptions do you make about the topic? What do you take for granted or already know?  What points of view should be considered?  What concepts need to be defined and addressed? Which have the most explanatory power?

4 Continue around the circle  What seem to be the potential implications and consequences for the topic?  What interpretations do you make? (vs. what others have told you) What conclusions can you draw about what you already know?

5 Determine what you need to include  What else do you need to consider to answer the question sufficiently? Which are the most important aspects of your analysis? How deeply do you need to address each item? How much time do you have? (such as for an in- class essay) Are there maximum and minimum word counts?

6 Perform a standards check  Is your information accurate Is it all from a credible and reliable source?  Do you cover enough breadth? Have you considered all viewpoints? Will you have an unbiased analysis?  Do you need to delve deeper? Is your analysis complex enough? Or does it just scratch the surface and communicate the obvious?  Is all the information relevant?  Do you have sufficient information? Do you need more in some areas?  And so on....

7 Organize your paper  Determine the main points you will make What is most important for making your case? Do you need to include all of the elements you have identified?  Which are most relevant?  Which provide the strongest support or argument?  Write a thesis statement Distills your stance into 1-2 sentences Never asks question

8 Create an outline  Highly recommended  Saves time  Organizes ideas and information  Allows writer to write first draft freely Can focus mind fully on ideas and arguments Frees mind from organizational/structural distractions  Check for weak points that might need additional support

9 Writing the paper  Strategy (Time is your friend.) Complete first draft in one sitting, uninterrupted Benefit: continuous train of thought usually higher quality than the stop and start method Put paper aside for another day to review with a fresh mind  Better identify gaps in information and clarity  Better recognize mechanical errors (precision)

10 Writing the paper  Introduction Identifies the topic Orients the reader to the Q at I and the purpose Includes the thesis

11 Writing the paper  Body Paragraph level (remember the SEE-I technique)  One topic or argument per paragraph  Include a topic sentence that states your claim or argument (S)  Elaborate on that argument (E) (may require more than one paragraph to fully explicate)  Use examples or evidence to support the argument (E)  Illustrate when necessary (I)

12 Writing the paper  Body Overall structure  Include smooth transitions between paragraphs by Ending each paragraph with a sentence that ties to the topic sentence and to the thesis Never concluding a paragraph with the topic for the next paragraph  Always start with your weakest argument and work toward the strongest (classical argument)  Always identify and refute counterarguments or acknowledge their merit, if appropriate to do so (Rogerian argument)

13 Writing the paper  Conclusion Can write at the same time as the body or at a later sitting Review the points you make in the paper to draw everything together for the reader Include the “so what?” which speaks to the significance of the issue  Tells audience why the topic is important  Often relates to implications and consequences

14 Revise again  One revision catches the major stuff (relevance, sufficiency, depth, and breadth)  Second revision provides opportunity to improve clearness, precision, and accuracy Clear connections between ideas and evidence Syntax, wordiness, sentence structure Word choices Transitions

15 Final thoughts  Use time to your advantage  You know what you think Explain why (consider impediments and assumptions, among other elements)  Your audience doesn’t know what you think (consider clearness)  Your audience also doesn’t know as much about the topic as you know (consider sufficiency and depth)  Your audience has his/her own viewpoint (consider breadth)

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