Instructions How to Write

Revising and Improving Analysis

Revising and Improving Analysis

Ensure you're doing ANALYSIS. The assignment requires you to analyze (break down), not summarize (repeat). Many of you are just listing points from the article or talking about the topic. You need to discuss specific appeals or devices. If you find yourself writing: He says this.. He does that.. He shows that.. then you’re just summarizing and listing points from the article.

Improve ANALYSIS: You need to SHOW and TELL. It’s not enough to point to a line in the article and say it’s logos or ethos or pathos – EXPLAIN and PROVE that the device or appeal is used effectively. Repeating that something is logically or emotionally appealing does not PROVE it.

Use vocabulary for textual analysis (review textbook). An outcome of this assignment is to prove to me that you understand genres of writing. This requires you to use appropriate vocabulary related to rhetoric, argumentation and persuasion. This is all laid out in your textbook.

Advice: half of your battle in college is to understand and use terminology (vocabulary associated with a particular discipline correctly). When you’re in a math class, you may have to understand the concepts of real numbers, integers, and natural numbers – that’s vocabulary. If you’re in chemistry, you need to understand compounds, solutions, homogeneous and heterogenous mixtures – that’s vocabulary. If you’re doing a textual analysis, then you need to discuss persuasive appeals, types of evidence, rhetoric or stylistic techniques to prove to your instructor that you have an understanding of the assigned material.
Revising Analysis of Appeals

What makes the author (or evidence) credible or trustworthy or believable (use specific words like that – not ethos)?
What makes evidence logically appealing? It’s not enough to point to statistics and say that it’s a logical appeal. You have to explain how the evidence appeals to the sense of reason of the audience.
Don't list evidence or stats or sources and just say that they’re logical or convincing. You need to take the time to explain what’s logical or convincing about the evidence. This may require you to just focus on one piece of evidence per body paragraph.

Likewise, if you’re saying something is emotionally appealing. You need to explain the emotion. Is the author using a particular tone? Are they appealing to the readers’ sense of pity, sympathy, fear, happiness, satisfaction, anger? Be specific.

Thinking about Audience and Publication

As you analyze the appeals or devices, think about intended audience and main argument. Don’t get lost in the trees, remember the forest.

Think critically about intended audience, audience expectations, and medium of publication.

Why may parents or students find data regarding the earnings of college graduates vs. nongraduates appealing?
Why may educated, affluent readers of the New York Times find the arguments in favor of college convincing (hint: because most of their readers are college educated).
Why may educated, affluent, liberal readers find arguments in the New Yorker that affirm the need for gun control appealing? Because they already agree with it.
Think about the publication (or website) where the article you’re analyzing was published and carefully consider who is reading.

Why might readers of someone’s personal blogpost find their arguments appealing? A few of you have critiqued bloggers for being biased but you need to consider audience. They’re writing to a friendly audience and not a hostile one (see Argument in Strategies section of your textbook). You also need to consider your position and personal politics – you may not be in the target audience. So, if you’re conservative, you won’t agree with the arguments about gun control but that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective or unconvincing to the target audience (which doesn’t include you).
As stated in the assignment sheet, I don’t expect you to assert whether you agree or disagree with an author’s position, just analyze how they’re making the argument. Try your best not to let your personal standpoints influence your analysis (even if you’re doing the college articles).

Revising Organization

Your analytical claims need to drive your essay.

Your essay should be organized around your analysis of the appeals and/or devices.

All topic sentences should be an analytical claim.

All topic sentences should discuss a specific appeal, device or argumentative strategy.

Revising Thesis

You need to craft a clear thesis at the end of your introduction paragraph that identifies the appeals or stylistic techniques you will be discussing in your paper as well as indicate the pattern of organization of your paper. Your thesis should affirm whether the article is effective, convincing or persuasive.

Review Quotations

Integrate three direct quotes from the source. Quotes should be preceded by a signal phrase (According to X, X claims, X argues that). If your source is paginated (such as the textbook article), then you should include an in-text citation with page number. See examples below:

Nemko argues that "most of those college dropouts leave college having learned little of practical value" (37).
Many students should not attend college: "According to the U.S. Department of Education, if you graduated in the bottom 40 percent of your high school class and went to college, 76 of 100 won't earn a diploma, even if given 81/2 years" (Nemko 37).
According to David Autor, an M.I.T. economist, "We have too few college graduates" (qtd. in Leonhardt 34).
Blogger Cameron Kunzleman proclaims: "GTAIII was just as exciting for its function as a 'fuck you dad' as it was as a game. But in retrospect, the “shocks” of GTAIII weren’t shocking at all."
The marketing ethos of the Grand Theft Auto franchise "has always been about selling our own shitty culture back to us and then explaining that we’re transgressive because we buy it" (Kunzleman).
Review Work Cited

See: MLA Citation Samples for Textbook

Please ensure you use hanging indents in your citations. See here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Proofreading Steps

The first step is to look at your draft. Look at your paragraph lengths. Avoid writing paragraphs that are too long or too short. Focus paragraph on a specific topic.
Title your document appropriately (Textual Analysis of "Title of Article")
Titles of articles are put in quotes, while titles of publications (newspapers, magazines, etc.) should be italicized. (e.g. New York Times, New Yorker, The Atlantic)
Work Cited should include one cited work – templates for correct citations are given in your assignment sheet. Re-read the assignment sheet.
Review quotes and ensure you're quoting properly.
In-text citations are not needed when you only are including one work in your document.
One work = Work Cited (not Works).
Read your paper aloud.
Get extra feedback: go to the Writing Lab, use online tutoring to obtain feedback on your draft, or come to office hours
Don't put too much pressure on yourself and remember this is just your first essay assignment.

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