Students demonstrate their ability to read and think critically by writing a 4-6 page (i.e., 1200-1800 words) synthesis-analysis (précis is the technical term) over an approved article of their choice. The professor will happily read and discuss papers with students before the due date. Student essays will be graded on both content and writing style, as required by the state of Texas. Students should:
**Briefly summarize and introduce the article and author.
**Discuss the overall thesis. Identity, explain, and analyze the three most important arguments used by the author. Consider: importance (or lack of), related assumptions and implications.
**Analyze evidence used and ask: does this evidence support claims made in the article? Would other evidence provide a different interpretation?
**Look at the chosen article in broader perspectives. Given what we have studied and read, how compelling and relevant is the article, how does it compare and contrast with other primary and secondary readings, and what do historians tend to find important?
**In order to meet state requirements, consider ethical issues involved. What kind of ethical issues do people and historians face, and who decides what is “ethical”? How does what is “ethical” change according to time and place? What kind of social and personal responsibility do we have to ensure “ethics” prevails?
**Provide an opinion of the article. Consider the author’s writing style and ability to keep the attention of readers or even inspire them. Feel free to share other thoughts and comments related to or inspired by the article.
In all cases, provide brief and relevant examples. Avoid quotations. Avoid “I,” “you,” “very.” Use paragraphs! Use appropriate formats. And, please remember to submit the academic honesty pledge.
When ready, please submit to the appropriate link in Blackboard.
See also: Resources for Writing:
- Five Characteristics of College Writing
- Checklist for Writing Assignments
- What is Credibility?
- Grading Rubric
- The Oxford Comma, Plus Every Comma Rule You Need to Know
- 14 Must Know Rules of Grammar Guaranteed for Successful Writing
- Hidden Power of Words Series
- Mastering the Semicolon, Colon, and Apostrophe
- Commonly Confused Words