Article Analysis Guidelines

This professional analysis should open with an introductory paragraph. Tell the reader what to expect. Who is the author? What is the work under study, and when was it published? This paragraph should provide a BRIEF summary of the work and identify the overall thesis. Think about: why does the author say their topic is needed, and what themes or topics do they address?

The next three paragraphs should explain the three most important major arguments the author uses. One per paragraph. Why are these the most important compared to all of the other arguments? What are the implications of these arguments? What assumptions do these arguments rest on? Be sure to give brief examples. (There are many, many correct answers as to the best arguments.)

In the fifth paragraph, discuss what kinds of evidence the author uses. What kind of sources do they mention and reference? Do they do an effective job of using said evidence to support their overall ideas? Can you imagine other kinds of evidence that would support, or possibly contradict, their overall thesis? What role do primary and secondary texts play in producing quality scholarly works? What comments can you make about the purpose of various sources, and how they inform the construction of History?

In the next paragraph, consider how the author’s work compares with other readings, assigned primary sources, and course lectures, discussions, and videos. Likewise, think about the work in broader perspectives. How do these perspectives agree or disagree, etc.? Do the other readings deal with the questions explored by the author? What observations can you make about what seems to be important to scholars or what they disagree about?

In the first concluding paragraph, please evaluate the work by providing your opinion. Were you persuaded by the author’s argument and use of evidence and explanations? Are you persuaded as to the larger significance of this material? Did they write in a clear, coherent, organized way? Do they seem (overly) biased in any way? What did you like about the work and why? What did you not like about the work and why? Has your interest in these topics been satisfied, piqued, or bludgeoned out of you? For all of these questions, answer why and how and provide examples.

In the final paragraph, address the overall importance to you, other students, scholars, the nation, and the world, as well as how various ethical issues and notions of historical memory are involved. What kind of ethical decisions did the author have to make? What kind of personal and social responsibility do you, people, scholars, institutions have when it comes to representing history and the “truth” and making society better, if that’s even possible? What complications are there?

The final paper should be at least five full pages.

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