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Tips for Writing Analytically - Los Angeles Mission College

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Writing Analytically
Titles, Introductions,and Conclusions
Expectations for Analytical Writing as an Academic Genre
Analytical writing is a task that you will probably be called on to perform many times in your academic career.Remember, for this essay, I am asking you to assume a more formal, academic tone than the first essay, but not so formal that you cannot mention yourself.Your focus should be onyour observationsand analysis of your subject, not on yourselfas an author.This means you should limit your use of “I” and “me” when referring to yourself to places where your own experiences add something unique/noteworthy to your evaluation of your product/place.
What does it mean to “write analytically”?
According to ourEveryone’s an Authortextbook, “When you analyze something, you break it down into its component parts and think about those parts methodically in order to understand it in some way” (137).What are “component parts”?What does it mean to think about them “methodically”?See list of features of analytical writing on p. 141
Writing analytically for Essay#2
Let’s apply each of the characteristics of analytical writing to the essay that you are writingright now.Characteristic 1: A Question that asks you to take a closer look.Analysis is usually prompted bycuriosity.How does something work? What are the connections between two events or trends? Etc.As you narrow your topic, you need to identify the specific question(s) YOU are taking a closer look at.Examples from your text book: The writer of the section on p. 142 asks “Who is Barrack Obama?” with the deeper implication of “What kind of a leader is he?” and the writer quoted on p. 143 asks “What is the impact ofTwilighton those who became addicted to it?”For your review, you might be asking a question like, “How does this band’s newest album compare to their older music?” or “What makes this restaurant special/worth visiting?” or “Why is this film such a disappointment?”
Writing analytically for Essay#2
Let’s apply each of the characteristics of analytical writing to the essay that you are about to begin writingright now.Characteristic 2: Some description of the subject you are analyzing.Assume that your readers know, in general, what the media is,but they maynotknow about the specific issue relating to the media you are going to discuss.Your introduction and your first paragraph are a good place for a brief introduction to the subject of your review; however, you may find yourself providing additional context/description in the middle of your essay so your readers will understand your points.Findbalancehere. You don’t need to give a long, exhaustive (extremely complete) history of your subject here. Youdo,though, need to give your audience enough background that they can follow your argument if they’ve never given your subject much thought before.
Writing analytically for Essay#2
Let’s apply each of the characteristics of analytical writing to the essay that you are writingright now.Characteristic 3: Evidence drawn from close examination of the subject. (See p. 144-152 for different ways to examine closely)In your case, close examination of the subject means that you have taken a careful, analytical look at your question about the subject of your review and studied the subject of your review closely (if possible, I recommend visiting/watching/using your subject if you haven’t lately). Finally, you should have considered how what your observationsmean.It also means that youmay haveread, understood, and formed responses to others who have asked questions similar to yours. Do other reviewers share your views?Your job in your essay is to present this evidence, both from your own observations and from your sources, to your readers, along with your own explanations of thesignificance of what you and your sources noticed.
Writing analytically for Essay#2
Let’s apply each of the characteristics of analytical writing to the essay that you are writingright now.Characteristic 4: Insight gained from your analysis.This is youranswerto the question you asked at the beginning. It is your main point, and it should be the central part of your thesis.What realizations did you make because of all of this close attention you paid tothe subject of your review?What conclusions have you come to?
Writing analytically for Essay#2
Characteristic 5: Clear, precise language.Define terms and explain ideas that may be unfamiliar to your audience.Be as precise as possible. For example, the word“good”means almostnothingunless you definewhat you mean by good.For example, to say“The food at this place is good”is vague.What do you MEAN when you say “good”? Is itfresh?Is itunique?Is it dripping with grease but so delicious you don’t care about how unhealthy it is? Describe one of the “good” dishes in great detail.“Good” means many different things to many different people.By defining whatyoumean by “good,” you will avoid confusingandyou will provide a more interesting description of your subject.
A Basic Assumption This Essay Makes
The basic premise of “Advertisements R Us” and other works of cultural criticism that are about advertising, is that thewayin which products are advertised and thereasonsthat people respond the way the do issignificant,and can tell us interesting things about ourselves as a society.The same assumption applies to other areas of the media. Thewaythe media treats an issue is significant because it reveals patterns in how we as a societythinkabout the issue.
“Advertisements R Us” p. 176 ofEveryone’s an Author
In this article, Melissa Rubin is analyzing one single image – a Coca Cola ad from 1950.This author went through the process of analysis that we went through with the ads in a previous class.She studied the ad carefully. (Her description proves how carefully she looked at it.)Shenoticedthings about the ad as she studied it.She asked herself what her observationsmeant,and she shared those insights with her readers.
Effectiveness of Image
The author spends a great deal of time describing the ad in detail, but she also includes the ad so her readers can see it. It was a good move to doboth.Ifyouressay would benefit from images, you may include themthroughout youressay as long as they are clearly labeled. No matter how many images you use, your essay mustmeet the minimum word count on your assignment sheet.
“Advertisements R Us” p. 176 ofEveryone’s an Author
What are some of her major points about the ad?What are the underlying messages of the ad, according to the essay’s author?What is this ad saying about class (think about the different types of men portrayed prominently in the ad)?What is this ad saying about Coca Cola’s role in American society?What point is this author making about the connection between Coke and American identity? (see the last paragraph on p. 180)Do YOU notice anything about the ad that the author missed?
Focus on First and Last Impressions
Now, we are going to focus on three things that heavily influence your reader’s impression of your essay:The titleThe introductionThe conclusion
A title for a college level essay needs to give at least some idea of the narrowed TOPIC of the essay.A titlemightalso let your reader know your STANCE.Stance: Whereyou,the author, stand on the topic.Think of your title as a headline. A good title should make your audience want to read your work.
This means that the following aren’t acceptable titles:
Essay 1Literacy NarrativeReviewMy EssayEnglish V02 EssayFor college level essays, your instructors will be expecting titles that are more specific than these.
Unique Titles: A Short Guide
Strategy 1:Useyour title to ask aquestion.Example:Is the iPhone 6 Upgrade Worth the Cost?Example: How Does Peter Jackson’s New Film Compare to His Older Work?Strategy 2: Make your title a brief statement of your evaluation.Example: WhyBuffy the Vampire Slayeris Still the Best Vampire TV Show in HistoryExample: Jackson’s Most Recent Film Maintains His Previous QualityStrategy 3: Briefly listthe topics you will discuss.Example:TeenageGirls and MagazineAdvertisements (not great for your review, but good for future essays)These are not the only strategies. Read professional reviews online and in print. How do these authors title their reviews?Whatever you do, yourtitle needs to be UNIQUE TOYOURPAPER.
If you want to get clever…
Use alliteration (same sounds at the beginnings of words)Example: Are Video Games Cranking out Killer Kids?Use other forms of humor, like a pun or a play on words.Use the form of: “Topic: Big Idea/Question About the Topic”Violent Video Games: Harmless Fun or Recipe for Disaster?Social Media Trends: The One Way Ticket for Insecurities for Young Women
Formatting Your Title
Your title should be in size 12 font, beneath the heading, and centered.Everyimportant wordin your title shouldbe capitalized.(You don’t need to capitalize words like a, and, the, etc. unless they are the first.)Don’t put quote marks around your owntitle at the top of your essay.Don’t make your title a different font or size than the rest of your paper.Do not make it bold.
Title Brainstorming Time!
Brainstormat leastthree possible unique titles for your essay. You don’t have to stick with any of them, but when class is over you will at least havethreeoptions.
Techniques for a Good Introduction for Your Review
Start with adescription.This works especially well if you are reviewing a place. Remember to add in the sensory details necessary to let your reader imagine that he/she isthere.Start with asummaryof the work you are reviewing, or of the author/artist’s previous work, or provide some other sort of necessary background information.Lead up to a question that will make the reader think deeply anddesire the answer you will provide.Offer a quotation from the work you are reviewing that gives your reader the flavor of the work. (In general, the first sentence of your paper should not be a quote.)Remember, no matter which of these techniques you use, your introduction should contain:a brief summary of yourevaluationof the subject of your review.the name of the thing you are reviewing and, if necessary, the author/artist
Examining Example Introductions:
Look at the following intros. What does each author do to pull in the reader prepare them for the rest of the essay?Paragraphs 1 and 2 of “Mind Matters” on p. 246Paragraph 1 and 2 of “Out of the West” on p. 256Paragraph 1 of “Undocumented Lives” on p. 260
Introduction Improvement Time:
Improve your introduction by using one of the techniques we discussed.Start with descriptionStart with summary/contextLead up to a question (this one works well in combination with other techniques), but remember, you need toanswerthis question immediately with yourthesis.Use a quotation (also needs to be used with other techniques)
Conclusions are often the most difficult thing to write for some students, especially if you've been taught the five paragraph essay style that simply encourages you to repeat your main points. A good conclusion doesmuchmore than this.
Techniques for a Good Conclusion for Your Review
Offer a final evaluation thatadds towhat you have said so far rather than repeating previous points.Tell your readers what kinds of people your subject might interest. Is it a great restaurant for families? A great film for spy movie fans? Who, specifically, should run out and buy/see (or completely avoid, in the case of a negative review) your subject?End with a final, new piece of description of your subject that reinforces your evaluation.
Examining Conclusions
Look back at the conclusions of the example review on p. 262. What did this author do to wrap up her essay?Examine conclusions of various professional reviews. How do these writers end their work?If you have not yet written your conclusion, do so now. If you have, then go back and make sure that your conclusion is going to leave your reader with something to remember.
Focus On Sentence Types
Recently, we have been learning about different sentence types that can give writing variety.Try to use these sentence types in your review.Examine your essay draft. Write or identify…One simple sentenceOne compound sentenceOne complex sentenceOne compound-complex sentenceSee p. 552-558Write or identify…One periodic sentenceOne cumulative sentenceSee p. 558-560





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Tips for Writing Analytically - Los Angeles Mission College