Understand Your Assignment

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"What does my professor wants me to write about?"

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Understand Your Assignment

  1. 1. Understand your assignment
  2. 2. Nothing is worse than writing a great paper, but one that has not answered the assignment
  3. 3. The first step is to understand your assignment
  4. 4. Know exactly what you are writing
  5. 5. Know exactly why you are writing
  6. 6. Know exactly who you are writing it for
  7. 7. Carefully reading your assignment will help you to know what is being asked of you.
  8. 8. Carefully reading your assignment will help you to know what is being asked of you.
  9. 9. Look for topic guidelines having to do with length, style or intended audience.
  10. 10. Also pay attention to the type of information sources allowed or preferred.
  11. 11. For example, some assignments will require you to use academic, peer-reviewed articles only.
  12. 12. These details are meant to guide you and help you focus on the most important parts of an assignment.
  13. 13. TIPS & TRICKS: TASK ANALYSIS
  14. 14. TASK ANALYSIS
  15. 15. Use key verbs in assignment to clarify tasks
  16. 16. COMPARE: emphasize similarities
  17. 17. CONTRAST: emphasize differences
  18. 18. DEFINE: give clear, concise meanings of concepts
  19. 19. DISCUSS: consider different possibilities
  20. 20. LIST: state points clearly and in concise form
  21. 21. EVALUATE: Judge advantages and disadvantages
  22. 22. EXPLAIN: clarify by stating cause and effects or reasons
  23. 23. PROVE: establish truth through factual evidence and logic
  24. 24. SUMMARIZE: restate another’s point in your own words
  25. 25. TRACE: describe historical sequence or development
  26. 26. My assignment does NOT have any of those key verbs
  27. 27. Ask yourself (and the assignment) these questions
  28. 28. What questions and claims are explicit in the assignment?
  29. 29. What questions and claims are implicit in the assignment?
  30. 30. Which words in the directions command my attention? Why?
  31. 31. What DO I understand about the assignment?
  32. 32. What questions do I still have? Where can I go for answers?
  33. 33. Lets analyze an example assignment that has no action verbs to guide you.
  34. 34. EXAMPLE ASSIGNMENT Without key verbs In her speech “What Does a Woman Need to Know?” Adrienne Rich uses the word “power” in several different senses. What are the different types of power Rich describes? Do you find these different definitions of “power” useful? Why or why not? In what ways do her examples of power resemble or differ from your own experiences?
  35. 35. What are the different types of power Rich describes? In the first question, we see the instructor is interested in Rich’s definitions of power. She has not asked for your own opinions yet, so it appears that the task that matches most closely is “summarize”— restate the author’s ideas.
  36. 36. Do you find these different definitions of “power” useful? Why or why not? The next two questions are related; you are asked to say why you do or don’t find Rich’s definitions useful— in other words, to “evaluate” her definitions.
  37. 37. In what ways do her examples of power resemble or differ from your own experiences? In the final question, you are asked how Rich’s examples resemble or differ from your experience—in other words, to “compare” the similarities and “contrast” the differences.
  38. 38. question How can you tie the parts—summary, evaluation, comparison—together in a unified piece?
  39. 39. MORE TIPS & TRICKS
  40. 40. MORE TIPS and TRICKS
  41. 41. Ask for a written copy of the assignment
  42. 42. Ask for model papers
  43. 43. Clarify the expectations and limits of the assignment
  44. 44. Relate the assignment to real world audience beyond your instructor
  45. 45. Understand your assignment

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