009_RFW6e_Academic_Writing_(pages_346-380)

009_RFW6e_Academic_Writing_(pages_346-380) - Academic...

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Unformatted text preview: Academic Writing 46. Writing about texts 346 47. Constructing reasonable arguments 358 48. Evaluating arguments 371 46 Writing about texts The word texts can refer to a variety of works: essays, period- ical articles, government reports, books, and even visuals such as advertisements and photographs. Most assignments that ask you to respond to a text call for a summary or an analysis or both. A summary is neutral in tone and demonstrates that you have understood the authors key ideas. Assignments calling for an analysis of a text vary widely, but they will usually ask you to look at how the texts parts contribute to its central argument or purpose, often with the aim of judging its evidence or overall effect. When you write about a written text, you will need to read it several times to digest its full meaning. Two techniques will help you move beyond a superficial first reading: (1) annotating the text with your observations and questions and (2) outlining the texts key points. The same techniques will help you ana- lyze visual texts. 46a Read actively: Annotate the text. Read actively by jotting down your questions and thoughts in the margins of the text or visual or in a notebook. When you annotate a text as you read, you are doing something engag- ing with the work, not just letting the words slip past you. Use a pencil instead of a highlighter; with a pencil you can underline key concepts, mark points, or circle elements that intrigue you. If you change your mind, you can erase your early annotations and replace them with new ones. (See the chart on p. 347 for advice about active reading.) On pages 348 and 349 are an article from a consumer- oriented newsletter and a magazine advertisement, both anno- tated by students. The students, Emilia Sanchez and Albert Lee, were assigned to write a summary and an analysis. Each began by annotating the text. 346 Academic Writing texts 46 Writing about texts 347 texts 46a Guidelines for active reading Familiarize yourself with the basic features and structure of a text. n What kind of text are you reading? An essay? An editorial? A schol- arly article? An advertisement? A photograph? n What is the authors purpose? To inform? To persuade? To call to action? n Who is the audience? How does the author attempt to appeal to the audience? n What is the authors thesis? What question does the text attempt to answer? n What evidence does the author provide to support the thesis? Note details that surprise, puzzle, or intrigue you. n Has the author revealed a fact or made a point that runs counter to what you had assumed was true? What exactly is surprising? n Has the author made a generalization you disagree with? Can you think of evidence that would challenge the generalization?...
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009_RFW6e_Academic_Writing_(pages_346-380) - Academic...

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