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Draft analysis


Draft your written analysis

Introduction

Goals

Create a written analysis of the approaches to an issue

Why

The written analysis your description and judgement of the debate in the literature.  It is the bulk of your literature review and is the jumping off point for you to make a contribution.

What

In this technique you will convert your tree of approaches to prose.

How

Materials

For this technique, you will need:

  • your approach tree
  • a word processor

Remember

 

Steps

1. Outline the body

To outline the body, do the following for each major approach:

  • Characterize it
  • Break it into classes of positions.
    • Discuss its strengths
    • Discuss its faults
  • Break the classes into subclasses (until you reach the bottom of your tree)

When choosing which order to present the positions, first organize by approach.  Then use chronology, idiosyncrasy and merit to sequence the approaches (see Draft Synthesis).

2. Draft the introduction

In the introduction you need to familiarize readers with the issue.  It should:

  • discuss problem cases that are most widely recognized as problem cases
  • discuss the history of the issue
  • prepare readers to hear about the variety of approaches
  • be brief (1, maybe 2 paragraphs)

To keep it brief, you may want to just give readers a glimpse of the different approaches without all the details of any one (which you can add back in during the body).

3. Draft the body

Set the stage for the approach
For each approach you will have to write a paragraph that sets the stage by intoroducing the cases and history that provide a frame of reference.  Even if the approach shares problem cases and history with other approaches, you may need to explain the unique assumptions for seeing the issue. 

Elaborate the position

For each approach, you'll also need to elaborate the approach.  Here are a few techniques you can use when elaborating approaches:

  • Use "position" as an active agent (subject) that can explain, clarify, suggest or resolve issues.  For example: "These positions can explain..."
  • Use "position" as the subject of the sentence with its potential explained by a preceding adjective.  For example: "A stronger position would be ..."
  • Use the names of authors as agents who represent positions. For example: "Edward Swain takes this position..."
  • Use indefinite human agents who take, argue, or represent positions.  For example: "One might argue that..."
  • Name human agents by the position they represent.  For example: "Traditionalists argue that..."

4. Draft the conclusion

Draft a conclusion where you present the general conclusions you've drawn from the issue and, on the strength of these conclusions, express a preference for an approach.  You don't need to accept an existing approach, it means you should explore connections between your conclusions and the approaches.

5. Revise

Revise for your readers and check that:

  • the introduction prepares the reader to hear about the various approaches
  • the body sets the stage for each approach and associated position and the progression and ordering of approaches is clear and well motivated
  • the conclusion indicates how you align yourself with the approach
  • clear and valid reasons are given for the strengths and faults attributed to positions
  • prose discusses approaches and positions rather than authors

Critique

Deliverables

A written draft of the analysis

Critique questions

  • the introduction prepares the reader to hear about the various approaches
  • the body sets the stage for each approach and associated position and the progression and ordering of approaches is clear and well motivated
  • the conclusion indicates how you align yourself with the approach
  • clear and valid reasons are given for the strengths and faults attributed to positions
  • prose discusses approaches and positions rather than authors

References

Kaufer, D. S., Geisler, C., & Neuwirth, C. M. (1989). Arguing from sources: Exploring issues through reading and writing. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, (p. 220-228).