Identify the common points amongst authors
This technique will show you how to create a grid of common points of authors' positions.
You have to figure out what the common points of agreement and disagreement between authors as a first step to creating a full map of the debate.
Creating a grid of common points involves identifying the points of the authors, locating points of agreement and disagreement and revising the analysis to completely cover the issue.
For this technique, you will need a means of sorting and grouping points to create a table. You might want to use sticky notes on a board or a program like omnigraffle.
To cluster the authors' points from your notes around small set of common topics, you can use 3 strategies:
Start creating common points for the clusters by stating a claim that 2 or more authors disagree with each other.
For example, a common point on an environmental issue might be: "We should open up our wilderness areas."
Create table with authors as rows and points for columns.
For each author, fill in the cells of the table by stating the author's position on that common point. Start by figuring out if the author:
For example, maybe you unfairly characterized an author's position as "we should NOT open up our wilderness areas" but it would be more fair to state the author's position as: "we should LIMIT access to our wilderness areas."
For example, "we should limit access to our wilderness areas" might become: "we should limit access to our wilderness areas to preserve them from destruction."
Using your notes, work across authors to make sure that you have completely represented the author's position. Also work across columns to make sure you have covered the entire issue. Add additional comments to grid as needed.
A grid of common points
Does the grid...
Kaufer, D. S., Geisler, C., & Neuwirth, C. M. (1989). Arguing from sources: Exploring issues through reading and writing. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, (pp 134-148).