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For Students: Tools for Analytical Writing

 

You might be wondering why you're required to take a writing class if you're planning to study, say, computer science, or ceramics, or landscape design. You've almost certainly heard the short answer--you're going to do a lot of writing no matter what career path you pursue--and that's true. 

 

English 1001 is particularly important for another reason as well: it's designed to hone your skills in analytical thinking. And guess what? Research has revealed two things about analysis: first, that most people are not as good at it as they could be, and second, that it's one of the top skills sought by employers. It's also what many professors of upper-level courses in all majors say they wish their students were better at. Whether you go into psychology, chemistry, business, teaching, law, kinesiology, agriculture, or really any field at all, you will probably spend a good part of your college and professional career doing analysis. 1001 is your chance to make sure you can do it really well. 

 

Here's the good news: you already use analysis skills every day. If you read restaurant reviews online before deciding where to eat, or ponder who Paul Mainieri should start at pitcher in the playoff game, or choose a candidate for student body president--even when you weigh your options for Gen Ed courses--you're analyzing information. You're critically considering different sources, competing priorities and contrasting information in order to arrive at the best possible understanding of the situation. You're breaking the issue down into parts and determining which sources are the most reliable, which information is the most relevant. That's analysis. English 1001 will help you refine the skills you use in your everyday life in order to consider academic and professional issues. And that, in turn, will prepare you to succeed in your other classes and in your chosen career field. 

 

On the right, you'll find links to tools that will help you gain and demonstrate analytical skills in your English 1001 course this semester. 

 

 

What's the Point?

 

"Just about all of the reading and writing you do in college is analytical. Such writing is concerned with accurate description and with thinking collaboratively (rather than combatively) with readers about the ways of understanding what things might mean. The problem is that much of what we hear on television or read online seems to be primarily devoted to bludgeoning other people into submission with argumentative claims."

 

--Rosenwasser and Stephen, Writing Analytically