Additional help in writing an analysis of a research paper

When students are tasked with writing the analysis of a paper, they are often taken aback by how difficult the process seems, despite the fact that they are working directly from another text. It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, however. It can be a very straightforward process, as a matter of fact. Here’s how to go about it:

    Read the paper once through without taking notes.

    One mistake students often make when preparing to write an analysis is attempting to take too many notes on their first read-through of the paper. It often requires reading the paper completely, and giving it one’s full attention, before the student can identify the main ideas and gain a full understanding of what is being presented. To make this easier, it’s a good idea to simply read through the paper once without trying to take notes.

    Summarize what you’ve read in your own words.

    Before the second read through, the student should sit down and attempt to summarize what the paper contained in their own words. No one will see this summary but the student, so it’s okay if it’s a little rough or incorrect in places. The main point of this exercise is to help the student identify the themes of the paper which they will want to take notes about.

    Re-read the paper, taking notes.

    Now that they have a better idea of what the paper contains, it’s time for a focused, note taking read through. They should prepare their notes in sections related to the themes of the paper as well as any specific questions their instructor would like them to address in their analysis.

    Use these notes to create an outline.

    With these detailed notes, the student can now create an outline to follow as they write the paper. Creating the outline will help to ensure that they don’t overlook or miss any important parts of their analysis.

    Write the body of the paper before the introduction.

    Students often want to start with the introduction because, well, it comes first! But it’s a better idea to set it aside until they’ve written the body, because one of the functions of the introduction is to summarize the points the student will cover. It’s easier to write a great introduction once the body of the paper is completed.

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