i Magazine


Resources for Students

Using Background Sources

Background sources are one of the most common types of academic citations, and often the first kind students learn to include in researched writing. These sources are used to present information and data (as opposed to ideas or arguments). You might think of them as suppliers of “facts and figures” like statistics, dates and other […]

Topic: Resources for Students, Spring 2010 Tags: None

Comparing and contrasting on a sentence level

Have you ever wondered why the assignment to “compare and contrast” is such a staple of college English classes? Probably because comparing one text – or character – can help us understand both texts better. This paper by Marlon Altoe is an excellent model of how texts can be juxtaposed – or, or placed side […]

Topic: Resources for Students, Spring 2010 Tags: None

Topic Sentences: or “Flow” and How You Know

“Does my essay flow?” This, probably, is the most common question students ask consultants at the writing center. But what does “flow” mean? And what, exactly, is “flowing?” Usually, when people refer to “flow,” they’re referring to the writer’s ideas. A paper that “flows” is characterized by the controlled development of and clear connections between […]

Topic: Resources for Students, Spring 2010 Tags: None

Using Exhibits

The word “exhibit” is one you might associate with a courtroom, or with a museum. In both cases, exhibits are things—texts, visual representations, objects—that are presented for an audience to examine closely, then use to draw conclusions or come to a new understanding. Similarly, it’s often important for writers to introduce their readers to exhibits. […]

Topic: Resources for Students Tags: None

Analyzing a Text Through Close Reading

Analyzing a text by “close reading” requires a three-part process of observing the text’s features, identifying patterns in those observations, and explaining the significance of the patterns you describe. Below is a brief passage of close reading from G. J. Israel’s essay “Are These Actual Dead?”, an analysis of James Joyce’s short story “The Dead”: […]

Topic: Fall 2009, Resources for Students Tags: None

Direct Quotes

John Baran’s Purposeful Direct Quoting There are a few situations when it’s a good idea to quote rather than paraphrase or summarize. They include the following: 1)    When you want to capture the exact words of an expert or institution; OR 2)    When you want to capture the quality of another writer’s language – whether […]

Topic: Resources for Students, Spring 2009 Tags: None

Transitions – shifting between and within topics

Darryl Gladstone’s Transitions – shifting between and within topics This paper, which contrasts the communication habits of a previous generation with those of a younger generation, contains several excellent examples of transitions. Gladstone uses transitions to signal a shift: 1)    Between topics, e.g. from the communication habits of a previous generation to the communication habits […]

Topic: Fall 2009, Resources for Students Tags: None

Signposting – Showing your reader where you’re going

Signposts, like traditional transitions, prepare a reader for changes in an essay’s direction. But rather than easing the shift from one paragraph to another, signposting signals a new section or mode of the writer’s argument. A signpost might, for example, indicate that the essay is: ➢ pausing for historical background or context; ➢ about to […]

Topic: Fall 2009, Resources for Students Tags: None

Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting

Siddiq Mohamed’s Response to West Side Story: Putting Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting to Work In his essay about the famous musical West Side Story, Siddiq Mohamed: Summarizes the plot of West Side Story’s film version; Describes how the play was created; Analyzes racial dynamics in the work; AND Reflects on his own response to the […]

Topic: Resources for Students, Spring 2009 Tags: None