Tutor profile: Olivia B.
I outlined before I wrote my paper, but new ideas came up and the direction of my paper shifted along the way. How can I check that it's still well-organized and clear?
One useful tool to check for strong organization is a reverse outline. To make one, you or a partner (or tutor) reads your paper, first searching for the thesis sentence(s) and writing it/making note of it. Similarly, in the following paragraphs, you or your peer review partner will try to identify the topic sentence, continuing to make note of each sentence. Finally, the sentence that seems to act as the concluding sentence in the final paragraph should be identified. This tool functions in a few different ways. First, if these sentences can't be identified, it's usually a good sign that the paper or paragraph needs a stronger argument or direction. Second, if you're working with a partner who incorrectly identified your topic sentence or thesis sentence(s), that also means that you probably aren't communicating your argument as clearly as you might have hoped. If the sentences can be identified, but the topic sentences don't each seem to build on each other AND contribute to your thesis, that may indicate an opportunity for restructuring or refining. If each topic sentence can be clearly identified and is relevant to your overall argument while building that argument logically, then well done! Your paper is probably still clear and well-structured.
How do I incorporate sources into a literary analysis?
The use of sources begins with careful research. Once you have identified scholarly, peer-reviewed sources relevant to your topic, you should review your initial argument and the ways in which those sources either support or challenge that. Your argument may change as a result of the sources you find. Next, after carefully reading the sources that seemed relevant from the initial skimming, make note of the key points you want to either quote directly or paraphrase in your analysis. As you work, be sure that the majority of the analysis is coming from your own original thoughts. The secondary sources should serve a secondary role - they can bolster your argument, provide a point for you to argue against, and demonstrate that you have done your research, but they are ultimately providing a context for YOUR contribution to a literary discussion about a certain work or works of literature.
How do articles function in the English language?
The three articles in English are "a," "an," and "the." All three function similarly to adjectives, helping us to clarify if we are referring to any example of some noun, or to a specific example of some noun. "A" and "an" are indefinite articles, meaning that they are used to refer to any one example of something, while "the" is a definite article referring to a specific example of something. For example, "a cat" refers to the general idea of any one cat, while "the cat" refers to a specific, identifiable cat.
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