To understand the perspectives of those writing on your issue, it is useful to analyze the contexts (background or history, values, beliefs, affiliations, cultural context, etc.) of the writers, who will vary as individuals but may also show similarities to others who hold similar positions. As a way of grappling with the issue of context, begin your analysis of perspectives by examining your own. By applying a series of context questions to yourself, you should be able to see more clearly how context and background influence positions that people take on issues. By acknowledging your own vested interests (affiliations, beliefs, values, background, etc.), you may be better able to see understand other perspectives in the culture and the literature.
Purpose for the Analysis: To look closely and critically at your own context and thereby to develop the skills for applying similar analysis to outside sources and their origins.
Audience for the Analysis: Your instructor and classmates are the audience for this analysis.
Analysis Requirements: Answer the following questions. Then select a few of your responses and write a focused and developed analysis of your own context for reacting to the issue. The final Personal Position Analysis should be approximately 500 words.
Personal Position Analysis Questions
1. As of now, what is your position on this issue?
2. What is your tentative claim? (State as a complete sentence.)
3. What are some reasons you'll use to support that claim? (State each reason as a complete sentence.)
Consider why you take the position you do—not so much your logic or reasoning but the contextual influences that may have shaped your position.
1. Where did you grow up? Describe your neighborhood, school, hometown? How might your local community have influenced the way you view this issue?
2. Describe your values and beliefs, your convictions and/or where you get your morals or your sense of right and wrong. What helps you to define what's right and wrong? Where do you think your sense of values came from? How might these values, beliefs, convictions, and morals affect your views of the issue you're writing about?
3. What people have been most influential in shaping your views? How do they influence your ideas? How might they influence the way you view this particular issue?
4. Describe any biases that you have that may influence how you view this issue. Do you have something to gain personally from taking the position you do? If so, what is it?
5. Can you think of any specific personal experiences (event, story, film, book) that may have influenced the way you view this issue?
6. How might your education affect your position on this issue? How were you schooled—at home, or in a public, private, religious, charter, or alternative institution? Have you received formal education or training from work or service-related affiliations? Has your education extended beyond the classroom—via travel or unique circumstances? How might your education—in and out of school—have influenced your views on this issue?
7. How has the research you have done thus far on your issue affected your position? Explain. What values, beliefs, purposes or concerns do you share with the sources you have found? Where do your values or beliefs diverge from your sources?
Now choose two or three of the most significant points from your responses to discuss in a focused personal position analysis of approximately 500 words.