Course Overview and Policy Statements



Text Analysis

Individual Topics

Reflective Writing

Print-Friendly Page Print Page
Authors & Contributors

Portfolio 1 - Kiefer

BackBack to Text Analysis Assignments

The first portfolio, due on October 10, should include your best writing from the first part of the semester. Specific requirements:

Please remember to clip all the drafts of these pieces to the final versions, with the final draft on top of the stack. All final drafts must be typed in a readable font (12 point Times New Roman works well), double-spaced, with 1 inch margins.

Please specify your target audience and your goal for the piece at the top of the final draft.


As we'll discuss in class, you'll revise your descriptive text-analysis reports into essays for which you specify an audience and purpose. Each of the following questions represents one way to look at a report and transform it into an essay.

  1. Which of the journals the class analyzed is the best publication venue for your future work? Why? (Alternatively, which of the journals is the best publication venue for classmates' future work and why? Or, which of the journals is not a good potential publication venue for your own or classmates' future work and why?)

  2. How does the "personal" inform the "public" in the article you selected for detailed analysis? From your analysis, can you draw any conclusions about why the author blended the personal and public in this way for this publication? You could focus your response on specific writing techniques or on your interpretation of the writer's purpose or both. (In answering this question, you can substitute "individual" and "cultural" in the question.)

  3. Who reads science writing? Use details from your group analysis of a journal, your group analysis of a journal article, and/or your individual analysis of an article.

  4. How could you apply the text-analysis techniques you've worked on thus far in the term to the writing you'll do in your major? In particular, which techniques might help you be most successful in writing for your field?
If you devise other questions to guide your revisions, check those with me in advance to be sure the essays will meet portfolio goals.

In short, the essays for portfolio 1 can be argumentative, informative, interpretive, reflective, or some clearly defined combination. Make sure you keep your goal for the essay, as well as the reader you're writing for, in mind throughout your drafting and revising.

Criteria for the Portfolio

Audience: You specify the audience. You might write to classmates (or one particular classmate), high-school science teachers, or students in future sections of CO301B. You may write to professors in your field only as teachers of reading/writing/critical thinking skills, not as experts in the discipline. Do not assume that your readers have read the piece(s) or journal you're analyzing. Be sure to include specific examples from the text(s) to build your readers' understanding of the text(s) in question.

Purpose: You specify the purpose appropriate to your audience. One element of final evaluation will be how well you fulfill your purpose for the specified readers.

Focus: Help your reader appropriately by announcing what you'll cover in the paper. A narrowly focused, clearly stated claim is both easier for readers to grasp and easier for you to develop or support. Even if you're writing a reflective paper, you need to orient the reader to your overall point with some kind of focusing or forecasting statement.

Development: Support your claim(s) with specific examples from the text(s) including quotes, paraphrases and summaries, as appropriate. Include, as appropriate for your paper, specific examples of how evidence, organization, style, tone, etc., lead you to the conclusions you draw. Unsupported assertion isn't an acceptable approach in these papers. Moreover, details stick in readers' mind and convince/persuade more effectively than do general statements. Check each point in your paper and make sure you back it up with adequate support. Your support will include textual evidence, but you need to show your thinking as well. So plan to include your own analytic thinking and personal experience where appropriate. Refer to the texts with author and title "tags" rather than formal documentation.

Organization: Arrange your paper in a coherent, readable, logical manner. Avoid merely providing summaries of each text or listing techniques. Show how and why the writer made his choices or how and why you draw the conclusions you do.

Style: Write in a style that is clear and readable with few, if any, grammatical, mechanical or usage errors. Make stylistic choices appropriate for your audience or the target publication.

Layout: Although visuals and headings are not required for this portfolio, you may find that they help you. Headings can often signal the organization of your paper, particularly helpful for readers if your claim is complex or your paper exceeds eight pages. Visuals--graphs, tables, charts, pictures--can all enhance the appeal of your papers, so use them if they're appropriate given your audience and purpose.

You don't need a separate title page. Be sure to leave one inch margins all around but, otherwise, don't waste paper.