"What Does the Professor Want?" - Identifying Key
Tasks, Terms, and Sources
students receive a difficult assignment, some do not analyze it
fully to understand its requirements. They may, for example, write
a summary when an analysis was assigned or fail to use the required
number of scholarly sources.
To identify the key tasks of an assignment, try re-reading it
with a pen or highlighter in hand and marking the answer(s) to
- What kinds of writing are expected?
- Can this assignment be fulfilled best by writing a narrative,
a summary, an analysis, a synthesis, and/or an argument?
College students, of course, may be assigned other kinds of writing,
but these are five fundamental tasks. As shown by the sample assignment
below, a professor, however, may only imply that a certain task
In 1-2 typed pages, tell about a memorable high school
learning experience then explain what do you think is significant
about this experience.
What kind(s) of writing do you think this assignment requires?