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Analyzing the Assignment
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Identifying Key Sources

In addition to identifying the key tasks and terms as you analyze an assignment, you also should circle or highlight the kinds of sources you are required to use. Ideally, an assignment will state explicitly what sources are required as in

Read an article in a newspaper, a magazine, or a journal (NY Times, Newsweek, or Math Today, etc.) that pertains to mathematics. The article should be published after January 1, 1997. Your paper should consist of a summary using your own words and your viewpoint on the issue.

Most college writing assignments expect you to use one or more of the following:

  • personal experiences and/or observations
  • interviews and/or surveys
  • newspapers and/or popular magazines
  • textbooks and/or class notes
  • videos and/or films
  • scholarly books
  • academic journals
  • websites

If you are required to use more than one source from the same time-period, then you can analyze these sources using "cultural analysis." If you use two or more sources from different time-periods, then you can analyze these sources using "historical analysis." For more on these two kinds of analysis, see "Connections: RLC 110-111 and Other Courses."

To learn how to evaluate sources, especially Internet ones, see "Research Strategies."