Advanced Writing for the Arts and Humanities


Spring 2016


WRIT 340: Advanced Writing for the Arts and Humanities

Assignment 3


Part I: invention, research, analysis and summary of research



Purpose: To continue sharpening your critical thinking skills with respect to a genuinely problematic dilemma in your future profession/present field in the Health or Natural Sciences. To hone your research skills. To create succinct summaries and analyses of the most meaningful and interesting research surrounding your chosen issue.

Note: Unlike A1 and A2, this assignment is not an essay.



Task: Continue to think carefully about various dilemmas in your future profession/present field in the Health or Natural Sciences. You should begin by spending some time thinking, brainstorming, and doing some preliminary research on a bunch of interesting issues that professionals within your field are debating. Now choose one that is a particularly tantalizing dilemma, and continue to research it carefully from as many different perspectives as possible. Then, in a 6-8 page paper, first summarize and then analyze the arguments of six to ten relevant and significant pieces of writing on your topic, at least four of which should be scholarly sources.



Pose your dilemma as a question. You should not pick a side at this point.



Audience: The audience for this assignment will be professionals in the specific field that you choose to write about.


Assigned Readings for this assignment: To located by you. You need 6-10 sources, at least four of which should be scholarly (written by experts on that specific topic for experts, and published in a peer-reviewed journal or reputed press)



Some considerations while choosing your topic


Be good to yourselves and choose

  • A topic that you are interested in exploring, and that will help you think about your discipline, future profession, or one of the various professions you are considering.
  • A topic that has complex dimensions (for instance, one that makes it difficult to choose which the strongest side might be, and not one that sets up straw-men as the opposition).
  • A topic that will give you enough interesting material to write a 6-7 page ‘researched’ paper for Assignment 3.
  • A topic that allows you to find rich, meaningful sources to research/review (make sure of this *before* deciding on your topic).
  • Do not choose topics that have been done to death – such as global warming — although you may choose a specific case within these.
  • Choose a specific focus or case, and not too broad a topic.
  • Make sure that the articles you choose cover a range of perspectives on your issue.









The format for this paper will be the following:


On top, state the dilemma you will be exploring: Begin by stating this as a question (“Dilemma: ____?”). This will be followed by your sources, each of which will have three sections devoted to it (Details, Summary, Analysis). List your (minimum four) scholarly sources first. Each source should have a total of between ½ to 1 page each devoted to it.


  1. Details: (a) begin with the relevant details on your source in bold (title, author, date published, where published, web address if on the internet etc.), (b) what the source is (journal article, magazine article, book, internet article) and (c) whether this is an scholarly source.


  1. Summary: Next, in a paragraph, summarize/paraphrase the argument your source is making (relevant to your topic). Needless to say, use your own words; you may, however, quote a *few* really significant phrases or terms that writers may use.


III. Analysis of Source: Lastly, in another paragraph, analyze the points your source is making. You may wish to consider the ‘toolkit for analyzing texts’ we discussed in class (Aristotelian appeals, Logical Fallacies, the source’s use of (and tone towards) Counterarguments etc.)



The rest of the format will remain the same as for your other papers, i.e. one inch margins, double spaced, 12 inch                         Times New Roman etc. (see syllabus)



As always, we will discuss the assignment in detail in class. Please see the class schedule for what we will be doing each day.




What follows is a rough preview of what your assignment should look like. Note that this paper is not an essay: you do not need an introduction, conclusion, transitions between paragraphs etc.



Your name

Date etc.


Assignment 3 (whether or not you want to give your assignment a title is your choice)



Dilemma (one sentence on your specific case in the form of a question):

Professional audience:


  1. “Fortress L.A.,” City of Quartz by Mike Davis. 1992. Vintage. Book. Scholarly source.
  2. One para summary/paraphrase of the argument that this source is making (relevant to your dilemma).

III. One para: YOUR analysis of the argument that this source is making.


(Leave a space and then go on to the next source)









What to turn in with A3


— As always, a hard copy formatted correctly is to be turned in on the due date at the beginning of class + emailed word doc.

— Final version of prewriting exercise on pages 3-4 of this assignment sheet to be turned in with the hard copy (initial version to be brought to conference). The final version can be untidy, messy and doodle-ey, as long as it is (mostly) legible.








Format for Oral Presentation


  • Tell the class what your future profession/field or discipline is.
  • State your dilemma (one sentence in the form of a question).
  • The rest of your presentation will be showing us the two or more — sides to the dilemma: your task is to show the audience that it is not easy to decide which the stronger side of this important issue is. Do not give background – or, if you feel you must absolutely do so, make sure not to spend more than 60 seconds on this before going on to spend a full 5 minutes on the dilemma itself.
  • Remember not to take a side.
  • Your presentation should be no less than 5 minutes and no longer than 7 for full credit. Less than 5 mins will be ½ credit.
  • Do not read out, although you may bring along a list of points to consult in case you get nervous. No visuals or power point. Just you using the power of words and language to convince us that that this is a real dilemma.







Turn to next page for prewriting sheet
























You will be submitting an initial version of this at your Conference, so be sure to keep a copy for yourself; the

‘final’ version is to be turned in with your assignment.



Dilemma (one sentence on your specific case in the form of a question): _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________?


Professional Audience (one only, as specific as possible):



Your four scholarly sources (list author, title of piece, where published, date etc.):








Your other sources (these may or may not be scholarly sources):











The arguments on one side are:












The arguments on the other side are:












Feel free to use additional sheets for this exercise.


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