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English 201: Strategies for Academic Writing

Learning Goals

Welcome to our Course Page for English 201 Strategies for Academic Writing

Session objectives:

  1. Evaluate sources located in Search@UW
  2. Identify a subject specific database for articles
  3. Discuss Scholarly Sources. 

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The Critical Process

According to The Fundamentals of Literary Criticism, the critical process is comprised of four steps:

Step I: Interpretation

What is this text actually about?

Now is the time to:

  • Look up unfamiliar words.
  • Examine the tone the author uses. The definition of a word may change depending on the context.
  • Consider how language changes when using it in everyday life compared to more technical language.
    • For example, "heart attack" and "myocardial infarction" mean the same thing. A more technical term may be used to describe something with more precision. It also maintains its definition, whereas everyday terms may change meaning over time.

Step II: Orientation

It is easy to become caught up in the author's point of view and reject a text.

Before doing so, consider:

  • What are the author's ideas?
  • What are the ideas of the author's intended audience?
  • What are the circumstances and expectations surrounding the lives of the audience?

Step III: Evaluation

After steps I and II, evaluation of a work often arises naturally. A true evaluation of a work occurs when the reader is certain they see the literary work as it was intended to or should be seen. At this point, the reader forms their judgment of a work, whether it is good or bad and why. This is done without attributing personal tastes to the work.

Step IV: Articulation

At this point, the reader is ready to share their ideas with others. By taking action, the reader opens themselves up to others' critical opinions of works, allowing a dialog to begin.

Roberts, Mark. The Fundamentals of Literary Criticism. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell Limited, 1974. Print.