Analysing an academic text

Analysing an academic text

The steps

There are a number of steps which need to be taken to arrive at an in-depth understanding of a piece of text

Where does the text come from?

Who wrote it?

Where do they work?

What does the text include?

Is it a theoretic account or an empirical report?

What is the central argument?

What will we know when we have read the paper?

How do the pieces fit together?

How is the argument unfolded?

 

Where does the text come from?

 

A high level understanding of the text

Read the text and establish the following:-

What is being read – a book, a paper, theory, empirical research, a case study

Who wrote it? Are the authors well known?

What is it called?

When was it written?

Where was it published? Is the publisher well known?

What was the authors agenda in writing it?

How well is it supported by authority? How good is the authority?

 

What does the text include?

 

A first attempt to understand the text

Issues, constructs and  variables

Is it written in an understandable and easy to read way?

List the issues, constructs and  variables which are being described or discussed

Look to see if these issues group in any way

Are there other voices in the text other than the author/s?

If so how do these group, if at all?

 

What is the central argument/s in the piece of text?

The authors often have a point of view, a thesis or an intellectual position which they wish to advance

Identify the thesis

List the supporting argument/s

List the assumptions which the author/s make

These assumptions may be explicit or implicit

What values do the authors aspire to?

 

How do the pieces fit together?

 

Examine the text for relationships

Are the Issues, constructs and variables related to one another?

List the issues, constructs and variables and their groups and draw how they are connected to one another using a diagram.

These diagrams may be described using various names such as Topic Map, Idea Map, Concept Mapping, Cognitive Map and Argument Map

There is a large range of methods and styles in drawing such diagrams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example of a Topic Map, Idea Map, Concept Mapping, Cognitive Map and Argument Map

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s