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in a manner using or involving careful judgment about the good and bad parts We need to look at these proposed changes with a critical eye before we accept.
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Thomas Raymond rated it liked it Dec 19, Marty Fiebert rated it it was amazing Apr 06, Ruxandra Duca rated it liked it Nov 06, Kajah marked it as to-read Apr 24, Gabrielle marked it as to-read Jul 29, Deborah Kasdan marked it as to-read Dec 04, Richard marked it as to-read Apr 08, John Garvey added it Apr 16, Rosa added it Jul 14, Brianne marked it as to-read Mar 08, Lesley marked it as to-read May 17, Jason Lau marked it as to-read Sep 18, Jeannine marked it as to-read Sep 05, Hailey marked it as to-read Jul 07, Matthew Aufiero marked it as to-read Nov 23, Nicole added it Apr 25, Michael marked it as to-read Jun 23, Mike Walker added it Dec 27, Nicole marked it as to-read Apr 25, Steve marked it as to-read Aug 14, Lora added it May 07, Kevin marked it as to-read Jul 17, Rose LaCroix added it Nov 18, Floietoss added it Mar 30, In the end, you find that your block is gone.

Maybe it's gone because what was blocking you in the first place was a hole in your argument.

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Or maybe it's gone because you gave your brain a break. In any case, stopping to revise as you draft often proves wise. We've yet to address the matter of how a writer knows what she should revise.

Developing a critical eye is perhaps the most difficult part of the revision process. But having a critical eye makes you a better writer, reader, and thinker. So it's worth considering carefully how you might learn to assess your own work. The first step in this self-assessment is to get some distance from your work. If you've planned your writing process well, you'll have left yourself a day or two to take a break from your writing.

If you don't have this luxury, even an hour of video games or a walk over to the library to pick up a hard copy of your draft might be enough to clear your head. Many writers find that their mind keeps working on their papers even while their attention is turned elsewhere. When they return to their work, they bring with them a fresh perspective. They also bring a more open, more detached mind. When you return to your paper, the first thing that you'll want to do is to consider whether or not the paper as a whole meets your and your professor's expectations. Read the paper through without stopping don't get hung up on that troublesome second paragraph.

Then ask yourself these questions:. If the professor gave you instructions for this assignment, reread them and then ask yourself whether or not you addressed all of the matters you were expected to address. Does your paper stray from the assignment? If it does, have you worked to make your argument relevant, or are you coming out of left field?

If the professor hasn't given you explicit instructions for this paper, you'll still want to take a moment to consider what the professor expects. What are the main ideas of the course? What books has the professor asked you to read? What position do they take as regards your topic? Has the professor emphasized a certain method of scholarship feminism, Marxism, etc.

Critical Eye

Has he said anything to you about research methods in his discipline? Does your paper seem to fit into the conversation that the professor has been carrying on in class? Have you written something that other students would find relevant and interesting? This is perhaps the most difficult question you will ask yourself in the revision process. Many of us think that we have indeed said what we intended to say.

When we read our papers, we are able to fill in any holes that might exist in our arguments with the information that we have in our minds. The problem is that our readers sometimes don't have this information in mind. They fall into the holes of our arguments, and they can't get out.

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It's very important, therefore, to think carefully about what you have said - and to think just as carefully about what you haven't said. Do I need to define my terms? Has every stage of the argument been articulated clearly? Have I made adequate transitions between my ideas?

Revision: Cultivating a Critical Eye

Is my logic solid? Is it there, for all to see? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you will want to revise your draft. In order to develop a critical eye, it's just as important to know when you've written well as it is to know when you've written poorly. It helps, therefore, to make a list of what you think you've done well in your draft. It's also helpful to pick out your favorite or strongest paragraph. When you've found a good paragraph, or sentence, or idea, think about why it's good. You'll not only be gaining an understanding of what it means to write well, you'll also be giving yourself a pat on the back - something that's very important to do in the revision process.

Looking for weaknesses isn't as fun as looking for strengths, but it's necessary to the revision process. Again, try to make a list of what you haven't done well in this paper. Your list should be as specific as you can make it. Figure out why you don't like it, and work to make it better. Then go back through your paper and look for others like it. If you've been considering the strengths and weaknesses of your paper, you've already begun to analyze your work. The process of analysis involves breaking down an idea or an argument into its parts and evaluating those parts on their merits.

When you analyze your own paper, then, you are breaking that paper down into its parts and asking yourself whether or not these parts support the paper as you envision it. We've been encouraging you to analyze your work throughout this website. Every time we've prodded you to reconsider your thesis, every time we've provided you with a checklist for writing good paragraphs, we have been encouraging you to break your writing down into parts and to review those parts with a critical eye.

Here is a checklist reiterating our earlier advice. Use it to analyze your whole paper, or use it to help you to figure out what went wrong with a particular part of your work. In addition to the advice given above, we'd like to offer the following tips for revising your paper. If you don't start your paper until the night before it's due, you won't be able to revise.

If you have a short paper due on Friday, finish your draft no later than Wednesday so that you have Thursday night to revise. If you are working on a long paper, of course you'll want to set aside more time for revising. Many people miss problems in their papers when they are reading from the computer screen. Because you can't see the whole paper on the screen, it is sometimes hard to diagnose big structural problems.

Having a hard copy of your paper will not only help you to see these problems, but it will give you space in the margins where you might write notes to yourself as you read. Sometimes you can hear mistakes that you don't see. Reading aloud will signal to you when something doesn't make sense, when sentences go on for too long, when punctuation has gone awry, and so on. It's often difficult to figure out what's gone wrong in your own paper.

This is why getting a second reader is the smartest thing you can do as a writer. A second reader can do a lot for you: Don't be defensive; instead, try to figure out why your reader feels as she does about your paper. Of course, you don't have to follow every suggestion that your reader makes, but you will certainly profit from her comments and questions, even if you do decide to ignore her advice in the end.

There's no better way to learn how to revise your paper than to help someone else revise his.

You'll find that your critical eye works much better when it's focused on your friend's paper than it does when it's focused on your own. You can be more objective when looking at someone else's work. You can see more easily what's gone wrong in a paper and how to fix it.


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When you practice these skills on someone else's paper, you become more adept at practicing them on your own. Technically, this falls in the category of "getting a second reader. Our tutors not only help you to write a better paper, they also ask questions aimed at helping you develop your own critical eye. Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. Learn more about our research.

The Critical Eye: An Introduction To Looking At Movies by Margo A. Kasdan

Cultivating a Critical Eye. Developing a Critical Eye We've yet to address the matter of how a writer knows what she should revise. Then ask yourself these questions: Did I fulfill the assignment? Did I say what I intended to say? What are the strengths of my paper? What are the weaknesses of my paper? Analyzing Your Work If you've been considering the strengths and weaknesses of your paper, you've already begun to analyze your work.

Consider Your Introduction If you are writing a researched paper, does your introduction place your argument in an ongoing conversation? If you're not writing a researched paper, does your introduction set context?