Activity Forty Checking for development of an argument in an assignment

Choose an assignment. Take each paragraph in turn (if the paragraphs are short it might be best to group two or three together) and write down the main point of each in a list.

The final list should look like an outline for the whole piece of work. If you are doing this for yourself it allows you to check your final piece against your initial plan, to see if you have left anything out or put something in the wrong place. However, please note that it might be the initial plan that was wrong not the final piece.

When you are working with a friend it can also be very helpful both for the one giving and the one receiving feedback to ask for additional comments on what they are concerned about in the particular piece of work. Below are some suggestions for the kinds of question that you might like to ask someone reading your work. Can you add any of your own?

• Does this example work?

• Have I put in too much evidence here?

Your constructively critical (but possibly ignorant of the subject) reader could come in with some of their own questions as they read. In Chapter 5 we gave an example of a student's response to another student's work. You may now like to look back at this.

Once you have gone through your assignment in these different ways, you might find that you need to make quite a range of changes which could include: reordering your work; rewriting the introduction or conclusion to include mention of what exactly the assignment is about; cutting out some parts that you have written. Don't necessarily destroy your edited bits because they may come in handy later, perhaps for revision or another piece of work.

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