last updated: Tue, July 2, 2019 9:43 PM

Analysis and writing

Analysis and analytic essays

1. Analysis

This link provides details about the relationship of "code" to texts, the course definition of "object of analysis," the course definition of "analysis" (an expected element in course submissions in most cases), and statements on the expected balance between factual content and your analysis.

Some key points:

  • "Code & text" — A piece of literature or film in its raw form as language and image, before it is interpreted (given meaning). I ask students to remain aware that any "text" they study is the one constructed in their heads. It is an entity that results from their cognition, not an empirical object that is the same for everyone.
  • "Objects of analysis" — In brief, this is the aspect or portion of a text that you decide to analyze
  • "Analysis" — Analysis, for the purpose of this course, is the investment of time in the informed and disciplined consideration of an object(s) to develop interpretations, observations, and/or tentative conclusions that are credible, interesting, and useful to other readers, by affording clarity to the object or offering new ways to think about it.
  • On balance, the written submissions of students favor the presentation of their analysis (new knowledge) over the collection and reporting of factual data.

(not yet updated, this is the Fall 2018 version)

2. Focus

This link discusses how to bring focus to analysis, and what types of focus are acceptable for this course.

3. Research

This link includes some suggestions on start points and pathways for research, research-writing work-flow, levels of credibility for secondary sources, as well as the critically aware use of them.

Some key points:

  • To meet the highest level of credibility, use OskiCat (http://oskicat.berkeley.edu with the drop-down menu set at "Available online" for efficient online searches), or access ProQuest Ebook Central, JSTOR, Project MUSE, and such via our library (http://guides.lib.berkeley.edu/az.php and proxy if off campus) for full access to academic books or articles.
  • Always use your own good, cautious, critical judgment and independent knowledge when evaluating sources.
  • Be aware of publications dates. Use "old" material only when it seems warranted.
  • Credibility levels with terms ("CredOne - Academically Credible" etc.) to use in footnotes and bibliography lists, when required:
    1. CredOne - Academically Credible. This refers to top-level credibility. Because it has undergone peer-review and professional editing before publication, we can start with an assumption that is is academically credible. Examples: for books—academic publishing enterprises; for journals—peer-reviewed academic journals or those found on widely know academic repositories such as JSTOR.
    2. CredTwo - Probably Credible. This refers to high-level credibility. Although not published through a widely known academic enterprise, the material (probably found on the web) appears to be credible because of the quality of the material itself AND because the author has been independently confirmed by you (using information not associated with the source you wish to use) as likely credible for the information you wish to use. Examples: Self-published material where you can find information on the author, encyclopedia articles that include the author's name and you can find information on that individual.
    3. CredThree - Apparently credible. This refers to material that is of acceptable credibility. Although not published through a widely known academic enterprise, the material (probably found on the web) appears to be credible because of the quality of the material itself suggests a likelihood of credibility. (Be wary of wishful thinking when making this conclusion.) Examples: A carefully written article but part of a commercial enterprise such as a tea shop, Wiki article, article in an online encyclopedia such as Britannica, self-published material, student Masters theses.
    4. CredFour - Not credible. This refers to material that is not credible in terms of academic content but might be useful as examples of how people think or act. Thus is it never a source of authoritative statements of information or for its analytic conclusions but might be useful for evidence of behavior (not to support a point you are making). The source has none of the above characteristics. Example: comments under a YouTube upload or under a news-feed, newspaper articles, popular magazine articles.

(not yet updated, this is the Fall 2018 version)

4. Format & Style

This link outlines the formal requirements for course essays such as margins, managing titles, special footnote and bibliography requirements beyond the Chicago Manual of Style requirements discussed elsewhere.

Some key points:

  • lorem

(not yet updated, this is the Fall 2018 version)

5. Documentation

Provides details and links for Chicago Manual of Style—Notes and Bibliography ("CMOS-NB," or just "Chicago NB"), the required method for footnoting course essays and the bibliography lists required. Includes guidance on when to cite, when to quote. Discusses in detail the basic elements of documentation.

Some key points:

(not yet updated, this is the Fall 2018 version)