As you read, you should underline or highlight the key elements of the assignment. As you analyze your assignment, you will want to make sure to identify the central tasks in it so that you can be sure that you do those in your paper—and that you make it explicit to readers that you are foregrounding or emphasizing that work in your paper.
Ask about your assignment— Most academic writing assignments have a central task or a couple of central tasks—essentially jobs you need to do in your paper. Here are some sample assignments from undergraduate courses, annotated to show how to identify the central task in the assignment. Interpreting this assignment: the central task here is to “explain the collapse of the Soviet Union” by naming and explaining “the most important factors that led to the collapse.” As you plan your paper, you will want to focus always on identifying a few of the most important factors that led to the collapse.
What’s an appropriate size for a “small ecosystem”?
Which two will be different enough to make for interesting comparisons?
These examples will serve as topic areas for your group assignment.
Review the recent literature in your topic and prepare a group presentation on the topic.In part 2, the key plural noun is “challenges”—here you will want to organize your presentation around several distinct challenges.If an assignment in a cultural anthropology course, for example, asks you to explain kinship in a particular culture through three current anthropological theories, you will probably want to organize your paper around the theories.When you’re new—to college writing, to a particular discipline, to graduate-level writing, to a particular professor—you will want to follow some of these strategies to make sure you have a good understanding of what you’re being asked to do and so that you build a strong understanding of what a successful paper will look like.For any assignment, no matter how brief or detailed, you will need to read it through more than once—slowly—in order to analyze it carefully.If you are writing a paper for a college or university course and your instructor has given you a specific assignment or prompt, you should start working on your paper by reading that assignment carefully, long in advance of the deadline.That assignment holds some important keys for your success.The bulk of your paper should come from your direct observations, but draw upon course readings when helpful for your explanation.Interpreting this assignment: To succeed with this paper, you will, of course, have to do close observations of two small local ecosystems, describe those ecosystems fully with rich details from your observations (“the bulk of your paper should come from your direct observations”), and convey a good understanding of relevant .Address the following: Interpreting this assignment: The first part of this assignment offers background information, givens for this particular assignment.Your group’s central task is to find, read, and understand the literature on your specific topic and to come up with answers to the questions and tasks in 1-4.