WHAT IS A TEXT-BASED APPROACH TO PAPER TOPICS?
Paper topics are an instructor’s way to provide guidelines for writing essays. At Skyline College, the English composition classes are designed to teach text-based writing (also known as reading-based writing). Therefore, the paper topics are generally text-based which promote an understanding and analysis of the assigned reading. This means that students create essays that argue a point of view about the reading. In text-based writing, if you write an essay that does not mention the reading or directly examine the reading, it is off topic. However, text-based writing is not simply summarizing what you read. You will summarize parts of the reading to support your arguments, but summary should not take over your paper. In text-based writing, you will center the paper on an argument (thesis) that gives your opinion on and analyzes what you read. The body of the paper then provides evidence (from the assigned reading as well as other sources) and your own reasoning to prove and illustrate that argument.
WHY THIS APPROACH?
- applies what you read putting the information into long-term memory.
- promotes higher order critical thinking as it involves processing complex information and forming educated well-reasoned opinions on it.
- promotes advanced critical reading by requiring close, interactive reading.
- adds a scholarly authority to your writing as you react to, assess, and incorporate the views of others.
- develops confidence in forming your own position on the human condition and societal issues.
- helps writers relate texts to other texts and to their lived experiences applying the valuable skills of synthesis which allows readers to see important commonalities, patterns, and trends.
- makes you a better thinker, stronger reader, clearer writer, and more sophisticated scholar.