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Close Reading and Analysis

Close Reading and Analysis

 

This worksheet treats Upper Sproul as a text for students to read and form arguments about. It is intended to provide a clear example of how one effectively uses observations to support analysis.

 

Part One: Observations

Please describe Upper Sproul on a busy day (e.g. a weekday at 12:00pm). These observations could include (but are not limited to) type of people, building, plants, and activities. In other words, who is there and what is happening?

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Part Two: Analysis

The Prompt: Imagine that I am a potential Cal student. I just got my acceptance letter, but I am not sure whether or not I want to attend. Should I visit Upper Sproul on a busy day to get a feel for the school?

Please argue both sides of the question:

Yes, you should visit because… [list three observations from part one]

 

 

 

No, you should not visit because… [list three observations from part one]

 

 

 

Part Three: The Argument

If the some of the observations that you used in Part Two overlap, that’s fine (and even likely). For example, you might say that people should not visit because there are a lot of students handing out fliers, but you might also say that people should visit for this very reason.

The difference, of course, lies not in the observation but in your argument. Thus, if you say that a potential student should not visit Upper Sproul because of the fliers, then you need to answer the question why not? (Similarly, if you think that a potential student should visit Upper Sproul, then you need to answer the question why?)

So, the next step is to provide the why or why not to your answers in part two. Use a descriptive word or phrase that captures the effect of the three observations you chose. Why do these observations lead you to tell a potential student to visit (or not to visit) Upper Sproul when its busy?

Now, form your argument (you can just pick your favorite—yes or no):

 

Yes, a potential student should visit Upper Sproul because it _____________________

(descriptive word or phrase). The observations that support this are:

1. ________________________ 2. ________________________ and

3. ________________________.

 

(or)

 

No, a potential student should not visit Upper Sproul when it is busy because it

__________________________ (descriptive word or phrase). The observations that

support this are: 1. ________________________ 2. ________________________ and

3. ________________________.

 

Part Four: Using Evidence in a Paragraph

Your argument could easily be made into a paragraph about Upper Sproul (or even a whole essay). So far you’ve thought about the overall effect of your three observations and made an argument about them (e.g. they make Sproul seem fun; they make Sproul seem crowded). What is the specific effect of each observation? Using your argument as a topic sentence, try to write one or two sentences about each observation afterward.

  1. ______________________________________________________________

 

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  1. ______________________________________________________________

 

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  1. ______________________________________________________________

 

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    Part Five: Reflection and Questions

    Do you have a stronger understanding of close reading and analysis? Why or why not?

     

     

    What are some of the differences between “reading” Sproul and reading a piece of literature?

     

     

    How can these tools of close reading, analysis and argumentation be extended to a literary text? When reading a literary text, what sorts of observations can you make about the text? What sorts of details can you observe?

     

     

     

     

    Hana Metzger
Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley
©2009 UC Regents

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.