If a difference is present within your paper between what you have read and what you understand (reason), then your professor will write “sense” in the margins to highlight a problem with your interpretation.

We take in life, and all its elements, through our five basic senses. What we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell affect us. We are gifted with these senses for the sole purpose of discriminating and differentiating between one thing and its other. When we write the academic paper, we use not only the physical sense of sight, but also sense in terms of reason.

We express reason through utilizing our abilities to “perceive,” “judge,” and “interpret,” to look directly at an object and examine it with the purpose of determining its value and usefulness. When you read a text (an object), you approach it with the purpose of examining it to test its value, its worthiness.

If you have determined after reading that it is indeed worthy of consideration for use by just applying the basic sense of sight, then you approach the text differently when you begin to read and understand its content, which includes what the author believes about a particular idea and the author’s opinions.

After you finish writing, your response (in the form of an essay) to the text must reflect your understanding of what you have just read. Your understanding, as illustrated through the medium of analysis, represents your ability to take in what you read, process it, and produce a final product that is indicative of careful and logical reasoning.

With this in mind, the best solution to filling the gap between what you read and what you understand is to reread a section of the text that you are having problems with and think about who the major players are. Ask yourself who is doing what to whom, why, and for what reason. The excerpt below is an example of a student’s learning gap. The student reads the text, processes the information, but fails to use reason and logic to reveal all of the qualities of the text. In essence, what you see is what you get in the student’s paper. However, what you read is what the professor must get. Notice the gaps in the student’s analysis.

Sample Excerpt

Several critics support Gasset’s assertion. They prove with their examples, observations, and careful analysis the validity of Gassett’s view.

Figure 61: Essay Excerpt on Ortega Y. Gasset


1) How do the critics use their examples, observations, and analyses to validate Gasset’s assertion?

2) What are the critics’ observations?

3) What are the critics’ examples?

4) What is each critic’s analysis?

5) What is each critic’s method?

6) What are the critics trying to prove?

Revision Considerations

Revising a section of your paper for “sense” is not easy, but it is necessary. How you present your ideas logically will affect your professor’s interpretation of your analysis. You must understand what you read and you must demonstrate this understanding within your writing.

Therefore, when developing editing objectives for revising sections for “sense,” consider correcting those areas of your paper where you have included steps, cause and effect parallels, historical context, and deductive reasoning. These are the areas of your paper that if not revised might contribute to the lowering of your grade.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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