To correct problems with mismatching and logic within your essays, use the following steps to guide you through the revision process.
This process falls under Task #2: Number. See the “Analysis Revision Tasks” category for more information. You may also click on the link.
Step #1: Numbering the Body Paragraph in the Student Essay
Number the sentences within the paragraph that summarize events from the primary source. Actually write #1, #2, #3, #4, etc. Circle the numbers. You may want to highlight them in a different color ink, preferably red.
Step #2: Studying the Author’s Narrative/Essay/Argument
Study the section of the primary source that corresponds to the summary of events in your paper. Number the description of events within the author’s source that correspond to the description of events in your essay. Actually write #1, #2, #3, #4, etc. Circle the numbers. You may want to highlight them in a different color ink, preferably red.
Step #3: Repositioning the Numbered Sentences in the Student Essay
Cut and paste these numbered events into a separate Word document. Put the numbered events on separate lines. Double space between each line, so you can clearly see the different events on the page without confusion.
Step #4: Transcribing the Numbered Sentences in the Author’s Narrative/Essay/Argument
Either type or take out a sheet of paper and type or copy down the events you have numbered. Put the numbered events on separate lines. Double space between each line, so you can clearly see the different events on the page without confusion.
Step #5: Mirroring
Place the cut and pasted numbered events of the student essay side-by-side with the numbered events of the author’s narrative/essay/argument. Be sure that your chronology matches the events of the author’s work. In essence, your summary should mirror the author’s presentation of events in the work.
Step #6: Scanning and Copy Editing
Perform a quick scan of the wording of your summary. Correct any discrepancies, contradictions, and unvalidated assumptions in terms of wording. Change wording to reflect accuracy.
Step #7: Recording
Correct the mismatched chronology in the body paragraph of your essay as if you are a chronologist. A chronologist is an expert in time sequences. Add transition wording such as first, next, and then. Point out actions that are simultaneous. Make sure actions that happen before something are beginning with “before.” Add actions that happen directly “after.” Use “in addition” sparingly if the action is not simultaneous. Make distinctions. If one action is in addition to either a previous or the same action, make this clear to the reader.
This step-by-step process is primarily for body paragraphs that present a chronology, not for the whole essay. In other words, your analysis as a whole doesn’t have to be chronological. However, it would be beneficial to the reader if you present an accurate chronology in those body paragraphs that present a series of events so the reader is not left confused.
Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.