Revision Exercise for Summary and Analysis
- Find the thesis statement in your essay and highlight it or underline it. This is the idea that organizes your whole essay, so it is important to have it in mind from the beginning. Does your thesis still reflect the content of your essay, or does it need to be revised to match up with what you have actually written in your paper?
- Annotate each paragraph of your essay. Make notes in the margins to tell you what each paragraph is about and what role it plays in the essay. Does every paragraph relate back to the thesis or main idea of the essay? In other words, is your essay unified?
- Now check the unity of each paragraph. Look at the annotations that you write in the margins and ask yourself if every sentence in the paragraph relates to the main topic of the paragraph.
Are there sentences that would fit better in a different paragraph? Could some sentences or ideas be developed into their own new paragraphs?
- Look at the examples you have written about so far. Are you quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing in your analysis of each example? It’s usually a good idea to have a combination of all three strategies, and it’s essential to have specific examples from the text to back up your analysis.
As you look at each example that you’re analyzing, ask yourself where you could be more thorough with your analysis. Don’t assume that your reader will know what you mean. Explain in detail.
- Check for coherence by looking at the spaces between your paragraphs. Do you have a sentence or phrase that connects one paragraph to the next one? If not, try writing in transitions where you think they are missing. If you have time, check for coherence on the sentence level, too. Does each sentence within each paragraph flow smoothly into the next one?
- Finally, in at least a paragraph, summarize what you noticed as you completed the revision exercise above. Then, make a checklist of what you’ll need to revise before the final draft is due. What else will you need to work on for this paper to feel complete?