Final Essay: Comparative –
This assignment asks you to produce a seven page comparative analysis of two articles/chapters. One of the chapters must be from the readings already looked at in class, the other article or chapter is one of your own choosing (but a similar theme) and must be a peer reviewed academic source. Here are the steps for this assignment:
STEP #1: Pick a class week/theme that you enjoyed in particular and a subsequent reading from that week.
STEP#2: Choose another reading (academic source only via google scholar, ufv journal database, etc) that offers a different perspective or analysis of that weeks’ theme chosen.
STEP #3: Your essay will summarize each article and then compare each article. Questions to consider are listed below.
More detailed notes below of what I’m looking for:
Using historical skills:
In this assignment you are asked to employ five important academic historical skills:
reading for an author’s thesis and major supporting points;
summarizing concisely an article’s thesis and major supporting points;
analysing two academic historical articles through integrated comparison and a group of
well-chosen common points;
presenting your analysis according to the conventions of academic historical writing.
Structuring your essay:
Your essay will present a thesis based on your overall comparison and you will build a series of supporting points that are drawn from those understandings. Here is the conventional structure you need to follow for this comparative essay:
In your opening paragraph you will introduce your reader to the two articles’ overall historical topics, the articles you are reviewing and the authors, and a brief, general notion of your comparative evaluation of the articles – it is this statement of comparison that will be your thesis.
In these two paragraphs you will concisely summarize the theses and supporting points of each article. Remember, you are summarizing each article’s argument structure (thesis and supporting evidence), not giving a blow-by-blow description of the article’s contents. To properly identify the article’s main argument/support you will have to read the piece very closely and identify the hierarchy of ideas presented.
In no more than 500 words (approximately two double-spaced, typed pages) you will critically compare the articles according to thesis based on a number of common themes. These themes should grow out of the historical content of the articles. Below are some questions you might want to consider when comparing the articles. I do not mean that you answer these questions specifically in your essay; rather, these questions can be used to generate ideas and perhaps even points for comparison.
o How do the articles differ in their examination of the topic? What are the similarities between the articles?
o Do the articles disagree in terms of their conclusions or how they deal with particular historical topics? Do you find one more convincing than the other?
o Is one article weaker or stronger than the other in terms of its content focus, argument, and/or evidence? Does one article use and choose evidence better than the other?
o Does one article deal with an important historical issue that the other article simply ignores?
o Why is it important for both of these understandings of history to be acknowledged?
o What kinds of evidence/archive does each article discuss? o Has the comparison changed your own perspective?
Your critical analysis can also critique the style and organization of the article. But please be restrained here! Remember, critical comments around form and structure should be related to the ideas in the articles – that is, do not condemn the author’s long sentences unless they seem inappropriate to his/her purpose.
Conclusion: In your conclusion you should offer a summation of your comparative analysis and the conclusions you have drawn.
Providing evidence and documenting sources:
It is essential that you back up your claims in your essay with evidence taken from the articles themselves. You are expected to use Chicago Style foot- or endnotes, and you can find an explanation of how to properly cite academic journal articles according to the Chicago Style online.
Your Article Comparison Essay will be evaluated according to four equally-weighted criteria:
1. Reading for Argument and Meaning
2. Structure, Development, and Coherence
3. Depth of Analysis and Ideas
4. Mechanics and Historical Writing Conventions
Finally, give your essay a descriptive Title – something snappy that sums up your understanding of how these two articles compare. The more creative the better.
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