Eng 101 lesson 36
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ENG 101 Lesson -36. Lesson 36 - (Choosing the Essay Topic) (Analyzing Essay Titles) ( Note Taking for Essay Writing)

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ENG 101 Lesson -36

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Eng 101 lesson 36

ENG 101Lesson -36


Eng 101 lesson 36

Lesson 36 - (Choosing the Essay Topic)

(Analyzing Essay Titles)

( Note Taking for Essay Writing)

Students are asked to write essays on all the subjects they study. It is part of your academic work. You write essays for English, Statistics, Psychology, Economics, etc. So do not think that essays are written for English only. You will be required to write essays for other subjects as well.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Today’s lesson is divided into three parts. First we shall deal with choosing the essay topic, second with analyzing essay titles and last with taking notes for essay writing. Students are usually handed a list of essay topics to write by their teachers. Since a lot of energy and interest is invested in essay writing, it is important to choose your topic carefully.

When you first look at the essay topics you initially only separate those which immediately attract you from those which do not.You will do


Eng 101 lesson 36

this initial sorting mainly on the basis of the content of the questions. If you are a student of literature and your teacher has set a question on the course that has been prescribed, you ask yourself, do I want to work on the play or the novel? Or if it is for the subject of economics, you ask yourself, do I want to work on licensing systems or the gold standard? This is only part of the task facing you.

The content of the essay is governed by the special purpose and emphasis of the essay topic.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Are you being asked about your knowledge of the novel (Let’s say ‘The Old Man and the Sea – (Hemingway) to explore the nature of tragedy? Or the effectiveness of the minor characters and the fish in developing plot and character, or their role in the creation of dramatic tension?

Your teachers word essay topics with care. They know what ideas and what content they want you to cover in you reading and your thinking about the topic. They may even help and guide you the way in which they expect you to develop your material. Now this does not


Eng 101 lesson 36

mean that you should think that there is only one right way of answering the question. The word ‘essay’ has its origin in the French word

which means ‘to attempt’ or ‘to try out’. And when you write an essay you are ‘trying out’ your ideas. What I want you to remember is that there are limits on the ways you can handle the essay topic. Therefore, you should from the very beginning analyze what is it that the topic demands. This can save you from working hard over an essay only to have it criticized as “irrelevant”. In today’s lesson you will learn to


Eng 101 lesson 36

develop an approach that will enable you to read and to make better notes. In this way you will learn to refine your thoughts as you learn more about the subject you are writing on.

Characteristics of Academic Essays (4)

Most essays in the Social Sciences share certain general characteristics. There are 4 such characteristics.

1. First you are seldom asked merely to explain or describe a process or event. The task is more complex as you are nearly always asked to combine description with


Eng 101 lesson 36

analysis. For example, look at this history topic:

Choose any one day’s working session of the Report on The First Round Table Conference. Identify the speaker and discuss the issues and attitudes revealed in that speaker’s speech?

How would you handle such a question. Would a summary satisfy all the demands made in the topic.

2. Second, you will find that your essays require you to relate general concepts, ideas and theories to particular materials, events, texts, etc…. Or you may be required to move from specific events


Eng 101 lesson 36

and instances to a more general interpretation of their significance. For e.g. take the following essay topics.

ii. Laughter can range from good-humored banter to cruel mockery – How would you describe the nature of the comedy in Henry IV (parts I & II) and V ?

iii. Can the life of the tall Dingas of the southern Sudan living with their cattle be described as a case of symbiosis between man and animal?


Eng 101 lesson 36

Here you will notice it is the relationship between the general and the particular which you are being directed to explored.

3. The third characteristic of most college essays is that they require you to gather ideas and information from printed sources. Remember some weeks ago I old you that you get idea from reading books, magazines and journals. It is from printed sources that you will get idea.


Eng 101 lesson 36

4. Finally, you will find that essay topics will involve materials that can be interpreted in more than one way. There may be a problem or a controversy you are asked to analyze and make an attempt to resolve. For example if you get a topic like the following: “Who is freer ? The master or the servant”? It is obvious that you are not being asked to explain in a conclusive way the nature of freedom.


Eng 101 lesson 36

  • Characteristics of Academic Essays

  • Combine description with analysis

  • Relate general concepts to particular and vice versa.

  • Gather ideas from printed sources

  • Consider various aspects of a problem


Eng 101 lesson 36

But you are being asked to consider various aspects of a problem, select the approach which seems appropriate to you and to develop it according to a well thought-out plan. So what would be your immediate concern when choosing an essay topic. Ask yourself: what is the essay about? In all respects, it would be CONTENT, i.e. what has to be put into it. There are a number of different aspects that you will have to consider: content, concepts, judgement, knowledge.


Eng 101 lesson 36

1- First you need to check the general area of content defined by key words in the topic. e.g. To what extent does environmental pollution affect global warning? The topic is about global warming, environmental pollution and not about the Indus dolphin or the Houbara bustard or any other near extinction species.

2- Second, you should identify the specific concepts on which the topic is focused.


Eng 101 lesson 36

e.g. To what extent does environment and life style of the Hunza people affect their longevity. Here the essay is about the relationship that exists between three concepts: environment, social organization (life style) and health.

3- Third, you are asked for judgement. In the light of your reading and your knowledge you are asked to say something about the topic - pass some judgement / or opinion.


Eng 101 lesson 36

The term “To what extent” implies that there may be some truth in the relationship suggested. The terms “Why” “How far you think this is true…” allow room for you to deny the whole basis of the question asked. It is clear that in academic essays there is considerable room for difference in judgement / opinion.

4- Lastly, I am sure you are aware that essays are usually about different bodies of knowledge, I.e. disciplines.


Eng 101 lesson 36

There are some topics that are very broad. e.g. Photography, Inflation, Happiness, Travel, Discipline, etc…. One of the major difficulty occurs in actually defining or limiting and wording your topic. You should not expect that you will be able to settle on a precise topic at once. You will need to read extensively and to talk with your tutor before you can narrow down the subject or topic to a specifically manageable focus.


Eng 101 lesson 36

So the first step must be to analyze your essay topic - i.e. analyze the ways in which you are being directed. Look first for the key words which direct how the content is to be handled. e.g. what are the key directional words in the following topics:

- In the past twenty years (developments) in the field of electronics have (revolutionized) the computer industry

- The (causes) of inflation

- Discuss important (religious and national holidays) in (Pakistan)


Eng 101 lesson 36

- The important (milestones) in my life.

- The (Hazards) of driving (small) cars.

-The (quality) of education in Pakistan high schools has (declined).

The task in most college essays is to ‘describe’ and ‘analyze’ the task of describing may be identified by directional words such as ‘explain’, ‘review’, ‘outline’, ‘enumerate’, ‘list’, ‘summarize’, ‘state’, words which direct you to analyze your

material include ‘assess’, ‘compare’, ‘contrast’, criticize’, ‘analyze’, ‘discuss’.


Eng 101 lesson 36

NOTE-MAKING FOR ESSAY WRITING

Note making is a skill and it is also a peculiarly personal affair. You will find plenty of advice from a lot of people on how to take notes or make notes. I hope you’ve noticed the difference between note-taking and note- making. To take notes suggests a passive procedure of recording words verbatim - /v3:beitim/- which means words


Eng 101 lesson 36

for word, exactly as spoken or written, like a secretary does while taking dictation from the boss. To make notes demands your full attention. It requires you to be alert to the pattern of thought, its direction and development. You also have to distinguish between what is important and essential and what is not. And it is this active involvement on your part that makes note-making difficult: This is what makes note-making valuable.


Eng 101 lesson 36

As I said at the beginning note making is a personal affair. How often you have found your fellow students who have borrowed your notes complain, that they cannot follow them and vice versa. This is because you recorded information and ideas which you decided suited your purpose. Therefore what you select and how you record it one matters of personal choice. You may pick up a few useful tips from working at other peoples methods,


Eng 101 lesson 36

but ultimately you must develop your own system, which must be flexible enough to meet may different purposes.

Why Do You Make Notes?

Think for a moment of the role note-making plays in the process of writing your essay. Why spend time recording material which is already available in printed form? There are practical and intellectual measures for this. No. 1Notes are aids to memory. If you are reading for writing a long essay, then you


Eng 101 lesson 36

must have some system of sorting and recalling information you will need when you finally come to writing the essay.

No. 2Your notes are the raw material on which you will work: facts, figures, direct quotations will be quickly available.

3. The process of note-making forces you to:

- Summarize ideas and arguments

- select points relevant to your purposes

-Understand and interpret the original source

-Continually clarify and adjust your perception of your essay topic in the light of your increasing understanding of the material.


Eng 101 lesson 36

So note making is an important stage in your understanding of your essay topic. It is the notes that you make that will provide the basis for your thinking and the materials for your essay.

What do you note, and how much? The content and volume of your notes are governed by 3 things.


Eng 101 lesson 36

1- The writer’s intention: you have to sift the information and ideas being presented by the writer to meet your own specific intentions. The writer presented his ideas according to his interests.

2- The discipline / subject in which you are working. If you are working on a literary or historical topic you may need to include many direct quotations. You must copy them with great accuracy.

3. Your own purpose in relation to your essay topic. Do not take down everything - that is just not possible you would be wasting your time.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Your notes will be more useful if they are shaped from the beginning to suit the demands of your essay topic.

How do you take notes?

Your notes will develop their own format depending on your purpose and on the nature of the sources. There are 4 general principles which apply to all methods of note-making.


Eng 101 lesson 36

1. Clear Identification:

You should record the author, title, place of publication, publisher and edition and even the year of publication. And next to each key point or direct quotation you must note the exact page reference.

2- Develop a flexible system

Record your notes in such a way that it is easy to rearrange them for the purposes of your essay: if on loose-paper, then remember to number the pages.


Eng 101 lesson 36

3- Leave room for your comments.

Leave wide margins. They are useful for writing your own comments, adding cross-references, etc…

4-Develop an abbreviation system

Common symbols can be used: such as

e.g. for example

reconcerning w.with

&and=is equal to

=not equal to

>greater than or became

<lesser than or came from

..therefore.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Use abbreviations for common words. agr for agriculture, govt.. for government, sci for science, C18 for 18th century, C 19 for 19th century. Abbreviate names that recur frequently: Q for Quaid-e-Azam; Shak for Shakespeare, etc… be careful not to create so many symbols and abbreviations that you confuse yourself !


Eng 101 lesson 36

The techniques of outlining and note making are related whatever method you choose for keeping notes their form should clearly show the relative importance of ideas and their relationship. An outline, with its indention and numbering system helps you to visualize the way each idea is related to the others.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Practice: Read the following passage. Then read the 2 sets of notes and compare them.

In this discussion of art history, we give special emphasis to three basic factors. First, the background: the religious, social, and economic conditions that make art possible in any period. Second, the foreground: the work of art itself, its style and its variation form other styles. Third, the contribution of the individual artist, revealing his inspirations and the extent of his gift.


Eng 101 lesson 36

There are two wrong ideas we must guard against. First, art history is not a development from primitive beginnings in the past to final perfection in our own period. Styles change but artistic quality is more constant. Superior works of art occur in many periods. Second, often one style of art is the characteristic expression of one period. It is useless to attempt any evaluation between styles that have little in common. We should compare a work of art only with work of the same period, as we must recognize that each period posed its own problems and arrived as its own unique solutions.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Now read the following sets of notes examples A & B. Compare them. Which one is better?

Example A : The author says that there are three basic factors to be considered in art history. The first is the religious, social and economic background. Then there is the style of the art itself. And finally the contribution of the individual artist. But there are two wrong ideas about art history. It is not a development through history: “superior works of art occur in many periods.” Since each period in art history has its own problems and solutions, we cannot compare works of art form different periods.


Eng 101 lesson 36

  • Example B:

  • Three basic factors in art history

  • A. Background: religious, social,economic

  • B. Foreground: the art itself, its style &

  • variation

  • C. Contribution of the individual artist

  • Must guard against two wrong ideas

  • A. Art history is not development

  • through time; superior works in many periods, from primitive to present

  • B. Cannot compare works of different periods


Eng 101 lesson 36

Notice that both examples contain identical information. The only difference is the arrangement. The main ideas and supporting details are set out clearly in Example B. This form makes it much easier to recognize the important ideas at a glance.


Eng 101 lesson 36

Practice in Note Making:

Make notes on the following passage by writing an outline on the lines given at the end.

Grk Oly. Games - 5 days

The ancient Greek Olympic Games

lasted for five days and included

4 different athletic contests. First,

There was “stadion” (from which

we get the word stadium). This was

a foot race covering a distance of

About 607 ft. Second there was the

“pentathlon,” a contest in which

each contestant had to excel in five

different events: foot races, jumping,

Wrestling, throwing the discus, and

throwing the javelin.

I._________________________

A._________________________

B.__________________________

1._________________

2._________________

3.__________________

Incl. 4 athletic contest

‘Stadion’ = stadium foot race 607

Pentathlon – 5 events

foot races

jumping

wrestling


Eng 101 lesson 36

Practice in Note Making:

Make notes on the following passage by writing an outline on the lines given at the end.

The ancient Greek Olympic Games

lasted for five days and included

4 different athletic contests. First,

There was “stadion” (from which

we get the word stadium). This was

a foot race covering a distance of

About 607 ft. Second there was the

“pentathlon,” a contest in which

each contestant had to excel in five

different events: foot races, jumping,

Wrestling, throwing the discus, and

throwing the javelin.

I._________________________

___________________________

A._________________________

B.__________________________

1.__________________________

2.__________________________

3.__________________________


Eng 101 lesson 36

throwing discus

Third, there was boxing. In this

contest, the boxers fought with

bare fists, and the match continued

until one or the other was knocked

out or admitted defeat. The final

event included horse racing, both

races with four-horse chariots and

races with the contestants riding

bareback

4.___________________

5.___________________

C._________________________

1.___________________

2.___________________

D.__________________________

1.__________________

2.__________________

throwing javelin

Boxing

bare fists

knock out / admit defeat

Horse racing

4 - horse chariots

riding bareback


Eng 101 lesson 36

Third, there was boxing. In this

contest, the boxers fought with

bare fists, and the match continued

until one or the other was knocked

out or admitted defeat. The final

event included horse racing, both

races with four-horse chariots and

races with the contestants riding

bareback

4._________________________

5._________________________

C._________________________

1.__________________________

2.__________________________

D.__________________________

1.__________________________

2.__________________________

( Study Skillsfor Students of English 2Ed, Richard C.Yorkey, McGraw Hill International)


Eng 101 lesson 36

We covered the following topics

in this lesson:

Choosing Essay Topic,

Analyzing Essay Titles

Note Making for Essay Writing.

ALLAH HAFIZ.


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