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  UH 440 Rubric (Summer 2002)

Some guidelines for writing critical papers about art.

1. Identify the basics and nuances of the issue. Prepare your reader for the rest of the paper.

This is the introduction of your paper. Guide your reader into the issue by identifying not only it but also by suggesting possible ramifications. End your intro with a paragraph outlining the rest of the paper.

2. Examine the material. Analyze it in its components. Connect them to coherent statements. Question its content and relevance. Identify strengths and shortcomings.

Such analysis may be employed in a variety of ways, using different methods. Regardless of which method you use (if any), make sure you define your concepts (when you introduce them) as your analysis seeks to connect detail observations into coherent and comprehensive statements.

3. Address perspectives, consider outside information and viewpoints on the material.

Do not assume a certain perspective to be self-evident and obvious. Different analytical perspectives may reveal different ideas and understandings within the same phenomenon.

4. Discuss the material contextually. Assess assumptions and ideological dimensions.

Interpretation is conditioned by assumptions and ideological modes. Analysis and interpretation is ultimately about disclosing and identifying such contextually determined viewpoints.

5. ) Identify own position on the material and on issues raised by the material. Discuss outside sources.

If you have a particular comprehensive interpretation of the material in opposition to various sources it may be well worth devoting a particular section to it. Otherwise, injecting your voice as a discussant throughout may also be effective in projecting your independent assessment of the material and its ramifications.

6. Conclude considering ramifications and findings.

Pull all the strings together summarizing your findings. Emphasize the qualities and importance of your investigation.

7. Write well.

Insightful, critical observations are not necessarily only preconditioned by excellent writing

Varied vocabulary and sentence structure, intriguing thoughts in flowing language.

But - if a text is “a pleasure to read” - it certainly helps!

These guidelines are only meant as such: guidelines! They must not stifle your creativity – in thought and expression! Your paper may be organized in a different structure than suggested by the guidelines. However, all 7 points contribute effective elements to creating convincing and critical writing! Not all must necessarily be employed. Some may be combined, some merely “brushed,” or others left out, depending upon the material or the specific task at hand.

The “7-components-of-critical-thinking-and-writing-elements”-guide may essentially be employed on anything from a 2 page arts-review to a 500-page doctoral dissertation on Viking art. For the purpose of our 3 page writings:

Be concise and precise! Don’t waste your taste! Abundant is typically redundant!

Critical thinking is also critical discussion!
The same features:
considering different perspectives
assessing ideological contexts
– are elements in generating opinions.

Just speak up!
discussion consists in
defining those elements,

Give your writing a title
that signifies your key ideas.

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