Why is this question/topic/problem so important to my professor that he is willing to spend evenings and weekends reading and commenting on several dozen novice papers on it? Some students perceive more open-ended assignments as evidence of a lazy, uncaring, or even incompetent instructor. Professors certainly vary in the quantity and specificity of the guidelines and suggestions they distribute with each writing assignment.” As I briefly discussed in Chapter 1, most instructors do a lot to make their pedagogical goals and expectations transparent to students: they explain the course learning goals associated with assignments, provide grading rubrics in advance, and describe several strategies for succeeding. Some professors make a point to give very few parameters about an assignment—perhaps just a topic and a length requirement—and they likely have some good reasons for doing so.
Unless there is a particular audience specified in the assignment, you would do well to imagine yourself writing for a group of peers who have some introductory knowledge of the field but are unfamiliar with the specific topic you’re discussing.
Imagine them being interested in your topic but also busy; try to write something that is well worth your readers’ time.
Sometimes, though—especially when you are new to a field—you will encounter the baffling situation in which you comprehend every single sentence in the prompt but still have absolutely no idea how to approach the assignment.
No one is doing anything wrong in a situation like that.
Like one first-year student told Keith Hjortshoj, “I think that every course, every assignment, is a different little puzzle I have to solve. When do I need to do it, and how long will it take? ” The transparency that you get from some professors—along with guides like this one—will be a big help to you in situations where you have to be scrappier and more pro-active, piecing together the clues you get from your professors, the readings, and other course documents.
Often, the handout or other written text explaining the assignment—what professors call the assignment prompt—will explain the purpose of the assignment, the required parameters (length, number and type of sources, referencing style, etc.), and the criteria for evaluation.If the professor took the trouble to prepare and distribute it, you can be sure that he or she will use it to grade your paper.He or she may not go over it in class, but it’s the clearest possible statement of what the professor is looking for in the paper.You would do well to approach every assignment by putting yourself in the shoes of your instructor and asking yourself, “Why did she give me this assignment?How does it fit into the learning goals of the course?Each assignment—be it an argumentative paper, reaction paper, reflective paper, lab report, discussion question, blog post, essay exam, project proposal, or what have you—is ultimately about your learning.To succeed with writing assignments (and benefit from them) you first have to understand their learning-related purposes.There’s a fundamental mismatch between the real-life audience and the form your writing takes. It helps to remember the key tenet of the university model: you’re a junior scholar joining the academic community.Academic papers, in which scholars report the results of their research and thinking to one another, are the lifeblood of the scholarly world, carrying useful ideas and information to all parts of the academic corpus.You can also check by using Medicare’s Physician Compare tool.When you write for a teacher you are usually swimming against the stream of natural communication.