Professors, whether in Humanities, Business, Science or Engineering, have multiple goals for their assignments. These goals may be assumed but not stated in the assignment. Ask your professor his/her goals for an assigned paper. The ultimate goal is to persuade the reader to accept a thesis or take an action. Sub-tasks that accomplish that goal could include one, or a combination, of the following:
- define, summarize and/or compare key course concepts
- synthesize concepts studied throughout the course
- critique texts, projects, experiments
- apply course concepts in experiments or to personal experience
Ultimately, the goal is to persuade the reader to accept a thesis or take an action. The professor may use the writing task as a take-home test in order to assess your knowledge of course material and class discussions; your ability to argue your position on an author's work; or your ability to apply ideas in another context.
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