Comparative Source Analysis (CSA)

Comparative Source Analysis (CSA)

Paper #2

Even with late penalties, your CSE will not be
accepted after section of Week 9, after which time it will be considered “not
completed” and will result in a grade of F for the course. Any exception to
this deadline must be approved with specific and legitimate documentation in
advance by your TA.
In the Critical Reading Assignment (CRA) you just completed, you were introduced to one scholar’s
position on a given subject. In the second writing assignment, the Comparative Source Analysis
(CSA), you will examine how two pieces of scholarly work relate to a common topic and to each
other. This assignment provides you with another opportunity to practice critical reading,
summarization and paraphrasing skills and to introduce the process of formulating a research
question. This assignment will:
• expose you to two different scholarly approaches to a common topic.
• teach you to think about how scholarship overlaps and how it differs in the treatment of a
common topic.
• teach you how to identify conceptual problems, articulate the significance of those problems
and analyze how well an academic argument addresses them.
• give you some practice in designing a research question
Read assigned articles/essays
Your professor has assigned two scholarly works that you will read, compare and analyze. You will
find the following texts on your professor’s Ted site:
• Pagels, Elaine. “God the Father/God the Mother.” The Gnostic Gospels. New York:
Vintage Books, 1979. Print.
• Lang, Karen C. “Images of Women in Early Buddhism and Christian Gnosticism.”
Buddhist-Christian Studies, 2 (1982): 94-105. JStor. Web. 11 Nov. 2012.
Write a four-five page analytical essay
Write an essay that explains and analyzes how the assigned sources relate to a common topic and to
each other and that advances one research question that both sources answer. You may organize
your essay any way you feel is best, but in your essay you should:
1) Write an introduction.
a) Identify each source. Who are the authors, and what kind of sources are these?
b) Identify the common topic and provide any background information about the topic
that is necessary to situate the articles in their historical context and to help the reader
understand the content of the articles.
2) Summarize the argument contained in each of the two sources (maximum 200 words for
each source). What problem does each author address, what is the significance of that
problem, and how does each author address it with an argument?
3) Following the summaries, write an analysis demonstrating what these sources teach you
about the topic and how they speak to each other.
a) What are the areas of commonality (comparison) regarding the topic? Consider the
author’s: approach, problem, method, sources, thesis, claims, evidence and/or
conclusions. Provide specific examples from the source and include marked
printouts/photocopies for all citations.
b) What are the areas of difference (contrast) regarding this topic? Consider the author’s:
approach, problem, method, sources, thesis, claims, evidence and/or conclusions.
Provide specific examples from the source and include marked printouts/photocopies
for all citations.
4) Advance a research question. Restate the common problem that these two sources
address and formulate a Level-3 research question to which these two sources provide
different answers. What broader question do these sources address? How do these sources
address the question? What might you still need to know in order to answer this question?
(Note: A Level-3 research question is an open-ended question to which an answer can be
proposed based on scholarly research, but that cannot be answered definitively. See the
“Levels of Arguability Worksheet” that is posted to the MMW Website under Reference
Note about using quotations: You may use quotations in this assignment, but use them
judiciously and be sure to cite appropriately.
Resources to help you with this assignment:
• Professor Keller-Lapp’s Writing Lecture in lecture on Thurs., Oct. 15
• UCSD Writing Center Workshop, Wed., Oct. 28, 5-6pm.
• Two-minute videos posted to your course Ted site:
o Compare and Contrast Essay (several options)
o Why we cite
o How we cite (summarizing and paraphrasing)
What to turn in:
___ Your four-to-five-page Comparative Source Analysis paper in MLA format
___ Labeled photocopies/printouts of title pages and all other pages from which you have cited
material. On each page, you must mark the material cited by underlining or highlighting the
text. You must also write the name of the author on the top of each page.
___ Works Cited Page in correct MLA format
___ Your graded Critical Reading Assignment
___ Print and submit the CSA grading rubric with your paper
___ Submit the same version of your Comparative Source Analysis paper (excluding Works Cited
page) to by midnight of the day it is due in section
10.5.15 hkl

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