Time requirements: 30-50 minutes
Special features: This technique helps students develop their analytical skills in any field by observing your analytical skills in action.
- Select a document (a short review, section of computer programming, poem, proof, chart, abstract from an article, news item, etc.) to analyze as an example.
- Make enough copies of a similar document to distribute to all class members or to small groups (depending on your preference).
- Perform an analysis of your document in front of the class, making clear the procedure you use to reach your assertions, and using visual aids and supplementary material as necessary.
- Give students five to ten minutes to analyze their document: the conclusions they reach will be their own, but they will have learned rigour and analytical skills from you.
- Depending on class size, have students (or representatives from small groups) present their analysis, and respond to each one.
Function in the class: An entire 50-minute tutorial or lecture can be structured around this exercise. Consider leading into the exercise with a mini-lecture on the type of document you and your students will be analyzing.