Chapter 1: Time is on Your Side

Introduction to Close Reading

Introduction to Close Reading
Every text has an argument, you just have to look for it. Pixabay/CC0 1.0


Writing an essay at the university level means entering an ongoing scholarly conversation. Before you select an essay subject, you should know that throughout history, scholars have addressed and articulated similar concerns and ideas; many have dedicated their lives to these problems and arguments. So, rather than worrying about generating a new idea, it would be wise to aim for active and informed participation in that conversation. This is done via the process of analysis.

Analysis is when you read a text, find specific details from that text and use those details as evidence to examine that text’s argument and purpose.

In order to analyze and contribute meaningfully, you must first understand all parts of a scholarly conversation. Therefore, the ability to close read and understand others’ writing is vital.

We will focus the first six chapters on producing a close reading.

A close reading first gathers specific evidence from a text and then analyzes those observations in order to provide a thorough examination of that author’s complex argument. 


For the first assignment, you will do a close reading of an essay and then write a 750-word essay analyzing an author’s complex argument based on evidence from the text.


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Write Here, Right Now: An Interactive Introduction to Academic Writing and Research Copyright © 2018 by Ryerson University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.