Understanding Your Assignment

Writing Center consultants can help you clarify the criteria of your course assignments and help you develop strategies to meet them. In a one-on-one session, you and a consultant will work to identify the most important requirements for the content of the paper as well as the standards you should meet for documentation and formatting.

By going through your assignment thoroughly, we will help you recognize and fully understand keywords like summarize, analyze, review, interpret, argue, explain and illustrate. In addition, we will discuss other factors that will guide your work, such as audience, form, tone and point of view. Once you and your consultant determine the kind(s) of writing you will do to meet the assignment criteria, you will be ready to begin developing your ideas, conducting focused research and working toward a product that meets the terms of the assignment.

When you need assistance at this early stage of completing a paper or project, you should schedule an appointment (262-3144) and bring all materials that you received that are relevant to the assignment. These may include

  • assignment-specific handouts
  • the course syllabus, which often includes information about documentation and formatting
  • course texts
  • other assignments you have completed for the course with feedback/responses from your instructor