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Sydney Dippel
Professor Kendra Parker
English 113-03 The Wonderful World of Disney?
23 April 2015
Critical Thinking & Analytic Writing for Dummies
If you are anything like me, the idea of critical thinking and analytic writing is a daunting
concept to say the least. I have never really been one to embrace obscure endeavors or to take on
challenges that venture too far outside my comfort zone. But for this semester, I decided to
overlook any hindrances and dive headfirst into the unknown realm of analytic writing. I am sure
glad I took the leap. This semester has not only transformed my thought process to consider the
multiple significances of a sign, but it has also trained my mind to truly dissect the loads of
information that passes in front of me every single day. Through the various exercises and skills
I gained during this semester, my critical thinking skills and ability to convey these thoughts
through my writing have improved to levels I could not predict.
The extensiveness of my critical thinking skills and my analytical writing used to
articulate these skills have been confirmed through my increased ability to critically summarize a
peer-reviewed journal article, which fortifies my confidence in my capability to think critically
about information presented to me. Consistent with the premise of the course, I was encouraged
to think analytically about various peer-reviewed journal articles and reflect on them. Critically
summarizing an article is an excellent way to draw out the main arguments of the piece and form
your own opinion about these arguments. As is evident through the progression of my critical
summaries in my E-Portfolio, my ability to synthesize the information presented in the article
and articulate my counter-arguments improved throughout the semester. For example, the

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analytic paragraph in the Lester Critical Summary is much more extensive and insightful than the
one in the Sakenfield Critical Summary. With this increased ability to think critically about the
information I am presented with and compare it to my own opinions, I will be better equipped to
be a more informed consumer of information in the future.
My critical thinking skills were challenged with the task of synthesizing my research into
an infographic, but the experience I have gained over the semester provided me with the tools to
integrate the information into something useful. When I think of a finely-tuned skill, I imagine
something your mind or body does automatically and with ease, like catching a ball or
completing a simple math problem. Because of the extensive practice I had this past semester in
critical thinking and incorporating information into an analytical argument, my topic for the
infographic practically jumped off the page and into my lap. My brain has automatically begun
to pick up on useful information to integrate into my essays, so this is exactly what happened in
the case of my infographic. I do not necessarily think the topic was painfully obvious, but I am
confident in the fact that my brain has been trained to focus on certain information that may
become useful for analysis. My skill level in the craft of critical thinking and analysis has
undoubtedly been improved exponentially during this semester, and this progress can only help
me in the future.
Throughout the course, my critical thinking skills, and furthermore the organization of
my analytical writing have become more complete, which signifies that the tasks during the
semester have polished-up my abilities to analyze the world around me and convey this analysis
concisely. I have found in the past that formulas for success have been my saving grace in
various situations. My brain works more along the straightforward lines of Mathematics than the
curvy lines of analytical English, but the tools I used this semester to formulate, emphasize, and

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elaborate my various Signs For Analysis have given me a new perspective. Without developing
the skills to configure a Statement of Interpretive Meaning to effectively start each body
paragraph, my first essay reeked of disorganization and chaos. I felt lost as to how I was
supposed to structure my ideas and integrate research into my essay. But by using the correct
procedure, I could develop Multiple Analytical Responses from my Driving Theoretical
Questions that were derived using my Sign For Analysis. Suddenly analytical English was
starting to make sense and I owed it all to the formula. Next came the Sign-Signal-Significance
configuration in each Statement of Interpretive Meaning, and then I used the MEAL Plan to
construct the paragraph. My strength as an analytical writer is derived from utilizing these steps
to fabricate a logical paper with my own ideas. The formula is apparent starting with Essay 2,
along with obvious improvement in the subsequent essays. The relentless use of this procedure
has proved successful in my endeavor to develop my critical thinking skills and more effectively
articulate my thoughts in writing.
One of the course goals for this semester was to become analytical, skeptical, and
conscious consumers of images and ideas. To me, this goal represents the essence of what each
one of us should hope to gain from a course like this one. We are all going to be consumers of
images and ideas in our everyday lives anyways, so we might as well become analytical,
skeptical, and conscious enough to consume them with an educated perspective. Critical thinking
is not just for dummies in a classroom to earn a grade or to pass a class. It can be useful for each
one of us to help make better decisions about what we believe, what we support, and ultimately,
what we stand for.