Treating Complex Tasks as Intellectual Work: Why?

Analyzing assignments for kinds of knowledge and conceptual processes may seem a little tedious and perhaps I’ve gone overboard here. However, as you get practice, you’ll get faster and become more accurate in understanding the intellectual work that your professors are asking of you.

Why treat writing assignments as intellectual work?

Because if you don’t, you can end up doing the wrong thing.

Professors complain that students do not do what we ask them to. We ask for analysis, but we get summary. We ask for evaluation, but we get reflection. We ask for an argument (which requires sources and support), but we get a personal opinion. These missteps mean that students aren’t learning what we want them to—and thus those students don’t succeed.

Understanding the intellectual work of your assignments will help you better understand what your professor wants to see, which increases your chances of success. Win-win.



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Reading and Writing Successfully in College: A Guide for Students Copyright © 2023 by Patricia Lynne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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