Writing That Demonstrates Thinking Ability

While reflecting on my semester for my annual report, I noticed I hadn’t updated my handout on Bloom’s Taxonomy in a while. Like, 12 years.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: Cognitive Domain

Image credit: http://ww2.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

If your instructor asks you to write a 500-word analysis, but instead you provide a 500-word summary, it won’t matter that your grammar is flawless and your facts are correct. If you haven’t broken down the problem into different components and explored the connections between those components, then despite all your hard work you haven’t actually analyzed anything.

Likewise, if your boss asks you write are report to evaluate three possible solutions to a problem, and you respond by demonstrating that you understand the problem, it won’t matter how deeply you drew on prior knowledge and applied that knowledge to the current problem. If you haven’t ranked the pros and cons of each potential solution and presented the data that points to one specific solution as the best choice, then despite all your hard work, you haven’t actually evaluated anything.

Some student writers have no trouble summarizing a plot or repeating dates from history, but freeze up when asked to “formulate a theory” or “critique an argument.” Others are happy to explain what they feel about a particular subject, but have difficulty presenting the data that might convince someone else to feel the same way.  Learn to recognize the kinds of thinking you are expected to demonstrate in a particular writing task, and you can focus your efforts more efficiently. —Writing that Demonstrates Thinking Ability