Entering college students often struggle with their professors' expectations for “analysis” since those expectations are often ingrained in disciplinary assumptions that scholars rarely need to articulate. In this essay, I argue that we need to teach analysis explicitly in first-year writing courses and that we need to help students transfer those lessons across the curriculum. By asking students to read “with” and “against” the grain of texts, I give them tangible ways to rough up and pull apart the sources we read together. Students find this language useful in helping them engage directly with sources and ideas, rather than sliding into description or summary. Reminding them that this particular approach originates in the discipline of literary studies, I then have students themselves draw conclusions about what “analysis” looks like -- and what it does -- in other disciplines by examining samples of scholarly writing.

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