Concept analysis, explaining a concept, or extended definition papers are all part of the same thing. These types of papers ask students to explain something intangible like love, patriotism, hate, or joy. The purpose is to explain the concept. Students are not writing an argument, but they are making a point about a concept. Have the point clearly in mind.
The assignment requires students to think about different ways to explain and examine a concept.
Here are some guidelines to help students go about writing their concept analyses:
Introduce the concept
- Look for definitions or clues to a good definition: What is it? What do you think it is? How has the concept changed over time?
- Determine defining criteria for the concept (I’ll know it when I see it because…)
o Use narratives.
o Use descriptions.
o Show the concept in action: Give real life examples in society of the concept.
o Discuss causes and potential outcomes for the concept.
o Are there tools available for measuring the concept as you have defined it?
o Gather judgments or understandings of the concept from professionals or ordinary people.
- Move from the specific to the general. Explain the significance of the concept in the lives of ordinary people.