Integrated writing prompts are also important to read and interpret. Just as with other writing assignment prompts, you need to recognize the linguistic task (compare, describe, argue, explain) and create a thesis statement and supporting points that make a clear road map for what you will say.
The difference with integrated writing prompts is that they may indicate if there is a hierarchy to the sources. Although integration tasks by nature require references to a set number of sources, that does not mean that the audience requires equal focus on each one.
The TOEFL integrated writing task, for example, places a priority on explaining the position of the lecture speaker and only using the reading to show contrast in the support. Therefore, your body paragraph should center on the listening source.
Check your prompt to see if any preference is shown for a source compared to others.
Once you have analyzed the prompt, you should be able to start structuring your outline to ensure you have all of the necessary components.
Making a brief list of the parts of the prompt that are most important to respond to or include is a great first step for creating your thesis statement, topic sentences, and overall outline,
Understanding and including all of the parts of the prompt is important for two reasons.
The first reason is that the question is specifically designed to get you to write about the target content. A multi-part question indicates the degree of comprehension and synthesis that the audience expects to find in your response. If you miss information from your response, it can be interpreted as an issue of listening and/or reading comprehension.
Second, your audience may attribute missing information to a lack of language. This is especially true in a language test like the TOEFL where the audience knows nothing about your ability other than what you show. Not writing about part of the question could be an avoidance strategy because you do not have the vocabulary or grammar control necessary to respond. This may also be an unfortunate assumption at the college level as well, especially if your professor has minimal interaction with you.
Therefore, it's in your best interest to carefully read through the prompt and dissect it. This strategy will lead to a stronger response with more purposeful organization.
Exercise 1: Integrated Writing (Prompt Focus)
You are taking an anthropology class at BYU. One of the unique aspects of a BYU education is that the university includes "spiritually strengthening" as one of it's aims. This means that concepts of faith and religion are often integrated into classroom discussions on a wide-range of topics. In your anthropology class, you have been discussing the concepts of race and racism. The professor has assigned two articles for you to read before writing your essay.
Read the passages.
American Anthropological Association: Statement on Race
Deseret News: "Root out Racism" (Optional video included)
Set a timer for 20 minutes. Write your response to the question below. Remember to leave time for revision.
- Explain the anthropological view on the concept of race and how racism came to be (1 paragraph). Then discuss these two concepts in terms of the religious perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1 paragraph). How does the guidance of the prophet connect to the statement on race from the AAA (1 paragraph)? Remember to include specific references to both of the readings in your response.