Writing Resources

Retrospective Statement

The retrospective statement is a required part of every IMP student's final project. It is a three- to five-page essay (please number your pages!) in which the student reflects on the various elements of his or her program (courses and independent study, internships, extracurricular activities, etc.) with a view toward identifying connections among them. One useful approach to the statement is to consider this question: How do the various elements of your curriculum form an integrated whole? The retrospective statement might also recount challenges that arose during the student's IMP career and ways the student adapted in response.

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Analytic Essay

Students whose final projects do not include a significant analytic component (such as a research paper) are required to write a 10- to 12-page analytic essay. (Please number your pages!)

Rather than describe the final project, the analytic essay should highlight ways the project integrated the various other elements of the studentís IMP curriculum. Therefore, the essay should generally be organized around an issue or set of issues rather than chronologically.

The analytic essay is a very important part of the final project. It is the basis on which the members of the final review committee judge the success of projects like performances, which they might lack the specialized knowledge necessary to judge, or internships, where they have not observed the studentís work firsthand. In other words, the committee reviewing a musical performance may defer to the studentís sponsor with regard to the technical elements of the performance, but they will rely on the studentís own account to judge how well the performance reflects the culmination of the studentís overall IMP education (for example, how elements of the performance utilize skills refined in the courses for the major). Since the IMP is a program in the College of Arts and Sciences, it is also expected that the committee will consider the quality of the writing in judging the success of the final project.

Although there is no single approach that is appropriate for all majors and projects, a successful analytic essay will generally answer at least some of the following questions:

  • How was I better prepared to carry out the work for the final project as a result of the courses I took for my IMP major?
  • How did issues that are general within my field present themselves during the course of my work?
  • What challenges did I face? How did I address them, successfully or not? What would I do differently if given the opportunity?
  • How did my experience in the field compare with the expectations I had formed based on what I learned in class?

In answering these questions, the student will draw on experiences acquired over the course of his or her entire IMP education.

In most instances, it will not be necessary to consult or cite secondary sources to write a successful analysis.

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I470 Senior Writing Workshop

IMP students who wish to develop their writing skills are encouraged to take the I470 Senior Capstone Seminar, a one-credit, first-eight-weeks course offered in the spring and fall. I470 is a writing workshop focusing on the production of the retrospective and analytic essays. Students normally take I470 during the final semester of their IMP studies.

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Other Resources

Writing Tutorial Services provides free tutoring on all stages of the writing process.

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