Apr 28, 2013

Inductive Literary Analysis: Introduction

Dr. Corey Olsen from the Mythgard Institute prefers that students in his Institute use inductive literary analysis for their papers rather than deductive literary analysis. What exactly does that mean?

Well, deductive literary analysis is the typical 5 paragraph essay we here in America were taught in high school to work through. The first paragraph was an introduction that ended with a thesis statement of your position in an argument with three areas to be fleshed out in the body paragraphs. The next 3 paragraphs were body paragraphs that took one aspect and tied it to the thesis statement and provided examples from the works to bolster your preconceived ideas about the topic. The final paragraph was the conclusion that restated the thesis statement in other words, restated the evidential paragraphs, and tied it all together in a neat package. Nice, neat, concise, and really boring to write and read.

Inductive literary analysis is where you act as a tour guide through a work or more making observations and showing how they are connected among the works. There is no thesis statement. There is a place for further study questions in the conclusion paragraph. The introduction paragraph gives a understanding of the work and the author. These essays are more like travel logs from foreign lands, exciting, innovative, and informative.

I watched Dr. Olsen's lecture on inductive papers. Then, since I'm a rather inquisitive student and still had only a sort of grasp on the idea, I went looking through the Internet for some examples of the sort of things involved. I found a paper from 2005 written about adapting inductive Bible studies to English college sophomore class work by the professor of such a course. This led to my finding an inductive Bible study hints page from the Intervarsity site. I dropped the Bible specific questions and applications to adapt their work to regular literary analysis in the inductive style.

I am applying the questions to the Leaf By Niggle story currently and am learning a lot more about the story than I had noticed before. I'm still in the midst of working through the paragraph study part, which is tedious, but fruitful. I will share my findings after I complete that work.

In the meantime, feel free to look over what they have to offer at the Intervarsity site for Inductive Bible Study Hints.