Writing Critically: Bloom's TaxonomyWriter's Web
Special thanks to the staff of the Writing Center at Kennesaw State University for granting permission to use the chart on this page!
(printable version here)

Generally, writers should not deliberately state "my main task here is to do XYZ," and this situation can lead to trouble if the writer fails to meet the expectations of a professor, supervisor, or other groups of readers.

Luckily, we have a powerful tool to help us think about what we need to do in particular writing situations."Bloom's Taxonomy," showing the development of writing proficiency and intellectual engagement, has been with teachers since the 1950s, yet it still offers a shorthand method for distinguishing the ever-increasing intellectual difficulty of certain writing tasks.

Apply the scheme below to assess your own or others' work. For students, try to discern which category best describes the task(s) set forth in your assignment. Then ask yourself whether what you are writing falls within it. For Consultants, look for the same thing and help writers deepen their analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. These are the most demanding categories of college writing, but they are often quite common!

Category (simplest first) Expressed by writer as. . . To shift the thinking. . .
Knowledge Lists, reliance on long quotations; trouble paraphrasing; no distinction in relative importance of ideas Tell in your own words how you could explain to someone else.
Comprehension More use of own words; still trouble understanding relative importance of ideas and sources; interesting but not directly useful information is tossed in

Tell in your own words how you could explain to someone else.
Application Connects ideas/evidence clearly to the topic; still relies on analysis of others; magazine info. considered equal to original research How does the information apply to the topic; can you give an example; how does this idea/ statement/ evidence support the thesis?
Analysis Doesn't rely only on other authors' conclusions; themes and ideas of other writers are identified, but not linked across sources What ideas do these sources (or paragraphs) have in common; can we outline the information by idea instead of by article?
Synthesis Text organized by themes and ideas rather than by source; still problems reconciling conflicting information What else might be important about the topic; what else would you like to know; is the evidence given by the source convincing?
Evaluation Shows understanding of relative value of different sources and ideas (and shades of gray) Which information is most convincing; why; how can we decide/support/choose one side of the argument over the other; who said this; can you use this information to say something new?

Back to 'Analysis and Argument' or 'Peer Editing Ideas'
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