Identify your primary text. Explain what interests you about the text.

What is your potential topic? What are your initial ideas about this text? What do you think you want to argue about this text?

Identify the theoretical lens(es) and theorist(s) you might want to engage within . Explain why the theorist(s) will help you analyze your primary text.

What connections do you see between the theorist(s) and the primary text? What specific ideas from the theorist(s) might you use? Why might those ideas be useful for your analysis of the primary text?

Try to articulate why it’s important to use your theoretical lens(es) to analyze your primary text (this is an attempt to get at a “so what”). 

How might your theoretical lens(es) reveal something about the primary text that we might not have noticed before?

Example: If you’re applying Butler’s idea about gender performativity to a novel, it’s not enough to say the novel supports Butler’s idea. Go further. How might Butler’s idea help us understand why a character acts in a certain way? Or how might the novel challenge or add to Butler’s idea?

 one theoretical lens (feminism, gender studies/queer theory, postcolonial theory, and/or critical race theory) through which to analyze that text.