Meaning and Significance

Looking ahead to your midterms


The “meaning” of a concept is something like its definition – a simple summary of the gist of a concept.


“Significance” refers to the implications and broader ramifications of a concept — what makes it important. Under this heading, you could discuss, among other things…

whose concept or idea it is;

the place or role of the concept in an author’s arguments — in their article or book;

what arguments lead to this idea or concept;

what arguments follow from this idea or concept;

examples and applications of a concept, either an author’s or yours;

similar or contrasting concepts or ideas, in the work of this or other authors, and how these other concepts shed light on the meaning of the concept in question;

The place or role of the concept in the course or unit of the course;

why it matters that an author uses or espouses this concept.