Assignment Sheet
Project I -- Summary Of & Response To A Scholarly Argument

Length & Formatting: 3-5 pages (Double-spaced, 12 pt. Times New Roman Font, 1” margins, no enlarged periods)
Grading Weight: 10% of your final grade

Citation Style: MLA
Due Dates:
Peer Review: Friday, January 28th 2011

In-Class Drafting Day: Monday, January 31st 2011
Final Draft: Tuesday, February 1st 2011

Project I Assignment Sheet (DOC)
File Size: 28 kb
File Type: doc
Download File

General Description & Purpose: The focus of this unit is to introduce you to the basic principles of rhetoric as well as to the essential tools of rhetorical analysis. In addition, we will focus heavily on critical reading skills, particularly on reading theory as argument, which will allow you to navigate the academic readings you will encounter at the collegiate level more easily.

For this project, you will be asked to summarize and respond to a scholarly argument on a topic of your choosing in order to understand the author’s key points and examine how they are supported. The assignment is designed to introduce you to one type of academic discourse and explore ways to bring your own knowledge and experience into the ongoing conversations of academic fields. The assignment requires you to practice basic summary skills and provides you with a place to think about and connect your own experience to the author’s research.

Audience: Fellow students who are not familiar with the argument presented in the article you are summarizing. Your aim is to introduce these novice academics to this author and his/her argument.

Organization Criteria:
> Introduction: Identify the author, article, and the intended audience; introduce the author’s thesis and provide a quick overview of his/her argument.

> Body: The body of your text will be devoted primarily to your summary and response of the author’s argument. Outline the author’s thesis and the evidence which he/she uses to support and reinforce his/her claim.

Here, you may choose to lay out the author’s entire argument first, and then make your own response to it, or you may choose to respond to each of the author’s points as you go. There is no one “right” way to structure the body; you must choose the approach which you feel is best for your essay.

> Conclusion: You should make sure that you restate the thesis of your essay and briefly summarize the argument again. You should comment on the effectiveness of the essay’s argument as well as summarize your response to it. Be sure to follow the reverse hourglass structure and “broaden” you conclusion back out.

Evaluation: Although you may be tempted to spend more on the response/reflection, your essay should be equal parts summary and response. It is important that you learn to find the balance between acknowledging the previous conversations in an academic dialogue and making your own contribution. You should never lose your own voice in your essay.

I will be evaluating this project based on an effective summary and articulation of the article’s research questions, methods, and findings. You will be exercising your critical reading skills as well as your ability to translate a report into summary. Be concise and intentional in your writing. See the checklist for more specific criteria.