Assignment #1: Summary of a Passage of Academic Writing

What role can literature play in promoting social justice? Address this question by writing a 300-400 word summary of either Martha Nussbaum's "Democratic Citizenship and the Narrative Imagination" or Nancy Fraser's "On Justice." Follow your summary with a 3-4 sentence statement of your own position.

*** A paper copy of the scholarly article you’ll summarize, with gist notes, is permitted.
*** You must hand in a tree diagram with your summary, written in your exam booklet.
*** Please also submit this assignment sheet with your exam booklet.


Where to begin?

·         Read the article in its entirety, taking careful gist notes as you read.

·         Look up any words that you do not understand. Use a good dictionary.

·         Make a tree diagram to record levels of generality: high-level abstractions, mid-level concepts, and low-level details.

·         Decide what to remember and what to forget.

·         Decide what to quote and what to paraphrase.

·         Indicate your position by carefully choosing your quotes, reporting expressions, and signal verbs.

What to include?

Your summary should incorporate the following scholarly moves. These scholarly moves form part of my genre expectations as a reader and evaluator of your work:

·         Create an original title. It might mention the author’s title or main abstraction, since these will be the main point(s) of your summary

·         Introduce and frame the scholarly work you are summarizing with a major abstraction or abstractions (main point/big issue). This will provide your reader with a focus for your summary

·         Include reporting expressions/signal verbs throughout to let your reader know who is speaking. Think carefully about the verbs that you use and how they convey your position in relation to the speaker(s)

·         Engage a mix of high levels of generality, mid levels of explanation, and low levels of detail to explain the author’s reasoning to your reader

·         Strike a careful balance between paraphrasing and quoting the speaker(s) directly.

o   When paraphrasing, remember to substantially change the wording of the original, even while keeping the same gist.

o   When quoting, remember to “frame” your quote with commentary

o   When choosing whether to quote or paraphrase, there are no hard and fast rules. Remember that quoting often helps retain the integrity of the author’s ideas, but makes your voice as a summarizer less prominent.

·         Conclude your summary with three or four sentences that ask your reader to reflect further.

o   You might stress the larger significance of this excerpt to other researchers, to a specific group (such as educator or parents), or to the general public.

o    You might raise new research questions, or suggest a new research site for future inquiry.

o   You might indicate shortcomings or omissions in the original, and how to address them.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
error: Content is protected !!