Research Summaries

These short assignments each focus on a single article that you discover through your research. The article should make an argument or offer a perspective in response to your controversy. The main goal of the Research Summary is to summarize the various components of the author’s argument and to show how these pieces fit together. This paper can also serve as an opportunity to begin reflecting on the debate overall and its influence on the field.

Overview and Formatting: Write a one-page paper summarizing a specific source you discovered in your research. Put your name and the name of the assignment at the top of the page. Just below this, give a full MLA citation of the article you’re summarizing. After the citation, skip a line and begin your summary. For the paper overall, set the margins at 1 inch, spacing at single, and font at 12 pt. Do not exceed a page in length. You should submit these papers to me via email as .doc or .rtf attachments. You should also bring either a hard copy or an electronic copy of these with you to class the day they are due.

Specifics: The first section of your summary (probably one or two or three paragraphs) should focus on the main argument(s) made in the article. You should identify the main claim(s) and the reasons and evidence supporting these claims, showing how these various pieces fit together. If the author addresses any counterarguments, identify these as well. Your summary should include quotes from the article to help clarify and support your account of the argument. Do not offer your own comments, opinions, or arguments about what the text says, and do not offer a rhetorical analysis of the writing. Stick to content: what is the author saying in this text? What position is s/he advocating?

The second section should situate this argument within the larger conversation around your controversy. What is the author’s relationship to the field? How does this perspective compare to others in response to the controversy? Is this perspective a commonplace one or an unusual one in the debate? How can we classify the argument drawing on stasis theory? Ultimately, we’ll want to be able to reflect on the points of intersection and divergence of different perspectives in the debate.

Like all short assignments for this class, Research Summaries will only be given a completion grade. If your submission does not meet the assignment requirements, I will ask you to revise it and submit it again. Otherwise, you will receive full credit for completing the assignment.


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