Writing assignment response essay
For this project, you will write a critical response to one of the attached scholarly articles. A critical response contains two parts: a summary of the source’s main ideas and a critique of the source’s main ideas. Summarizing a source shows your understanding of the author’s purpose, while critiquing a source demonstrates your ability to evaluate how effectively the author fulfills that purpose. This process explains to your reader how an author has (or has not) conveyed their message successfully.
Summarizing a source is nearly an impossible task if you do not have a good grasp of its meaning. Here are a few tips that can help you read actively and summarize effectively:
Re-read the text. Make note of the main idea of each paragraph as you read and use the main ideas to summarize the whole essay.
Look up key words and phrases that you do not understand. (Note: Words/phrases unique to an author will usually be defined in the text.)
Create a map or outline of the text to help you visualize how each section/idea relates to the next.
Your summary should answer the following questions:
Who is the author? What is the title of the article? This should come in the beginning.
What is the thesis? How is the thesis supported; that is, what are the main points?
What key evidence supports the main points?
The trick to writing a good summary is to paraphrase the author’s main ideas without adding too many details or direct quotes. Academic summaries are usually brief and to the point. I suggest spending no more than one-third of your essay in summary.
Once you have a full understanding of what the author is saying and how the source works, you should react to what you’ve read. A critique is your opportunity to examine the author’s points, identify the article’s strengths and weaknesses in logic, the quality of the evidence, and the overall organization of the argument. Essentially, you should give your interpretation and elaborate on ideas to present what you think about what you’ve read. A critique is persuasive, so you should cite facts and examples from the article to support your point.
The following questions may help you get started with critiquing a source:
Does the work achieve its purpose? If so, how? If not, why?
Are any examples weak or insufficient? If so, how? If not, which examples did you find particularly effective? Why?
How is the work organized? Does the organization help readers understand, hinder readers’ understanding, or neither?
Are there any sections that are difficult to understand? Why?
Did the author offer too much or too little information in any area?
Organizing Your Response
Your finished critical response should be 700 to 900 words (roughly three pages) and adhere to MLA or APA formatting (double-spaced, accepted 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and so forth).
Critical responses contain the following basic elements: an introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and source information.
Introduction: Give the name of the author and title of the article in the first few sentences. Present the article’s thesis and write a few sentences to inform readers about the text. End the introduction with your thesis, which states your interpretation and assessment of the text.
Body Paragraphs: Present the ideas that contribute to and support your judgment of the text. Transition between ideas to show how things connect and relate to one another.
Pattern 1: Write all of the summary paragraphs first, and then write the analysis.
Pattern 2: Alternate between summary and critique paragraphs.
Pattern 3: Combine summary and critique of each idea within each paragraph.
Conclusion: Tie your response together.
Source Information: Document the article using either MLA or APA format.