Summary and Persuasive Response Assignment

Summary and Persuasive Response Assignment

 

Weight: 15%

 

Due: Friday July 24 at 11:55 PM (23:55) PDT, with a 24-hour grace period, in the Dropbox on CourseSpaces.

NOTE:  docx or pdf ONLY. Please follow formatting guidelines!

 

Word count: Your final assignment should be between 500 and 750 words (not including your header, title, or audience description).

  • To start with, you should write more than you need to — maybe 1000 words in a rough draft).
  • As you revise, edit down to approximately 500 to 750 words (allowing approximately 200 for the summary and 300 to 500 for the response).
  • In the drafting process, you really do need to write more, not less.

Purpose, or Why Am I Doing This?

A major part of academic writing is summarizing and then responding to what others say. We (academic writers — and that includes you!) must consistently research the work that others have done in our chosen fields (e.g. biology, linguistics, computer science, music, etc.) and summarize their findings and arguments. Then we respond by debating or building on what others have achieved. In your textbook Why Write, the authors explain that summary writing is challenging, because you are often asked in academic writing to take a complex written work of 2000 to 6000 words and condense it to 250 words. Luckily, you will practice this crucial skill in this assignment as well as in this entire course. Once you acquire this skill, you will discover that summarizing information is necessary in many types of writing beyond academic writing.

 

This assignment asks you to practice two important situations in which you need to present a summary:

 

  1. A summary written to capture the main points of a longer text objectively and accurately. (This is the sort of summary you will need to write for an annotated bibliography.)
  2. A summary written to provide enough information about a source’s main points so that a reader can follow your own argument. (This is the sort of summary you are likely to include in a paragraph that presents your own claim or position.)

 

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, so let’s get started.

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How to Complete this Assignment Successfully

These steps are intended to guide your work on this assignment. If you’re not sure how to complete some of these tasks, please ask for help from your instructor, teaching assistant or from a CAC tutor.

 

Writing the Summary:

 

  1. Read through the entire assignment, including the rubric, and underline action words (e.g. “discuss,” “summarize,” “read,” and so forth). Make sure you know what you are being asked to do. If there is anything you do not understand, please go to Coursespaces and scroll down to Week Two where you will find a forum entitled “Major Assignment One: Summary and Persuasive Response.” In that forum, you will see not only the assignment description and the readings, but also discussion threads where you can ask questions.
  2. Next, choose an article from the list provided in the Discussion “Readings for the Assignment” (located in the Major Assignment One: Summary and Persuasive Response Forum). Please be sure to select an article that has an argument you agree with.
  3. Read the articles and apply the techniques for reading provided in Week Two. You are looking for (a) the main argument, (b) supporting arguments, and evidence. Be sure to take notes on this information.
  4. Read through both your notes and the article once more. Put them aside and start writing a draft of your summary. Because you are trying to present the article’s ideas IN YOUR OWN WORDS, it’s most effective NOT to look at the original article during this drafting process.
  5. Now, read through your draft summary. Have you condensed the information accurately and effectively? Go through the checklist for summary writing provided in my Pro Moment PowerPoints. Have you followed all the conventions for summary writing? Make changes to your draft as needed.
  6. Now is the stage where you should make sure what you have written is really in your own words. Please be sure you have not used any direct quotations. A paraphrase or two is okay, but mostly you should be focusing on the most general points of the article, not specific sentences or phrases. And double-check to ensure you’re not replicating language or sentence structures from the original text.
  7. Read through your draft once more for accuracy and to catch any errors in punctuation or grammar. Congrats! You finished the summary. Now you are going to respond to the article and you will complete this work in Week Three.

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 Writing the Persuasive Response:

 

  1. Read the article again but this time consider how the author wants to make you think about the subject. Does the author want you to feel a certain way? Do they want you to trust their evidence? Is the argument convincing? Why did they want to write this article? As you are reading, consider these and other questions. Take notes to record your answers.

 

  1. Now consider the audience for the article. You will need to use the Pro Moment Lecture on rhetorical analysis of audience, context and purpose (from Week One) to accurately analyze the article. You should also use the reading you chose and look up the journal – who do you think the primary audience might be? Go back and review the readings from week One and Two. Take notes about the audience.

 

  1. Consider the type of article: Is it a commentary? Is it an opinion piece? Try looking up the source (journal, etc.) in which it was published. Take notes about the type of article this is.

 

  1. You should have quite a few notes. Read through them and think about what you discovered. Thinking about writing is a vital part of the writing process. Once you have done so, you are ready to start writing.

 

  1. You are writing for a specific audience, a naysayer, or someone who does not believe what the article says. You might pretend it’s me. You could also pretend it’s an expert in the field, a classmate, or a public figure. Write three to five sentences describing this intended audience.

 

  1.  Think about how to make your naysayer audience believe the article’s argument. You need to defend the article. A good first step in doing so is to look back at your notes and highlight any elements that seem likely to appeal to your reader.

 

  1. Use your own writing process to build a draft. I strongly suggest writing more than you need to and then revising by cutting what isn’t useful and building up what is.  Be sure to complete the practice assignment first! Get some feedback.

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Checklist of key parts of this assignment:

  1. Summary (with a title)
  2. Persuasive response (with a title)
  3. Audience description paragraph
  4. Source information. (This could take the form of an MLA- formatted Work Cited or APA-formatted References list.)

 

Rubric:

 

A level grade (80-100):

 

The summary shows an in-depth understanding of how to condense complex information with skill and accuracy. The author understands how to paraphrase and cites each paraphrase accurately. The conventions of summary writing are followed expertly.

 

The persuasive response is effective because the reader is convinced by the author’s skillful and accurate use of language. The author has addressed the reader’s concerns about the article with relevant evidence that is cited with care. The reader can not only understand the author’s argument about the article, but also the reader is persuaded by the author’s highly effective and accurate explanations, evidence, and clear purpose (argument).

 

The writing is pleasurable to read because the author has, for example, transitioned between ideas effectively, used a variety of sentence structures, and included relevant and even compelling vocabulary.

 

An A+ can become an A or A- as the author loses control of the argument, for instance if the writing contains errors or is not consistent. An A- level paper may have a few small errors in writing or perhaps argumentation will have weaknesses (perhaps not enough evidence or the evidence is not integrated as well as it could be). However, all A level grades show a skill level that is impressive.

 

B level grade (70-79)

 

The summary shows a strong understanding of how to condense complex information with skill and accuracy. The author understands how to paraphrase and cites each instance accurately. The conventions of summary writing are followed effectively.

 

The persuasive response is effective because the reader is convinced by the author’s skillful argument about the article. The author has addressed the reader’s concerns about the article with relevant evidence that is cited. The reader can not only understand that author’s argument, but also the reader is persuaded by the author’s effective explanations, evidence, and clear purpose (argument).

 

The writing is pleasurable to read, even though there are issues with the vocabulary or sentence structure or some other factor that impedes reading somewhat. The errors should be small and not overwhelming for the reader.

 

A B+ nears exceeding expectations, but there may be issues that stop the paper from an A-. Sometimes the issue is that the writing has too many errors to reach the A level. It might be that the author has lost control of the argument. This can happen when detailed evidence is overused (too many direct quotations) or underused (not enough support). When these issues start to add up, then an assignment might drop to a B or B- level. A B- is indicative that the student might need more support from the Centre for Academic Communication or ask for help from the instructor or teaching assistants.

 

C level grade (60 to 69)

 

The summary shows an understanding of how to condense complex information with skill and accuracy. The author understands how to paraphrase and cites each instance. The conventions of summary writing are followed. Patchwriting may be evident (simply paraphrasing the article at the sentence level rather than condensing a major idea or argument in the article).

 

The persuasive response is fairly effective because the reader is somewhat convinced by the author’s argument about the article. The author has addressed the reader’s concerns about the article with evidence that is cited, although there may be issues with the citation or the use of evidence. The reader can understand that author’s argument and can follow along with the explanations.

 

The writing is pleasurable to read, even though there are issues with the vocabulary or sentence structure or some other factor that impedes reading somewhat. The errors should not be overwhelming for the reader.

 

 

A C+ nears being very good, but can still be considered good in a number of areas, but there too may be issues that stop the paper from a B-. Sometimes the issue is that the writing has too many errors to reach the A level. It might be that the author has lost control of the argument. This can happen when detailed evidence is overused (too many direct quotations) or underused (not enough support). When these issues start to add up, then an assignment might drop to a C or C- level. A C- is indicative that the student needs support from the Centre for Academic Communication and should ask for help from the instructor or teaching assistants.

 

D level Grade or Fail

 

Please contact the instructor immediately to set up an appointment to discuss the paper and possible resubmission. This discussion is meant to support you on your writing journey. You will not be judged or admonished in any way. Instead, I will suggest ways you can improve and build on what’s working!

 

 

In addition to this assignment specific rubric, the overall rubric for grading first year writing at the University of Victoria is in effect. Please review this rubric carefully.

 

(If the embedded link does not work, here is the URL: https://www.uvic.ca/humanities/english/undergraduate/resources/firstyeargrading/index.php)