Assignment 9: Summarizing and Commenting on an academic journal
article using APA format.
EngC 1011 University Writing and Critical Reading
Kevin L. Callahan
EngC Writing Instructor
Students should be able to write a "Summary and Comment" regarding an academic journal article. Students should be able to fairly and adequately summarize, critically analyze assumptions and reasoning, and persuasively comment on ideas appearing in academic journal articles. (Students are encouraged to evaluate new ideas that they are exposed to and to not accept new ideas uncritically). Students should be able to clearly express an evaluative opinion and attempt to persuade an audience of a proposition or thesis.
Students should be able to write using the component parts of an APA formatted paper including a Cover Sheet, Abstract, Body of the Text, References, and Appendix (e.g. Illustrations). After reading 17 Comments that appear at the end of a Current Anthropology journal article as writing "exemplars," students will write their own summary and comment regarding the 1988 article "The Signs of All Times: Entoptic Phenomena in Upper Palaeolithic Art."
1. Check out and read both the article and Comments from David Lewis Williams and Thomas Dowson's classic 1988 article from Current Anthropology vol. 29, no. 2 April 1988 pp. 201-238 entitled "The Signs of All Times: Entoptic Phenomena in Upper Palaeolithic Art." A copy is available to be checked out from the Reserve Periodicals Desk at Wilson Library.
2. Following the APA format (see the Longman Handbook for an example) prepare and write a Cover Sheet, Abstract, a 2 page Summary of the article, a 1 page Comment, References, and an Appendix of at least one illustration (This can be a photocopy of an illustration or illustrations from the article). In most cases the 3 page summary and comment should consistently use the past tense since this is a completed study and can include direct quotations (citing to pages) and should include, at a minimum, the following information:
The Summary section (2 pages)
The title of the article being summarized.
The authors and their affiliation or institution.
When the article was published and the publication.
What the article was about.
Definitions used by the researcher, e.g. a precise definition of "entoptics," "phosphenes," "form constants," "hallucinations," etc.
The research question - in one sentence.
The thesis or results of the research (the main idea of the article) - in one sentence.
A brief review of earlier ideas and theories to explain the phenomena
A brief summary of the proposed model.
A brief description of the evidence to support the model
The significant implications, if any, of the proposed model.
The Comment section (1 page)
Initial reaction to the article
Areas that may need clarification
Scrutiny and analysis of the assumptions made by the authors
Scrutiny and analysis of the reasoning of the authors
Final opinions or conclusions
Assigned: Tuesday, October 24.
Course points: 40 points
First Draft Due: Tuesday, October 31 with copies for the Editing Practice/Peer Review Workshop on that day.
Final Draft Due: Thursday, November 2.