Reading Outlines & Summaries

As described on the Schedule page, you will write two short items each week:

  • An Outline of each of that week’s “B” readings, typically due on Tuesdays
  • A 250-word Summary of ONE of those readings, typically due on Thursdays.

The Outlines should show how the author has structured his argument.  The Summaries should capture the essence of the reading, focusing on the bones of its argument.  This requires both clarity and depth.  You cannot afford to mistake what an author is saying, nor can you afford to express it in confusing way.

It is hard to summarize a theoretical article in 250 words.  Only ruthless editing will get the job done.  I have provided some guidance on the Resources page of this website.  Students in the past have found it helpful to imagine that they were trying to explain the passage to a friend who needs to know the material for a test.  In a few concise sentences, state the main concern of the article, its specific claims, and how these claims are supported.  I grade for accuracy, clarity, and precision.

Outlines and Summaries are due on the days listed on the Schedule page.

  • Turn in the Outlines at the end of class; I’ll try to give you a few minutes to revise them, based on the day’s discussion.
  • Turn your Summaries in on Moodle, in the Homework Dropbox folder, at least 15 minutes BEFORE class on the day they are due.
    • If you do this, I’ll accept a revised version (with no penalty) by 6pm the same day, also submitted on Moodle.  That way, you can take advantage of our class discussion.

I score the summaries on a scale from 1 to 5.  In my grading system, these correspond to F, D, C, B, and A, respectively.  Here’s a bonus: you may revise your summaries to improve your grade.  You may do so twice, on two conditions:

  1. You may not seek to improve a score of “4” or above.
  2. You must have gotten at least a “1” on the original.
  3. Your final draft must reach me within two weeks of the time the original summary was due (or by the last day of class, whichever comes earlier).

Simply submit your revision on Moodle and I shall grade it.