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Writing a summary of another argument is a first step toward joining an academic conversation and finding our voice within it. Writing a summary encourages us to understand another point of view fully and describe it precisely so others can understand.
Targeted Course SLOs
This writing project will help you achieve the following course student learning objectives:
- (a) Analyze, compare, and evaluate divergent perspectives.
- (c) Compose thesis-driven arguments of interpretation or evaluation and support them with textual evidence, using a sufficient variety and number of appropriate examples.
- (e) Compose rhetorically sophisticated sentences to help achieve their purposes in writing.
Write a detailed and accurate summary of an argument of your choice from the Suggested Short Readings (Links to an external site.) list. Any of the readings on the list are fine; pick one that you find interesting.
- The summary should be at least 3 pages long.
- Describe the key ideas discussed in the argument, including the main claim, key reasons, counterarguments, rebuttals, and limits.
- Focus on the author’s ideas without giving your opinion.
- Choose phrases like “Alsultany argues…” throughout to show the writer’s purpose at each point.
- Write most of the summary in your own words, but consider using the occasional direct quote where the original word choice is critical.
- The introductory paragraph should include the title of the argument, the author’s full name, and the argument’s main claim.
- Use MLA format for in-text citations whether paraphrased or quoted. You do not need to do a Works Cited page for this assignment.
- Review the assignment’s rubric below for the detailed criteria of the assignment.
Suggestions for the Writing Process
- Read or reread the chapters. Chapter 2: Reading to Figure out the Argument (Links to an external site.) and Chapter 3: Writing a Summary of Another Writer’s Argument (Links to an external site.) are meant to guide you through the steps of this assignment. They include examples of summary writing and suggested sample phrases.
- Read one or more sample summaries (Links to an external site.) to get an idea of what you are aiming at.
- Reread the argument you have chosen and make notes as you go about its claims, reasons, counterarguments, rebuttals, and limits.
- Make an argument map and/or answer the brainstorming questions. Note: Making an argument map can be helpful, but it can be tricky, especially if you are summarizing a complex longer argument. If you are getting stuck working on the map, the brainstorming questions will also help you think about the structure of the argument.
- Write a draft.
- Seek feedback from a tutor, classmate, friend, or teacher.
- Revise the content.
- Proofread for grammar and punctuation.
- Review the assignment rubric to ensure that your project meets the criteria and revise as needed.
The essays are graded using a rubric. See the rubric below.
In addition to using a rubric, I also provide comments on your essays. Be sure to read feedback because that is how we improve as writers. For instructions, visit the “How do I view assignment comments from my instructor? (Links to an external site.)” Canvas Guide topic.
You will receive a grade and my feedback about a week after you submit your paper.
Writing Project adapted from an assignment created by Natalie Peterkin, edited by Anna Mills, and offered under a CC BY-NC license (Links to an external site.).
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Summary Essay Rubric (1) (1)
|Summary Essay Rubric (1) (1)|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe introduction mentions the author and title of the argument summarized.||10 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||10 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe introduction describes the main claim of the argument summarized.||10 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||10 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe summary presents the key ideas of the chapter, leaving out nothing important.||20 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||20 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe summary represents the argument’s claim, reasons, and handling of counterarguments accurately.||20 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||20 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThe summary introduces ideas with well-chosen phrases like “Alsultany argues…” to show the writer’s purpose at each point.||10 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||10 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDoes each paragraph focus on one central idea, supporting it with specifics and explanation?||10 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||10 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDo the sentences follow the major conventions of Standard English, including grammar, word choice, and punctuation?||10 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||10 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDoes the essay meet the length and MLA formatting requirements?||10 to >0.0 pts Full Marks 0 pts No Marks||10 pts|
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