P. Brown, “Preface” to Toxic Exposures R. Smith and B. Lourie, “Forward” and “In

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Jul 26, 2022


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P. Brown, “Preface” to Toxic Exposures
R. Smith and B. Lourie, “Forward” and “Introduction” to Slow Death by Rubber Duck
How do I choose which of the many points in an article to summarize?
Take a look at the start of the reading and figure out what the author is saying in general. What does the title indicate? What are the main issues being discussed? This is easily determined usually because the author will use subsection titles to organize their article and these explain its content. Put the author’s thoughts and ideas into your own words as best you can and cite their work directly when you find a clear passage that you want to highlight. Quote directly if you feel the author gives a clear definition of an idea or concept. The point is for you to summarize the main ideas by trying to put them into your own words just as if you were explaining the article to someone else. It is a good idea to discuss how ideas in the article relate to other ideas or themes in our course.
There is no way that you can include all of the ideas and points from lengthy articles – you have to decide what to include based on what you feel is important or compelling or what makes the most sense to you. Pick main themes and key concepts and then some secondary information to explain further. Most of the readings themselves are already organized into subsections so you should also approach the readings one section at a time. You do not have to summarize every section of each reading – that will often be too much. When trying to decide if you should summarize a point being made ask yourself the following: Does this point seem central to what the article is about and does it make sense to me? Do I find it interesting enough to be able to re-tell in my own words? If you find that a section of an article is confusing or difficult for you to understand you can also state that and explain why.
You can read the material and do your summary at the same time or you can read through, take notes and then write up your summary. It is up to you to decide whether you want to focus on a few points and go into detail on them or focus on many points and give only light details about them.
You do not need a formal introduction or conclusion of any sort – simply begin by explaining what the article is about by describing the main concepts, concerns and main ideas. The point of the exercise is for you to demonstrate your comprehension of the course material, and not necessarily to critique it. No one is qualified to critique a point of view unless they have fully understood that point of view.
You can say what you feel is important or problematic or interesting in the texts you are summarizing and why you think this is so. This type of summary exercise gives you important critical academic skills insofar as it teaches you how to identify main ideas and extract such information from a scholarly article.
How To Write Reading Summaries For This Course:
Your primary task for the reading summaries are as follows:
a) You are to re-present the ideas in the readings back by explaining them in your own words or by citing the author directly. A combination of both is the best technique.
b) In addition to repeating the main ideas you are asked to add your own thoughts by discussing why you feel the ideas are interesting or important or how you feel they relate to issues in our society.
All good pieces of writing have a defined structure and clear organization and flow of ideas. Just like when you are telling a story to a friend you start at the beginning and then give details to explain further – good writing is the same way, it must flow logically, and begin with the same points that the author begins with. The text should be 12 point font single spaced with standard margins.
Cite the articles properly – do not plagiarize!
Begin the summary by stating in a sentence or two
– what the article is about,
– what the author is saying in general, and
– what issues are being discussed
Try to explain in your own words what the main ideas are. You can paraphrase and quote directly but be sure to cite properly or it is considered plagiarism!*
When you quote an article simply do the following: As Bales states, “modern slavery is characterized by…” (Robbins, 2005: 13). All of the bibliographic information you need for citations is contained in your course reading pack.


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