The Joy of Summary Writing

Report
Summary
Critique Writing
Created by Betsy Divine
ESL Service Courses,
Fall 2012
Major Objective
The summary-critique essay will give you
practice in both summarize an external
source as well as to critiquing the source’s
validity, credibility, argumentation, and
organization. The skills practice in this
assignment are practical and applicable a
wide variety of graduate-level writing tasks.
ResearchCriticCritic of Critic Your Critic of Loxton
“Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence
for ‘Fast Mapping’” (Kaminski et al., 2004).
“Rico the Word Dog Prodigy More Human Than
Canine Dog Gives New Meaning To
Language”(Peterson, 2005).
“Pooches May be Smarter Than We Think”
(Loxton, 2007).
“Your Exciting Title” (Divine, 2012).
Writing a Good Summary
Critique Requires:
1.
Understanding all the past and current research on the topic
first.
2.
Understanding the thesis and supporting points of the work you
are critiquing.
3.
Coming to your own conclusions about the published work and
taking your stance in the form of a central transitional thesis.
4.
Identifying the most important supporting evidence/elements of
your thesis and expressing those points using clear P-I-E
structures.
5.
Being concise in our summary writing. Remember that the
summary critique is only going to have 1-2 paragraphs of
summary and the remainder will be your critique.
Beginning The Summary Part
A
summary should begin by mentioning the original
source. Here are some examples:
1) In her article entitled “The Joy of Summary Writing,”
Divine (2012) Informs us +that
states
claims
shows us
indicates
2)In “The Joy of Summary Writing,” Divine (2012)
discusses
explores
analyzes
Beginning The Summary Part

The article, “The Joy of Summary Writing” by
Betsy Divine examines
explores
shows us
reveals


According to Divine’s 2012 article “The Joy of
Summary Writing,” concision can be a difficult skill
for students to master
Concision, according to Divine (2012) in her article
“The Joy of Summary Writing,” can be a difficult
skill for students to master.
Sample Student Introduction
In his article “Pooches May be Smarter Than We
Think”, Jason Loxton criticizes April Pederson’s
article, “Paranormal Pooches”, which attacks the
validity of Kaminski et al.’s research, “Word
Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for “Fast
Mapping””. Loxton argues that + main idea
Critique the student text above. Do they follow the
appropriate APA format? Is the wording
comprehensible? Is the language neutral?
Sample Body of A Critique
 Some


Positive (Weaker) opinion first = 1 paragraph
Negative (Stronger) opinion second = 2 paragraphs
 Some


positive, but mostly negative
negative, but mostly positive
Negative (Weaker) opinion first = 1 paragraph
Positive (Stronger) opinion second = 2paragraphs
 Remember
that all your main points need to be
related to your transitional thesis
Sample Phrases: Evaluative Language
 The
author’s [positive characteristic] was
reflected in the author’s ability to…
 Although….., there existed a lack in
connection between X and Y….
 Despite….,Divine fails to acknowledge X
 Given the author’s background in X, it
comes as no surprise…
 Divine’s coverage of X goes beyond…
Unreal Conditionals in Critiques
Would/might have + PP verb+ Comparison
+ if + noun phrase + PP verb
 This
article would have been more
persuasive if the author had related the
findings to previous work on the topic.
 It
would have been better if the authors
had given their main findings in the form of
a table.
Subordination in Critiques

Although the author suggests that journal articles
written in languages other than English may have
limited impact, he fails to see the advantages of
more publications being available in English.

Despite the many interesting citations in support
of his view, the citations are dated and are not
likely meaningful today.

The author recognizes that…..; however, she fails
to see….
Double Adjectives in Critiques
 In
this ambitious but flawed study, Jones
and Wang…
 In
this flawed by ambitious study, Jones
and Wang…
Notice that just like subordination, the emphasis
changes depending on the order.
Evaluative Language: Adjectives
 Positive
Useful
Important
Interesting
Detailed
Insightful
Consistent
Informative
 Negative
Inconsistent
Difficult
Restricted
Misleading
Distracting
A Closer Look at Evaluative Language
 Read
the following student summary of
Loxton.
 Pay
close attention to the evaluative
language used.
Sample Summary
In his article “Pooches May be Smarter Than We Think”, Jason Loxton
criticizes April Pederson’s article, “Paranormal Pooches”, which attacks the validity
of Kaminski et al.’s research, “Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for
“Fast Mapping””. Loxton argues that Kaminski’s experiment deserves more
consideration than a simple dismissal because it was carried out by a respected
research institute, published in a reliable magazine, and has gone through peerreviews. He contends that Pederson neglected and misunderstood several important
details of the experiment, and did not provide any scientific evidence in supporting
her argument. In particular, he criticizes her for accusing the experiment of
involving a “Clever Hans” phenomenon, which shows that she neglected the fact
that the experiment was carefully designed to avoid that phenomenon. Also,
although he admits that Pederson rightly pointed out that Rico’s alleged ability to
fast map could in fact be a simple repetition of “fetch-a-new-toy” routine, he
believes that her denial of Rico’s recalling ability as a mere chance is unjustifiable
because the 50 % success rate is a significant figure, considering that the random
chance is 11 – 20%. Finally, he refuted her attack on Kaminski’s experiment
method by mentioning that all 200 items were in fact included in the pool and that
there is no possibility of manipulation in the design of the experiment.
In his article “Pooches May be Smarter Than We Think”, Jason Loxton criticizes April
Pederson’s article, “Paranormal Pooches”, which attacks the validity of Kaminski et
al.’s research, “Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for “Fast Mapping””.
Loxton argues that Kaminski’s experiment deserves more consideration than a simple
dismissal because it was carried out by a respected research institute, published in a
reliable magazine, and has gone through peer-reviews. He contends that Pederson
neglected and misunderstood several important details of the experiment, and did not
provide any scientific evidence in supporting her argument. In particular, he criticizes
her for accusing the experiment of involving a “Clever Hans” phenomenon, which
shows that she neglected the fact that the experiment was carefully designed to avoid
that phenomenon. Also, although he admits that Pederson rightly pointed out that
Rico’s alleged ability to fast map could in fact be a simple repetition of “fetch-a-newtoy” routine, he believes that her denial of Rico’s recalling ability as a mere chance is
unjustifiable because the 50 % success rate is a significant figure, considering that the
random chance is 11 – 20%. Finally, he refuted her attack on Kaminski’s experiment
method by mentioning that all 200 items were in fact included in the pool and that
there is no possibility of manipulation in the design of the experiment.
Making Neutral Reference
 Not
every part of a critique should be
evaluative. You need to remember to
remind the readers of who/what you are
criticizing by using neutral summary
phrases between the critiques such as:
 The
author goes on to say…
 Divine (2012) also reports that…
 The article further states that…
Concluding The Critique

A concluding paragraph restates the
conclusions that you have drawn about the
work. For example, if you've analyzed how the
role of women are presented in a work of
literature, the conclusion is the place for you to
say what impact that roles has had on that book
and perhaps literature as a whole. Thus, we can
think of the conclusion as a restatement of the
thesis as well as a deeper or broader analysis of
the issue and associated research.
Sample Conclusion
In summary, it has to be admitted that the
current study is still far from being conclusive.
Further studies must be undertaken, better
measures must be developed, and larger
samples must be used to improve our
understanding concerning the exact
relationship between culture and decision
making. Despite some deficiencies in
methodology, to the extent that this research
is exploratory i.e. trying to investigate an
emerging issue, the study has provided some
insights to account for culture in developing
ethical standards across national borders.
Sample Conclusion
In summary, it has to be admitted that the
current study is still far from being conclusive.
Further studies must be undertaken, better
measures must be developed, and larger samples
must be used to improve our understanding
concerning the exact relationship between
culture and decision making. Despite some
deficiencies in methodology, to the extent that
this research is exploratory i.e. trying to investigate
an emerging issue, the study has provided some
insights to account for culture in developing
ethical standards across national borders
Summary Self Reflection
Please look to your paragraph and consider the following:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
Is the source given correctly at the beginning?
Do you capture the main idea?
How did you express the main idea in your
paragraph?
Did you discuss the main supporting subtopics?
What are they?
Are there any unnecessary details? If so, remove
them.
Does your summary give the impression that you
clearly understood the reading? If not, mark any
places of misinterpretation.
References
McWhorter, K.T. (2006). Successful College
Writing
(3rd Ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Plotnick, J. (n.d.). “Paraphrase and Summary.”
University College Writing Centre. Retrieved from
http://www.utoronto.ca/ucwriting/paraphra
se.html
Swales, J.M., Feach, C.B. (2005) Academic Writing for
Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills (2nd
Ed.)University of Michigan Press: Ann Harbor
Discussion on 3rd Article
Loxton's main ideas:






Pedersen’s article in Skeptic Vol 12 (3), Paranormal Pooches, criticizes
Kaminski’s article Can a dog learn a word? which appears in the journal
Science.
Loxton in Skeptic Vol 13 (2) argues that an article in a respectable
peer-reviewed Journal cannot be dismissed as Pedersen does since she
adduces no supporting scientific evidence but relies on popular
newspaper and magazine sources.
Pedersen’s invoking of the "clever Hans" fallacy fails to note Kaminski’s
methodological safeguard against it.
Loxton argues that Pedersen’s interpretation of the evidence against
‘fast mapping’ by the border collie Rico, is unsound – specifically she
misunderstands valid statistical inferences and fails to mention the real
problem of small sample sizes.
Also, Pedersen’s crudely attacks the researchers, and also misinterprets
and makes errors in criticizing a well designed experimental testing of
the dog’s vocabulary knowledge.
The remainder of the Pedersen article is dismissed as irrelevant and
dubious by Loxton

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