explain )? authors often answer questions H u m a n i t i e s

explain )? authors often answer questions H u m a n i t i e s

The professor defines a reading response as:

I define it as your own critical analysis of the material presented in a reading. A successful response should identify the author’s topic and thesis, and then present an argument concerning the effectiveness of the author’s argument. A response can engage both the content of the material (the important points, including any arguments) and the way that content is presented. An article analysis is NOT a book report that merely summarizes the reading and repeats the author’s points.

  1. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.
    • recognize, build, and appraise arguments
    • analyze visual data
    • identify errors in reasoning
    • provide useful summaries/precis
  1. Oral/Written Communications: Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.
    • translate research
  2. Global/Intercultural Fluency: Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates, openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.
    • show an awareness of diverse perspectives
    • demonstrate respect for other cultures
    • approach team/group communication with sensitivity and openness
    • show awareness of global/community issues
    • question forms of power, privilege, and inequality
  3. FIRST: How to read critically

    To move through any reading and toward a thorough understanding of the reading, consider answering the following questions:

    1. What is the author’s subject?

    2. What is the author’s thesis?

    3. How does the author support the thesis (e.g. examples, description, opinion,

    anecdotes) and how do these examples, etc., specifically support the thesis?

    4. What is the author’s purpose (to persuade, argue, describe, entertain, explain)?

    Authors often answer questions in their writing, but they can also raise them. You should consider whether issues raised in the reading are addressed adequately, passed over with sufficient discussion, or even ignored.

    SECOND: How to formulate a response

    There will be readings to which you immediately have a response to the author’s thesis and main points. Your analysis is NOT A SUMMARY OF THE ARTICLE. If you are stuck, think about the elements of the article that you remember most readily, and what did the author do to makes those element(s) more memorable. Did anything about the article stick out to you as jarring? Interesting? Inappropriate? If so, that section of the article may be a good place for you to focus your own critique of the article.

    THIRD: How to write the response

    • Your paper should begin with an introduction of the article by title and the author’s name and include a summary of the reading’s main points (succinctly in about 4-5 sentences), in your own words. You should not quote directly from the reading in this summary. You should follow the summary with your thesis statement that expresses your analysis of the article.
      • Your thesis statement should be an argument. Please see the handout on iCollege, How to Write a Thesis.
      • Your thesis should address an element in the reading that you would like to further analyze.
    • This should be followed by the body of your paper, which is the support for the thesis of your paper. This is where you convince me of your thesis.
      • This is a 1 page paper, you do not have a lot of space to waste! Get right into your argument. You can assume that I have read the article and just address your thesis in the body of your paper.
    • Your paper should have a brief conclusion, where you remind me of the key piece(s) of your argument.
    • The paper should be concise (1 pages in length, 1” margins), typed, and double-spaced.


    • The evaluation of your paper will be based on both how you present your argument and on the proper use of standard written English.
    • No outside sources should be used for this paper.
    • When referring to the text of the article, please include the page number.


    A paper “heading in the right direction” might:

    • Challenge an element of the reading with a counterexample.
    • Recognize why a critical element of the author’s proof is important.
    • Identify an unclear element from the reading

    A paper “veering off course” probably:

    • Summarizes the reading
    • Rambles about your own personal opinions without providing a link to the reading
    • Discusses the reading, but misinterprets it

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