Research Summaries 2 & 3
Write a 350-450 word paper summarizing an article that takes a position on your chosen controversy. RS2 and RS3 should take different positions on the controversy.
Your article should be:
- Written in 2009 or later
- Credible - in a credible source, from a writer with some degree of credibility, written in a credible voice.
- Opinionated (not informational - the author should clearly and explicitly state their position)
- At least two pages (700 words) long
The first part of your summary should be a concise but thorough summary of the position this source is advocating. Begin by introducing the article: who wrote it, what is it about, what controversy is it engaging with, and what position does it take? Then clearly describe two or three main points that the author makes to support their position, and explain what kind of evidence the author uses for each claim.
An effective research summary should be descriptive, rather than evaluative. Do not give your opinion of the article, or the controversy. Write in a formal tone, using a scholarly style. Back up your description with quotes when appropriate, followed by the page number in parentheses. Rather than covering all the points an author makes, clearly synthesize the information into a useful summary.
The second (shorter) part of your summary should be a discussion of the author’s bias.
A bias is a perspective that affects how people see an issue. Of course, everyone will have an opinion, but bias is separable from opinion. An author’s bias is his/her particular viewpoint, related to a range of things such as: political beliefs, community investment, place of residence, employment, age, or religion. S/he may believe that we should ban plastic bags (an opinion), and s/he may belong to the Sierra Club (indicating an environmentalist bias). Someone may believe that Texas should allow natural gas exploration with minimal regulation (an opinion), but s/he may work for British Petroleum (indicating a pro-corporate bias).
To the best of your ability, explain what bias this author demonstrates in his/her writing. How can you identify the author’s bias? Consider, for instance, the following as indications of bias:
- Author: Who is the author? What is their stake in making this argument?
- Audience and Publication: Who is this written for? Where is this published? What does that tell you, if anything, about the perspective?
Explain also how this bias comes forth in the writing. Is the article heavily biased, or is it written in an objective tone? In the article itself, you might look at:
- Alternative views: How, if at all, does the author recognize and address opposing viewpoints?
- Language: Does the author use language that indicates one side of a viewpoint?
- Emotional keywords: Does the author describe events, people, etc. emotionally?
- Supported with quotes
- Synthesized (determining and organizing summary by most important elements of source argument; not an enumerative summary e.g. “Source says first point, second point, third point”)
- Free of RS writer’s opinion
- Clear, easy to follow
- Concise language
- Correct spelling & grammar
Note: research summaries that do not meet these parameters will not be accepted.
- 350-450 words
- Single spaced
- Times New Roman or Garamond, 12pt font
- MSWord Compatible (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .otd)
- Upper left corner: Name, date, RHE306
- Title in center
- MLA citation of article below title