1. RHE 306
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Research Summary Reminders

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  1. You’ll need to take notes on a piece before you’ll be able to craft the RS. If the piece seems complex, you may want to outline it. Your outline should reveal the skeleton or architecture of the argument. And/or, try capturing each paragraph in a single sentence. What is the point of the paragraph, and how does the point of the paragraph contribute to (e.g., explain, give background for, qualify, provide evidence for, introduce or build up sub-claims that build up the main claim) the writer’s overarching position or claim? However, your RS should not simply put all of these sentences into paragraph form. Rather, look at these sentences “from a distance” to get a sense of the whole. Consider what’s essential to include and what’s not. Then play with reordering your sentences so that their sequence best captures the original piece. Of course, you’ll then need to revise and edit this draft.

  2. Avoid sequential (play-by-play) description of the text’s organization, as if you’re taking us through the text from start to finish. There’s no room to do that, so you must synthesize the piece for us conceptually, make sense of it as a whole, then take us into the text, show us concisely but thoroughly how the main points fit together. If you catch yourself using sequential pointers such as “next the author says,” “then s/he says,” “after that s/he says,” etc., chances are good that you’re approaching the summary too sequentially. Don’t describe the text’s sequential organization; detail its content.

  3. Preserve the tone of the original piece. For example, if the original is serious, suggest or reflect that tone in the summary. That too is a component of capturing the piece. Use your own language (you have many “voices” or styles; aim for one that is professional but not stuffy or high falutin.’ Avoid being chatty or too colloquial in this assignment – but of course you will use these options in many other writing situations). Do retain exceptional words or phrases from the original, being sure to put them in quotation marks. Do so sparingly and strategically.

  4. Periods and commas go inside quote marks unless the quotation marks are followed by parentheses:

    a. In “Identity in the Age of the Internet: Living in the MUD,” Sherry Turkle questions some basic assumptions about identity.

    b. If quotation marks are followed by parentheses, the punctuation goes after the parentheses: Legba wants Bungle to pay–“Mostly,” she says, “I want his Money” (95).

  5. Always state up front the author’s full name and the full title of the work you’re summarizing.

  6. Put article and essay titles in quotation marks. Only underline/italicize titles of whole books (or films or collections). So What Money Can’t Buy would be underlined or italicized, as would Critical Situations and Banksy’s film Exit Through the Gift Shop. The titles of individual essays or articles, however, should be in quotation marks.

  7. Always cite page number(s) in parentheses when you quote directly from the text. Just the page number(s)––no p. or pp. or # or whatever. Simply put the page number(s) inside parentheses: for example, (96) or (96-97).