The first paragraph must summarize the reading’s argument. What was the author’s main point? Did it contain essential subpoints? Which question was the author trying to answer? In which debate was the author intervening? Does the author introduce or utilize a sociological concept or theory?
The second paragraph must summarize the data the reading’s argument is based on and the methodology through which such data was collected and analyzed. Upon what data did the author base his or her point, concept, or theory? Did the author use historical archives, interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, or surveys to collect such data? Did the author analyze the data qualitatively or quantitatively? Was the data presented in a particular way? Why did the author select those particular ways of collecting, analyzing, and presenting his or her data?
The third paragraph must summarize the reading’s strengths. Did the author employ new, revealing data? Did the author employ old data in a new, helpful way? Is the author’s logic particularly sound or novel? Was the author balanced in his or her analysis? Did the author address the issue in a comprehensive way? Did the author use novel methods to collect, analyze, or present his or her data? Was the author’s writing style particularly effective in communicating his or her point, concept, or theory?
The fourth and final paragraph must summarize the reading’s weaknesses. Was the data insufficient? Were the conclusions at odds with the provided data? Was there a gap in logic? Did the author present only one side of the issue? Is the author’s point outdated or no longer relevant? Were the author’s methods of collecting, analyzing, or presenting his or her data limited in an important way? Are there newer, better ways of answering the pertinent question or resolving the relevant debate? Did the author’s writing style detract from his or her point, concept, or theory?
6. Clearly identify your selected reading in the first paragraph. If you choose a reading that is not listed on the syllabus, include a full citation for the selected reading immediately following your response. Use whichever format (Chicago, APA, MLA, etc.) is standard for your major (Chicago is the most common style in Sociology)
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