What evidence is used? (Nature and use of sources) So what? (Significance of the text—why is this important; your take on the text; effectiveness of argument and evidence; critique not just content but approach)

Our course will revolve around reading academic articles and doing a Notes on Notes, a brief reflection for each reading, in addition to a weekly reflection. I do not expect (nor do I want) you to read an article start to finish. Instead, I am going to try and train you to actively read and hunt for relevant information. Basically, if you can answer:

who is the author (this will require a quick Google search – when were they active, what is their field, what is their interests, etc.)

what is the main point (thesis, etc.)

what are some types of sources (footnotes/endnotes – diaries? Newspapers? Other scholarly works?)

You will do great. It will take some practice, but do not be discouraged if it seems like it is taking you too long during the first few modules – you will get the hang of it very quickly.

Do not plagiarize or copy from other students. Avoid large block quotes. I’ll give you feedback as we go along in the course.

Guidelines for Reading and Notes on Notes

Levels of Reading:

Elementary: Understanding the meaning of the words in the text
Inspectional: Getting the most out of a text in a limited time
Analytical: A thorough and intensively active reading
Synoptic/Comparative: Reading multiple sources on a given topic

Step One: Three Questions for Inspectional Reading:

Who is the author? (Field, research interests, year written)
What is this article about? (State in one sentence, or at most a few sentences)
What is its structure, or what are its parts? (Relate parts to main point/theme)

Key methods for Inspectional Reading:
Title/Subtitle/Preface (Subject and Structure)
Index/footnotes (Range of topics; Crucial terms)
Abstract (Summary)
Quick Skim (Including intro and final pages)

Step Two: Four Questions for Active Reading:

What is this article about? (What is the topic, what kind of approach, structure, problem/problems that the author is trying to solve)
What is being said in detail, and how? (Main ideas, assertions, rhetoric, and arguments)
What evidence is used? (Nature and use of sources)
So what? (Significance of the text—why is this important; your take on the text; effectiveness of argument and evidence; critique not just content but approach)

Notes on Notes Format:

Notes on Notes should be a polished paragraph or two, with an introduction and conclusion
Due by midnight the end of the module week
One page maximum
Use a title
Selectively quote your text for maximum effect
At least two of the “Four Questions for Active Reading” should be addressed

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