Week 11 Blog Prompt: Academic Source

Another prompt designed to assist you as you prepare for your looming papers: this week your task is to either summarise or respond to an academic article which relates to one of our texts. Notes and tips behind the cut — and I hope you have / are having / have had a happy and safe Hallowe’en!

Animated gif of two skeletons in red bobbed wigs. One is playing an electric guitar and one is swaying in the background

First things first: I strongly recommend that you look for an academic article that a) relates to the text you’re discussing in your Essay 2 and/or b) relates to the issue you’re discussing in your Essay 2. This will give you a further sense of both the conversation the text is part of, and of what people are saying about it. If you really want to go in another direction, though, an academic source that relates to the themes of the course is fine.

If you are choosing to summarise a text, you will need to (like last week):

  • Briefly (1-2 sentences) justify your choice of source and its connection to the text or the course
  • Offer a clear statement of the author/s’ main point
  • Run through any supporting facts and evidence provided within the article
  • Explain what this article illustrates about your chosen text (as a whole, or specific sections or concerns) or the course. What is valuable about it?

If you are choosing to respond to a text, you will need to:

  • Introduce your chosen source, remembering that your audience will not have read it. Explain its context, how it relates to the course or your text, and offer a brief (2-3 sentence) summary of its content
  • Explain what form your response to the article will take (including, perhaps, why you feel the need to respond / respond in a particular way)
  • Respond! Remember, a response can be a lot of things: you may want to extend the argument made in the article, raise questions about its assumptions, argue against it, apply it to something, illustrate a core point in a new way, etc.

In both cases, please provide a citation for your work so others can find it if they are interested. As we saw on Thursday, a lot of you have overlap in your project ideas, so please think of this prompt as both an opportunity to extend your own research and to provide other resources to your peers. Good karma, yo.

Some resources for you (all require you to log in through the UT Libraries system — or navigate to them from the Libraries homepage):

JSTOR — big academic database of humanities and social sciences research

Project Muse — more humanities focussed than JSTOR, but has a bit of science stuff in it

Google Scholar — my personal favourite way to research these days. If you go to it through the UT Libraries page, you’ll have immediate access to the PDFs you need — all found through a familiar interface with a fairly intuitive advanced search setup.

Speaking of advanced search, always use it. Really. If nothing else, it is helpful to be able to narrow down the dates to find material from particular time periods.

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