Writing assignment: Review
The assignment for the term paper is to write a review for a media item, such as a news article, podcast or documentary film, that is related to any of the subjects covered by this course. Several possibilities will be posted shortly.
Below is an outline of the suggested format. There is no minimum page limit; as with a legal brief, be sure to thoroughly and fully cover the required points without repetition and/or unnecessary ‘filler.’
The completed assignment should be emailed to me in MS Word or RTF format, and is due by 8 PM on June 11, 2019.
Part I.: Who, where, when & what?
Identify the author(s)/creator(s) of the work under review, and provide information that might help clarify who this person is in relation to the work being reviewed. Is this a scholar? If so, what is her field? Is she a public official or a prominent blogger? Is he a public intellectual? A reporter? A spokesperson? Has he written other material? If necessary, do a quick internet search.
Identify the work being reviewed. What is its title? Is it an article in a news publication, a podcast, a documentary or some other form of media? Be sure to include the date of the publication; usually just the month and year will suffice.
The rest of this part should be about the workâs topicâwhat it is about. In order to make this part particularly precise, use a strong verb to describe the workâs claim. For example, the work may suggest, argue, imply, urge, contrast, claim, analyze or explain something.
Part II: How?
In this section, provide a summary of how the work develops, structures, and supports its argument. What kind of evidence does the work draw upon? How is the case built? Perhaps by comparing and contrasting, illustrating, defining, or providing context? Perhaps the work starts out with a narrative and then moves into a description of several research studies? This section should account for all the most important parts of the work being reviewed.
Part III: Why?
What was the purpose of this work? What does the work intend for us to do, believe, feel, understand or think about its subject? In the first section , you told us what that work is arguing; now it is time to consider why the work has done so.
Part IV: Conclusion and your own opinion
In this section, provide you opinion of the work. You should address both its surface quality (e.g. âthe piece was poorly organizedâ, âthe documentary was slickly producedâ), and the sum and substance of the message it meant to convey (e.g. âthe article would have us glibly believe that all actors in the justice system have the best of intentionsâ).
Do not hesitate to âcall b.s.â if you sense that the work is being dishonest, or to wholeheartedly agree with it, but always be sure to explain your own position. It is appropriate to cite to other sources for contrasting information/opinion/analysis in this section, and a thorough treatment of such other sources may result in extra credit.
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