Summary Exercise Instructions
For this assignment only, there is no draft option. You should simply submit your required final copy whenever you are ready. This assignment is designed to inform your larger research project.
Additional helpful resources:
Summary Exercise Rubric | Summary Exercise Sample 1 | Summary Exercise Sample 2
Option #1: Investigate and Interview
You have already chosen a topic and created a working thesis statement for your research paper topic. Find a non-profit organization (e.g., one that provides literacy instruction, a support group for cancer patients, a shelter that provides refuge for battered women) in your city that is connected to your topic. For example, if you are researching services for blind people, you might interview someone at the National Federation of the Blind. Explain your assignment and request an interview with a staff member who is considered an expert in the field. Create 10 to 20 questions related to your thesis statement to ask the interviewee. For the writing assignment (Note that you should be conducting this interview yourself. You should not be summarizing an interview that someone else conducted):
- Create an introduction that includes the interviewee’s background. What is his/ her name? What is his/her position? How long has your interviewee worked at this organization, and what is his/her role there? These are just some of the questions that you can ask to help you build your introductory paragraph.
- Summarize the interviewee’s responses in approximately three cohesive body paragraphs.
- Finish with a concluding paragraph that explains how this interview helped you better understand your chosen research paper topic.
Option #2: Getting What you Need from Periodicals
Locate credible sources for your chosen topic of the research paper project. Find at least five relevant sources from periodicals (Please do not use basic informative website such as ehow or Wikipedia. The source you choose will ideally be an academic or research-based article). From the sources that you find, choose one to summarize. The source you choose should be a credible periodical and not merely a random website. Also keep in mind that your chosen source should be research-based and non-fiction. For example, you should not summarize a short story for this assignment. Choose a source such as a journal article, an essay in an anthology, a magazine article, or a newspaper article. For this option, you might use this as a guideline for crafting your thesis statement: John Smith’s book The Guiding Light explained (add first paragraph focus), (add second paragraph focus), and (add third paragraph focus). Here are some possible places to search for good sources:
- Internet Public Library: http://www.ipl.org/
- Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/ (note that this is different from regular Google)
- Microsoft Academic Search: http://academic.research.microsoft.com/
- Cornell University’s arXiv (open access sources in math, biology, physics, and other fields):http://arxiv.org/
- Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE): http://www.base-search.net/
- Your local library
With this summary, you should include:
- An introduction that provides the source information (book, journal, article, etc.) and offers the main idea of the information in the source. End the introduction with your thesis statement.
- Approximately three body paragraphs to summarize the beginning, the middle, and the ending of the piece.
- A conclusion that explains how this source helped you better understand your chosen research paper topic.
The guidelines and requirements for this assignment are as follows:
Remember to apply the concepts you’re learning in the course, including elements of grammar, punctuation, thesis development, and other skills.
Length: This piece should be approximately 1-2 double-spaced pages or 500 words.
Header: Include a header in the upper left-hand corner of your writing assignment with the following information:
- Your first and last name
- Course Title (Composition I)
- Assignment name (Summary Exercise)
- Current Date
- Last name and page number in upper-right corner of each page
- Double-spacing throughout
- Title, centered after heading
- Standard font (TimesNewRoman or Calibri)
- 1” margins on all sides
- MLA-style citations and Works Cited list for any sources used
- Save the file as .docx or .doc format
Underline your thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.