English 111 Module 5 Assignment: Summary and Evaluation
In this assignment you will do the following:
Write a summary of a non-fiction essay. Write an evaluation of a non-fiction essay.
This assignment requires you to use a more formal mode of writing than in your compare/contrast essay. Therefore your language choice, or diction, needs to reflect the academic nature of this assignment. See your textbook for guidelines on using formal English in your writing.
The summary should be between 350–450 words, whereas the evaluation should be between 100–150 words. Thus, the total length of this assignment should fall between 450 and 600 words. Going dramatically above or below these limits will negatively affect your grade. Because brevity and clarity are extremely important in summary writing, you should review 15d, “Being Concise and Avoiding Wordiness,” which can be found on pages 169–172 in Forms of Writing.
The first paragraph of your summary must clearly state all the following information: the title and writer of the essay; the essay’s original place of publication; the essay’s subject, thesis, purpose, method of development, (causal analysis/narrative), and its evidence. For hints on how to succinctly include all this information in one short paragraph, see the excellent sample student summary on “Starving for the Gold” in Module 5.
The subsequent paragraphs of your summary, probably two to three, will summarize the main points of the essay. Make sure that you point to the author frequently, either by name or by the words author, writer, and so on, to clarify that you are summarizing the work of another. In these paragraphs, you must include ONE but not more than TWO short quotes (1–2 lines) to demonstrate the writer’s style as well as your understanding of both integrating/introducing quotes and parenthetical citation format.
In the evaluation, don’t give personal opinion; clearly state, using concrete reasoning and examples, the essay’s strengths and weaknesses.
Choose one of the essays from the instructor’s essay choices, below, and write a summary and evaluation of it according to the guidelines above.
For referencing direct quotations from the essay that are longer than three words, give page references in parentheses.
Skip two lines between the body of the summary and evaluation.
How Your Assignment Will be Graded
Your summary will be graded on its content and the quality of its paraphrasing and its prose. In particular, your instructor will be looking for the following things in your writing: clarity, concision, and correctness (in grammar, punctuation, style, and APA or MLA format). When paraphrasing, or putting the original content in your own words, remember to completely change the words, phrasing, and sentence structure of the original. Inadequate paraphrasing can be construed as plagiarism. Also, because a summary should be objective and without opinion, avoid slanted language and choose your words very carefully. Please see the below grading guide.
• “How We Listen to Music” (442)
• “Can TV Improve Us?” (527)
IMPORTANT NOTE ON WRITING THE SUMMARY:
Many students find this assignment very difficult, especially if they leave it until the last minute. Be advised that to successfully write a summary, you need to read your article at least three times or more, depending on the article’s difficulty, take careful notes, and write several drafts. Your initial draft of the summary may, in fact, be either too long or too short; remember that summaries are usually rewritten and revised several times.