Summarizing Source Material

8 Questions to Help You Get to the Bottom of a Writer’s Main Ideas

  1. How would you characterise the writer’s tone and style?
  2. In what way might the writer’s points develop, refine, or refute your own understanding of the subject or text?
  3. In what way does the writer contribute to the wider field of study?
  4. If you could ask the writer one question about his or her argument, what would it be?
  5. What is one specific direction for your own future research that the article suggests to you?
  6. Which elements of the writer’s argument do you tend to agree with, or find especially interesting, surprising, or unique?
  7. Which elements of the writer’s argument do you tend to disagree with, or see in slightly different ways?
  8. How would you summarise the argument posed by the writer? (Try to articulate this in one sentence.)

 

This post is based upon teaching materials I developed while teaching at the University of Leeds.

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