Childhood and social institution Week 6 Discussion
Instructions for writing "critical reviews."
A ‘critical review’ is not a book report. Reports summarize contents, critical reviews analyze them. To summarize is to repeat in a concise way; to analyze is to explain what a text means or why it is constructed in such a way.
Some students ask, ‘what am I looking for?’
Critical reviewers ‘look’ first to grasp the central argument of the book – its thesis and how it is developed and demonstrated.
Then they ask themselves these types of questions: Is this argument persuasive (why/why not)? Is it important (why/why not)? What assumptions drive this study? What are the implications of this study? Who is or should be its audience? What might be its limitations?
Critical reviews come in all shapes and sizes, but they all make a claim about the work. They do not simply repeat what the book says. Typically, strong reviews do some combination of the following.
(1) Sometimes critical reviews explain how arguments function by exposing their key terms or assumptions or ideas. When this happens, the reader of the review leaves with an enhanced or deeper understanding of the arguments within the work, rather than simply a re-statement of them.
(2) Sometimes critical reviews examine the consequences of holding an argument to be true by showing what is implied or at stake in the argument. This allows one to better understand the political or policy significance of the claims made in an essay. When this happens, the reader of the review gains a greater sense of the work’s significance.
You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.
Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.
Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.
The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.
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