Reading Report

Reading Report Instructions

Any in-depth understanding of difficult topics requires the ability to interact with a written text.  In recent years, researchers have noted that, for a variety of reasons, college students often find it difficult to understand what they are reading (see Etkina & Ehrenfield, Bioscience, July 2000).  Consequences of this seem to include a decrease in students actually doing assigned reading and, of those who are reading, an increasing number unable to extract significant details.  To try to surmount some of these problems, to provide some rapid feedback on levels of understanding and, it is hoped, to perhaps spark some interest in important and challenging topics in the biological sciences, a series of “reading reports” will be a part of this semester’s assignments.

Each reading report is to be a response to the following guidelines:

  1. Part 1: do either
    1. A one-page summary of the main point(s)/logical progression of the thesis of the author.
  1. The emphasis here is on a clear description of author’s main points and the development of their argument(s). Note: You may find that you need more than one page for this summary.
  2. DO NOT use direct quotes. They are very rarely used in scientific writing. All information should be paraphrased to the best of your ability.
  • Use an in-text citation in APA format – e.g., at the end of the first sentence where you refer to the reading, place this notation:

… end of sentence (Author’s last name, year of publication).

    1. A mind-map
  1. Create a box for each main idea, with arrows linking boxes appropriately
  2. For each box, summarize the pertinent details with a few descriptive bullet points or branches
  3. Part 2: In the next section (an additional full page in length), address the points listed below (in paragraph format). In each case, provide clear examples to support all your assertions to the positive or negative.
  4. the major strength(s) of the reading,
  5. the major weakness(es) of the reading,
  6. your overall opinion/evaluation, and
  7. why you think this reading was assigned. (In other words, how is the reading connected to the broader themes of the course?)
  1. At the end of the report, produce a Reference page (on a separate page – in Word, use a hard page break – ctrl + enter) with the reference of the reading in APA format.  (The word References centered at the top of the page – no bold, no underline, followed by the reference in hanging indent format.)

All reports are to be typed, double-spaced (leaving room for my comments), with one-inch margins, and 12-point Times New Roman. “One page” is defined as an entire page of written text minus any titles, headings, page numbers, etc.  Submit the paper to the Moodle dropbox at the start of class on the due date.

As the schedule calls for discussion of these papers on the due date, you are encouraged to bring a duplicate copy for use in class.  Also, since the paper is the topic of class the day it is due, late papers will not be accepted.  Late papers miss the point of the assignment (preparation for class) and will be unduly shaped post hoc by the discussion.


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