Criteria for Summary/Response Essay (Kiefer)

Purpose - Unlike the summaries that focus solely on representing other writers' arguments, the summary/response paper allows you to build on a summary with a response to it. The response might analyze the logic of the original essay, or it might argue for or against the position of the original essay. Even if you choose to analyze the logic of the original essay in your response, realize that you must make a case for your analysis, in effect arguing that your analysis is a good one. The purpose of this essay, then, is to build on a summary with an argument of your own.

Audience - Please assume that you are writing for readers not familiar with the original essay you summarize and respond to because your audiences for the essays in Portfolio 2 will not be limited to this class. If possible, please specify a target audience for your s/r essay. (Note the audience in pencil at the top of the first page of the final draft.)

Focus - The most effective s/r essays, like all effective arguing essays, narrow the focus to a manageable size. Even if the essay you are responding to cuts a wide swath through environmentalism, your essay will be more effective if you focus on one or two key points in the original essay. Be sure to select key points from the original essay rather than minor points. In other words, your focus is limited by the focus of the original essay.

Organization - Typically, these essays follow one of two patterns: block or point-by-point. The block pattern has a block of summary, your thesis or claim as a bridge, and then a block of response. Within the response, be sure the arrangement of your points is clear and easy to follow. The point-by-point pattern has a general introduction, a point of summary followed by your response on that point, the next point of summary followed by your response on that point, and so on.

Development - Each of your points must be developed with examples, details, facts, statistics, quotations, etc. You need evidence! Or you might analyze the original argument through a careful chain of reasoning. Please remember, though, that general statements are usually unconvincing; readers expect specific support.

Coherence - Use appropriate author tags and transitions to mark the summary as a summary, and continue to use clear transitions throughout your response so that your argument flows smoothly for readers.