Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing Summaries

This weeks reading focuses on writing summaries. Swales & Feak say that we typically write summaries about conversations we have, lectures we attend, or about the things we read.
People write summaries for many reasons but they are typically for future reference.
A University student will create a summary in order to prepare for an exam. They need to memorize certain information so they need to summarize it to become familiar with it and make it digestible. They made also need to create a summary for a class discussion. Plus, they may need to summarize in order to create a term paper, a research paper, or a thesis. We are all preparing to do a thesis so that is the area that interests us the most.
A public summary is a display for others of your understanding of some material. We will all be making our summaries public as we share them with each other.
The authors provide an example summary that is fairly straight forward since it is dealing with factual material. It focuses on the agricultural revolution in Egypt and how that has affected the land and population. Since the 1800's the population has grown and people have migrated to the cities. In 1800 the population was 2.5 million, 1900 it was 9.7 million, in 1940 it was 18.8 million, 1970 it was 37 million, 1984 it was 46 million, and in 2000 it was 65 million. Currently Russia has 140 million people. Egypt is projected to have a higher population than Russia by the year 2050.
After examining the factual passage about Egypt, the authors then look at an argumentative passage about patents. This passage is harder to summarize because the writers of it have a specific agenda. They want to convince the reader of a certain way of thinking. There is a passage about 'patents' and a passage about 'reducing air pollution.' A lot of ideas are shared to try and make the arguments convincing.
The authors warn against plagiarizing other people's work. We should all respect other author's work and acknowledge them when used or cited.
Another type of summary are the Comparative Summaries. Comparative Summaries require you to analyze and use information from two or more sources rather than one. It may not be an objective representation of the original sources. Relevant material is required for this task. Humor is the topic that is picked as an example for Comparative Summaries.
Thus, the final task is a comparative summary about humor. Wilson (1979) and Ziv (1984) discuss humor and we are to compare and contrast the two authors view. An example comparative summary is provided.
Wilson feels that humor reflects the social hierarchy. Those in a higher social position mock or ridicule those in a lower social position. Merely being outside a group can make someone an object of ridicule. Therefore we go out of our way to try and fit in.
Ziv sees the social function of humor as one of control and maintaining or establishing rapport. Joking is a way to establish social order.
Both the authors see humor as an important tool in our communication arsenal. However, Wilson offers a lot more specifics.
I hope you enjoyed the unit about writing summaries. Especially since we will all be doing a lot of that in the near future. Take care. Cheers, Chad

No comments:

Post a Comment