Short Essay #3: Applying a Theoretical Approach to Primary Material
Religious Studies 2001 – Introduction to World Religions
- Purpose of the Assignment
In this third writing assignment you are asked to summarize a theorist’s argument (Williams), interpret ‘primary’ material (Sojourner Truth’s speech) in light of this theorist’s ideas, and respond to the material stating what you see as the importance of the theory and primary text.
This assignment includes three steps.
Step one: summarize Williams’ argument as presented by your instructor and in the reading. Summarize their ideas by presenting them in your own words and incorporating at least one direct quotation.
Step two: using Williams’ ideas, interpret either Truth’s speech. In other words, what would Williams say is the significance of Truth’s interpretation of Eve? Make sure you are interpreting the text from Williams’ perspective, not your own!
Step three: finally! We want to hear from you. Respond to the article and speech by telling us what you think is important about the theory and speech. What issues are brought up and what consequences are at stake?
- General Requirements & Deadlines
- Length: 500-700 words
- Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, etc., (i.e., well-written).
- Response paper must include properly cited direct and indirect quotations (one each minimum).
*Be sure the quoted material you include contributes to your summary. Ask yourself:
Does the quotation support your summary of the author’s argument or thesis? Does the
quotation support or explain one of the author’s main supporting points?
- Two Pitfalls to Avoid
- You should first summarize and then apply the theorists to the sermon/speech before including your own evaluation of the theorist at the end of your paper.
Summarize = describe another person’s argument, thoughts in your own words
Interpret = describe how the data makes sense, is meaningful from a specific perspective
Evaluate = describe your own response to that argument
- Do NOT consult any sources beyond the assigned reading as you write this essay! Students who have done this frequently end up doing poorly on the assignment because they include information not included in the Rels 2001 Reader selection. In addition, consulting outside sources often leads to plagiarism – don’t risk it!
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