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Critical Reading and Writing Assignment (Individual Assignment)
(Adapted from Analyzing a Primary Document Muskingum University)
This assignment will help the radiologic sciences student better prepare and produce an assignment using a scholarly peer-reviewed article. This assignment is divided into three sections: 1) critical reading, 2) writing guidelines, and 3) revision.
A primary source for this assignment must come from a peer-reviewed, scholarly article, published within the last five (5) years. The journal must be a creditable source of information. If you have concerns regarding finding a quality article, it is recommended you schedule an appointment with one of the professional Research Medical Librarians here at UT MD Anderson.
The topic of your article must be related to your program of study. For example: Radiation Therapy, Medical Dosimetry, Computed Tomography, Sonography, Education or Management
You do not need to submit your article for approval. However, articles from non-peer reviewed journals will not be given credit.
Your completed assignment must be a minimum of three (3) pages and no more than five (5) pages in length. This does not count the title page or the references page. Your completed assignment is due on the date listed in the syllabus and must be in APA format.
Your assignment may be graded by multiple faculty members. The grade you receive will be an average of the scores received. The grading rubric the faculty will be using to score your paper is provided at the end of this document. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with these grading criteria.
The following information may help you prepare your paper.
Since we all bring different assumptions and analytic skills, it is quite possible (and common) for individuals to draw opposing conclusions from the same source. There is no one right interpretation of any document.
However, there may be wrong interpretations! A convincing analysis of a primary source must be grounded in (1) an understanding of the document itself and (2) knowledge of its context.
Critical Reading
Critical reading is the starting point for good writing. You must understand the document and be able to critically assess its value. Critical reading requires you to evaluate the document on multiple levels.
Level 1: This level should provide factual information that allows you to assess the nature of the document. When reading a document or viewing an image, you should train yourself to be able to answer the following types of questions.
Who wrote the document? What was the authors background, what groups did the author belong to (e.g. class, race, gender, nationality, etc.)? When and where was the document written?
Who is the intended audience? Was the document intended for public consumption or a limited audience? What knowledge does the author assume the audience shares and how might that affect the presentation of materials?
What is the basic story line of the document? Do you understand what is going on in the document? Who are the important people or details? Can you identify the authors thesis, and what proof he/she offers to support the thesis?
Level 2: In this level, you will move beyond the basic facts of the document and begin to interpret the document in a wider context.
Why was the document written? Was it intended to convince the audience (that you have already identified) and if it was, what logic or argument does it employ? Are you convinced? What assumptions does the author make? Are these assumptions explicit or implicit? What does the author leave unsaid? Sometimes what not there may be just as revealing as what is there.
Level 3: By now you should understand the document and be able to interpret the authors intentions. Your ability to answer the following questions will form the heart of your essay or response to the assignment.
Can you believe this document? Is there another side to the story? What knowledge do you possess that the author lacks, ignores, or suppresses?
What can you learn about the society that produced this document? How is the author a product of his/her environment and how is this reflected in the document?
What does this document mean to me? Every document had meaning to the society that produced it and for you. Does the document mean the same thing to you as it did the authors audience? Can you account for similarities and differences? Are they significant? What information is relevant and what is irrelevant? Does the article make generalizations?