Academic Journal Summary Help

Academic Journal Summary and Analysis Assignment Directions


Academic writing is a conversation. In any academic discipline, you will encounter this. When you approach a topic, you are entering a discussion among scholars, and your research should reflect where your contribution fits within that conversation. You will select a work of literature and write an essay that presents the work of a peer-reviewed critical article about that work. A peer-reviewed article is published in a professional academic journal, and it has gone through an editorial process in which scholars evaluate the article’s quality before publishing it.

Notice how scholars use close reading of a text to help readers understand points. We are going to really dig into this with the other essay on close reading. Academic Journal Summary Help

First, read this chapter from the book They Say/I Say, called “What’s Motivating This Writer?” (Click to download) Download called “What’s Motivating This Writer?” (Click to download) to more fully understand the link between the “they say” and “I say” moves in the article you pick.


    To engage academic discourse
    To understand scholarly arguments and how writers position ideas (“they say”)
    To respond to writers/thinkers in an academic context (“I say”)
    To practice MLA citation and quotation


Introduction: Your introduction must name the title and author of the work that you are studying and introduce the purpose of the essay. How does the source amplify your understanding of the literary text? In other words, what kind of conversation is this scholar having on the topic, and how do you gauge the quality of the argument?

Summary: In the second paragraph, briefly summarize the author’s argument. Give the reader a sense of the whole text and a clear and fair understanding of the argument. Be careful here not to let your summary get too long. 8-10 sentences is enough.

The Conversation: How does the writer set up the conversation on this text/topic? What has been said before about this topic? Who is discussed or quoted? Where is there agreement or disagreement or silence? How is the author setting up his/her argument in comparison to what others have said before? Academic Journal Summary Help

Narrow and Focus on a few critical points in the argument: Quote and paraphrase from the literary text and the critical article. Help the reader understand the major moves the writer makes in his/her argument. How does the writer “prove” his/her ideas are true? Look closely at a few examples to show the reader how the writer argues key ideas and backs them up with evidence. Keep in mind that there are different kinds of evidence:

            Textual: the writer points back to the original primary source and uses quotes directly from the work.
            Expert: the writer quotes another expert in the field and quotes from previously published books and articles.
            Academic research: the writer researches historical documents, texts, language, culture, art, etc. to pull into the argument.

As a part of your work looking carefully at these moments, you can point out what is working well, what could use more work or clarification, or parts where you think the argument does not work.

Forecast: What questions/ideas stem from your reading of the article? What new ideas or research would you do to create your own essay? Use your reading of the story and the journal article to help you push into new questions/ideas. Academic Journal Summary Help

Final Assessment and Conclusion: Discuss your reaction and assessment of the article, being very specific to details you see in the article. If you liked it, showcase how the article opened up your understanding of the story. If you didn’t like it, suggest points that the author should have considered. Did the author fail to quote any relevant passages from the primary text, or would you have included any textual evidence in the essay that was not present?

Texts for this assignment: Articles are posted as PDFs in this Module. You can pick which one you want to work with, but you must use only one of the four posted.

Academic Journal Summary Help


    4 full pages, double spaced (+) MLA Works Cited page
    One primary (the literary text) and one secondary source (journal article)
    MLA-style formatting and documentation, 8th/9th edition
    11 or 12-pt. plain font, 1" margins

Writing Resources:

        They Say/I Say (Links to an external site.):

This is a great resource for introducing quotations and finding useful templates to pull your ideas together. Academic Journal Summary Help

I specifically recommend Parts I and II and the first two chapters of part III for this paper.

        Purdue OWL's MLA Handbook  (Links to an external site.)

        Collin College Writing Center (Links to an external site.)

For Academic Journal Summary Help please click here

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