In this assignment, you will research and summarize two articles on media violence: one that you think your opponent would find most convincing; and another that you personally find most convincing. You’ll also get to explore whether you have an easier time being neutral when you agree or disagree with what you are summarizing.
You will get a chance to respond to both articles, but it is important that you separate your summary from your response: In other words, you need to represent both articles fairly and neutrally before you respond to them.
Finally, for this assignment you will practice in-text citations, signal phrases, and create Works Cited page entries.
Suggested length: three paragraphs of approximately 600 words total.
To do this assignment, complete the following steps:
1. Review the MLA Lesson offered earlier this week.
2. Identify a likely opponent.
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To do that read the list of “imaginary friends”
Marla is a 74 year-old woman, long divorced, who has been politically active in feminist and peace movements. A motivated self-learner, Marla did not attend college because she married young and was busy raising her children. She is an atheist, a breast cancer survivor, and an avid reader who does not own a television. She has three children and five grandchildren. Until her retirement, she worked as a secretary for a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to low-income renters.
Juan is a 51 year-old, married father of two teenage sons. He owns a small but successful chain of local restaurants. He drives a Hummer and owns a large house in an upscale suburb, and he runs and works out at a gym several times a week. He is a veteran of Desert Storm, the 1991 U.S. invasion of Iraq. He used the GI bill to complete his AA degree in business. He is also an avid hiker and skier who loves the outdoors. In the last election, he voted Republican.
Anna is a 19 year-old student at Montgomery College. She is a devout Christian and was homeschooled until she began college at MC. Prior to moving to Montgomery County, she lived in a rural area of Virginia where most people own guns to protect against wildlife, and she never visited a large city until she was fifteen. Her older brother graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Environmental Science and now works for the National Park Service. For the past three years, she has volunteered at a recreation center for at-risk inner-city youths.
Bear is a 34 year-old single woman who was raised on a communal organic farm but who followed her love of technology into the computer industry after earning a B.S. in computer science. Because she entered the field before the dot-com boom, her stock options made her extremely wealthy, and she has invested wisely. She started as a video game programmer and rapidly went through a series of promotions until she began her current position as a lobbyist for her corporation. Lately, however, Bear has begun to question the materialism of her life and is considering leaving her job to become a high school math teacher near where she grew up.
Lou is 24 years old, single, and a Peace Corps volunteer. After high school, he tried one semester of college, but, although he got fairly good grades, he decided it wasn’t for him. He means to go back eventually, but so far he hasn’t. His current philosophy of life is to have as much fun as possible and worry about the future as little as possible. He pays little attention to politics and has never voted, even though he is eligible. Through the Peace Corps, he has worked in several developing countries. He maintains long-distance friendships and family relationships through Facebook and Skype, and he enjoys playing video games.
Choose an imaginary friend who will likely have the position on violence in media that is opposite of yours. You may rely on the earlier Discussion assignment, or you may choose a different opponent.
3. Use a database to locate an article on violence in media that represents a position of your opponent.
Follow the Library Resources link on your course navigation panel. Use one of the databases or search engines recommended on the Research Help page, for example Opposing Viewpoints in Context, to locate the article.
4. Summarize the article.
Remember that a summary needs to be objective, so, even though the article you are summarizing disagrees with your own opinion, you still need to explain what it says in a neutral, unbiased way. Don’t forget to include signal phrases (“Miley writes that…” or “Macklin defends the view that…”) to make it clear to readers that you are giving an author’s opinion, not your own. You can download this worksheet
to get you started and then develop your summary to 7-10 sentences. For additional help with summary writing, see pages 329-331 in your textbook.
5. Find an article that represents your own point of view on media violence and summarize it in a second well-developed paragraph. Again, stay objective.
6. In the third paragraph, explain which of the two articles in your opinion has more effective argumentation and why.
Be wary of your bias – we tend to find the argument we agree with more convincing than an argument defending a position we disagree with. Is your opinion of the article effectiveness influenced by your bias, or do you find the argumentation (structure, evidence, appeals, etc) objectively stronger? You can also comment on the weaknesses of another article that explain why you did not find it effective. In the same paragraph, briefly explain which of the two articles you had a harder time writing objectively about.
7. Review your summaries for unintentional plagiarism.
Review videos on MLA in-text citations and Works Cited (MLA Lesson) and MLA pages in the textbook – Chapter 10. Look for missing signal phrases or citations, missing quotes, or a paraphrase that is too close to the original text. Also, compare your own in-text citations to the examples (in the videos, tutorials, and the textbook) to be sure the in-text formatting is correct.
8. For the two articles you summarized, create a Works Cited page that follows the guidelines in the MLA Works Cited video and in Chapter 10 of Practical Argument.