301.GIF (11484 bytes)

Instructor: Bruce Matsunaga
Class Line # 58498
Meets daily @ 7:40-9:20, ECG G319

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Assignment One: Evaluation of Professional Writing

Peer Review Draft Due: 6/2 F

Polish Draft Due: 6/5 M

Part One

    Hint: To speed up your library search, you may want to use the words "journal" or "serial" in your keyword search. For example, do a keyword search on "physical therapy journal," "mechanical engineering serial," "horse thief journal," or whatever your field is. This will call up all the files that contain these words in any combination, and should narrow your search down a lot.

Part Two

Your first assignment is to write an evaluation of a serial publication in your field, along with a brief summary of one article from one issue of that publication. Your challenge is to present the information contained in the publication in such a way that an uninformed reader (like myself... your resident uninformed reader...) can follow it.

Tell us about this publication, using the prompts from Part One:

Then tell us about the article you chose:

The reason we are starting with this "translation" assignment is so we can start becoming aware of the kinds of language, concepts, and ideas that are a fundamental part of our professions. We have to understand them, and we have to be able to communicate them to people who have no idea what our "code" is. As you write, especially the article summary, think about various informational strategies--graphics, glossaries, outlines, etc.--which may help to get the idea across. Some of us are better at interpreting visual information than written information; don’t be afraid to experiment with possible ways to present the information--but remember you’re audience. Make sure it is presented in the clearest and most effective way you know.

Some things to consider when writing up your evaluation and summary (this is a VERY loose list; if some of these questions don’t work for you exactly, then rephrase them or come up with different ones):

 1. Vocabulary. Go back to the words from the publication and the article that are specific to your field (technical terms, shortcut words, acronyms, etc.). What would be the best way to define them for your readers? Should you explain them within the text as you go? Or should you use a short glossary?

2. Purpose. What’s the ultimate aim of the article you chose? What is it intended to do? How does it fit into the overall purpose of the publication in which it appears? Does it merely make the reader aware of something? Does it offer instructions, or a new procedure, or new research? Is it a call to action? Does it speculate about anything, or is it straight reporting?

3. History/Background. Was this article written in response to something? Does it contradict previous thought or research? Or is it intended to reinforce those?

4. Basic Knowledge. What is the barest minimum of knowledge a reader would have to possess to comprehend this article, and the publication in which it appears? You may want to arrange this in the form of a list, to give yourself a rough checklist for "translating" the article, and to make sure you’ve given the readers what they need.