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You will be required to write review essays three times during the term, with due dates specified on the syllabus. Please note that while your review essay may invoke themes from our class discussion, it should not be a cut-and-paste of your discussion posts. Work that repeats class discussions with little or no additional insight may receive a failing grade.

The goal of a review essay is to take stock of the assigned readings, by discussing and critiquing various arguments/sides about a phenomenon/issue area. Review essays should be about 4-6 double-spaced pages with paragraph structure, in-text citations, and a bibliography, not to mention correct grammar and spelling. Review essays (but not the grades or my comments) may be shared with the class and should be seen as a useful tool for preparing for more specialized MSIR courses and your comprehensive exams or capstone.  The essays should try to bring together the literature by finding common ideas as well as discussing the differences. This means I expect you to cite multiple readings from the course in each essay and to analyze rather than summarize. You are also highly encouraged to make connections between different weeks readings.

It is best to organize a review essay thematically, integrating your discussion of the readings rather than discussing each separately.  Thus, rather than simply outlining one authors argument in one paragraph, and a second authors argument in another, you should focus on ideas. A good tip for doing this is to look at question stems based on Blooms Taxonomy of learning. A review essay should focus on higher-order learning, especially questions about application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The question stems located under those categories here can provide a starting point for your essays: http://www.mandela.ac.za/cyberhunts/bloom.htm.

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