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African American & African Studies
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Working with Research Papers (Peer Response Activity)

What is this tool? This tool promotes early organization of ideas for research papers.

Why might you find this tool useful? Small group work can promote accountability and foster fruitful conversations that encourages a deeper engagement with individual research topics. Such an activity may also signal to student elements that can be strengthened with more reflection, drafting, and research before research deadlines.

Set-up (instructor notes): This tool is most effective when used over the span of three (3) class sessions.

Session 1: The Claim

  • Does the claim clearly call for action? Is the proposal as clear and specific as possible?
  • Is the proposal too sweeping?
  • Does it need to be qualified? If so, how?
  • Does the proposal clearly address the problem it intends to solve, if not, how could the connection be strengthened?
  • Is the claim likely to get the audience to act rather than just to agree? If not, how could it be revised to do so?

Session 2: Evidence

  • Is enough evidence provided to the audience to support the proposal? If not, what kind of additional evidence is needed?
  • Does any of the evidence provided seem inappropriate or ineffective? Why?
  • Are any objections readers might have to the claim or evidence adequately addressed?
  • Are all quotations introduced with appropriate signal phrases ("As Putnam argues," "Robertson states, " or "According to Walters")?

Session 3: Organization and Style

  • How are the parts of the argument organized?
  • Are more transitions words or phrases needed to make clearer the connections among the claim, supporting reasons, and evidence?