Primary Literature Analysis Assignment Instructions
The purpose of this assignment is to get you thinking critically about the secondary literature that you read and give you experience reading and analyzing primary literature. Often, we think anything we see in print is accurate but that may not always be the case. Taking a critical stance regarding the scholarship you read can help prevent you from relying on untrustworthy sources This also influences our own thoughts about the ideas we read about. I hope you find that critiquing somebody else’s work will not only help you to understand and appreciate that person’s work better but will also help you become a better critic of your own work (and, so, a better writer) as you become more sensitive to how others might see your writing.
For this analysis, you will have want a primary source article published in the last 15 years about biological anthropology to review. ” ‘Primary sources’ are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.” (https://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2011/10/what-makes-a-primary-source-a-primary-source/). This means that peer-reviewed articles, where an author describes their own research would be a primary source that is appropriate for this assignment.
The article analysis should be 3 pages long (if you go a little over that’s OK; if your assignment is shorter than 3 pages or much longer than 3 pages, you may lose points). Please use 1 inch margins, Times New Roman 12-point font and double spacing. You will submit your assignment though Canvas.
The appropriateness of the article you choose: (5 points)
Select an article of at least 500 words in length as the focus of the assignment. Note that Internet sites, books, and the textbook are NOT appropriate sources for this article.
Article is relevant to the course’s area of focus in anthropology, as demonstrated by clear statements in the student’s introduction to and analysis of the article. For example, a student in biological anthropology should not select an article about a comparison of marriage practices across cultures.
Bibliographic information: (5 points)
You can either make this the subtitle of your assignment or you can incorporate this information into the first sentence or two of the There is a no need for a separate works cited page (unless you cite other sources as well).
For journal articles (either in this format as a subtitle or include all of this information worked into a sentence): Last name, First (Year) “Title of Article” Title of Journal Volume (Number): page spread. (e.g. 3-15). You may use APA or MLA, just stay consistent! Check out the link to using APA citations: https://library.miracosta.edu/apa or MLA citations: https://library.miracosta.edu/mla
Student may use other sources in the completion of this paper, although this is not required. Any other sources used (if any) must also be cited, however!
A *BRIEF* summary of the article: (10 points)
You should summarize the main points the author
Make it clear what the author’s central argument
This summary is only to give the necessary background for the analysis you will give, not the main thrust of your You will be able to include more detailed information in the course of actually critiquing the article. Your summary shouldn’t take up more than a half page or so.
A detailed analysis of the article: (30 points)
This is the most important part of the review and where most of the points will be allocated so you should spend the most time
You need to show not only that you have read the article/chapter but that you have thought critically about its
When assessing the author’s argument, you might think about the following questions:
is the argument made clearly? does the author hide behind fancy rhetoric or does s/he lay out the argumentative steps in a way that is easy to understand?
does the author use appropriate evidence to support his/her argument?
does the author argue logically? are there steps missing in the chain of argumentation?
does the author support his/her opinions with clear explanations/appeals to evidence or is the reader expected to simply agree with him/her?
does the author’s view align with what you know about this topic/text?
what is the intended audience for the article, is the article pitched too high? too low?
does the author give sufficient background for his/her argument, for example, contextualizing what s/he says in relation to other scholarship on the subject?
is the article/chapter convincing? if so, why? if not, why not?
is the author’s position conventional? boring/safe? provocative? controversial? if controversial, does the author extend the conversation on this topic in a constructive way or does s/he go too far?
if you disagree with the author in any way, what changes would you propose? how would you improve on either the style or content of the chapter/article?
is this article/chapter useful for people studying this topic? why? how?
Obviously, you won’t have space to do ALL of Use these questions as a guide to the kinds of things that you should be discussing and not as a list of questions that must be answered.
Other things to consider:
How will you organize your analysis? Don’t just list ideas as they occur to you; the assignment should flow logically from one idea to the Chronological organization (presenting information in the order things are presented in the article itself) and thematic organizing (where each paragraph considers a different aspect of the argument: background, evidence, logic etc.) are both good approaches. There are other good approaches too; just make sure that you think about the most effective way to present your ideas. Remember that there should be a logical flow within each paragraph too. Don’t jump from topic to topic. Try to stick to one big idea per paragraph.
Keep in mind that there is no “right answer” when analyzing an An article review/analysis that is very positive can earn just as many points as one that is very critical and negative. The way to do well on this assignment is to offer a detailed analysis of the article/chapter by appealing to specific aspects of the article. As long as you can back up what you say with evidence from the article (examples either in the form of quotations or paraphrases/summaries; don’t forget to include references to relevant page numbers where appropriate), you are entitled to whatever opinion you may have of the author’s work.
Although you may include quotes be sure to have the majority of the paper be in your own words.
Please manage your time carefully and give yourself enough time to do a thorough job on this assignment. This means reading and taking notes on the article at least a week before the assignment is due, writing a point form outline for your review at least 4-5 days before the assignment is due and having a complete draft to edit/proofread at least the day before the assignment is This is the very fastest I expect you could work. Many students will find that they need to start earlier to have enough time to complete the assignment comfortably.
If you are unsure whether and article is appropriate for the assignment, email me your choice at least a week before the due date and I will give you feedback. Similarly, if you want feedback on your assignment before you submit it, email me your draft at least one week before the assignment is due and I will provide feedback.
Some sources to consider:
Google Scholar is a great way to find a topic you are interested in and then you can use the library resources to access the article.
I recommend searching through EBSCO (on our library website: https://www.lbcc.edu/library).
Proquest and JSTOR can also be great resources.
Primary Literature Analysis Assignment Instructions