• Debates tend to organize info into a 0-sum game: either I’m right or you’re right
• They aim for convincing rather than analyzing.
• Instead of “which is better, X or Y?” ask yourself:
o What can I truthfully say about X or Y? How can X or Y be accomplished?
What are the causes of X or Y?
Ideas vs. Opinions
• Opinions are definitive; they stifle both debate and analysis.
• Ideas are flexible.
• They tend to be generated by carefully pondered questions.
• So…. Not “Which is better: cats or dogs?”
• But: “What kind of pet would best suit my friend?”
• Ideas:An unexpected question; a puzzling observation; an anomaly you have
noticed; the exploration of an implicit question.
What is a Summary?
• Summary: an abridged version of the text that highlights its main points. Summaries
tend to give readers a good idea of what to expect in the work they are about to read.
How To Write a Good Summary:
• Separate the essential from the inessential. What are the ideas your text absolutely
cannot do without?
• Get rid of redundancy. Do not repeat yourself!
• Decide what is the main idea of the text and lead with it in your topic sentence.
• Do not editorialize! Asummary is not an interpretation.
• Paraphrase and acknowledge!Although summaries rarely include citations, be sure
to acknowledge them if you use them.
• Be brief! Asummary rarely exceeds 200 - 250 words.
• Be suspicious of your first