SUMMARY-RESPONSE PAPER

A summary-response paper is just what it sounds like. You find an argument (choose a short one, if possible) and you briefly summarize...then respond.

The summary portion of your paper should be 1-2 well-developed paragraphs. In a summary, you should always remember to state the name of the article and the author, along with the main claim (the thesis) in the first sentence. The structure looks something like this:

In the New York Post editorial ["Name of Article"] {Name of Author] argues that [Main Claim of Article].

The remainder of the summary should be a highly condensed version of the article you are summarizing. You should choose the reasons and the evidence that you think are the most relevant and compelling to the argument and leave out the rest.

The response portion of the paper should also be 1-2 well-developed paragraphs where you respond to the author's main claim. Do you agree or disagree? Would you take a different approach to solving the problem? Do you even think there is a problem? The response can go a billion different ways because it's just that — your personal opinion about what you read.

That's it! Super simple. Try to keep it to one page.

 

SAMPLE SUMMARY:

 

A Summary of "National Security Justifies Censorship"  
by
Roger S. Thomas

 

Introduction

        The article "National Security Justifies Censorship" by Elmo R. Zumwalt and James G. Zumwalt, appears in Censorship, a book in the Opposing Viewpoints Series.  The article asserts that information that is secret and vital to the security of the nation should not be released to the press.

 

Summary

        Although many journalists contend that the First Amendment guarantees unrestricted printing freedom, the authors believe the press has gained more power than the framers of the Constitution foresaw, otherwise, they would have installed safeguards for national security. According to the authors, since the power of the media has escalated, several acts have been implemented to deal with the lack of protection regarding national security. Despite these acts, however, and even though significant risk exists when confidential information is released to the press, this danger remains unresolved by the courts. 

          The authors cite an example to prove this point. The CIA during the Reagan administration recognized Muhamar Quadaffi as a known terrorist and a potential threat to national security in a classified document.  The Washington Post somehow had the document disclosed to them, and they soon published the information. Several months after the operation had been abandoned, the CIA found Quadaffi responsible for the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque. Military action had to be taken because of the earlier release of the classified document. The operation incurred military casualties.

        The authors then offer a two-part solution: (1) make the publication of classified information a punishable offense, and (2) incorporate a "code of ethics" into media guidelines that safeguards national security, thereby placing the burden of discretion back on the media.

 

Conclusion

            Elmo R. Zumwalt and James G. Zumwalt assert that the media are overpowered and the national security is underprotected.  They believe that both the government and the media must take steps to assure a disaster does not occur.