Reflection on Capsules and Sources (5%)
Formal reflection, one page or more, double spaced, written in formal academic style, that
addresses the following three questions. You may focus on some of the questions more than the
others but be sure to address all three.
1. What are the important differences between the three kinds of supplementary texts
(context, theory, criticism), and how can one use them effectively to write analytical essays
or other kinds of English writing more generally?
2. What are the uses and limitations of â€œcapsulesâ€ as a technique for essay writing?
3. Consider the specific uses, reliability, quality, and authority of the criticism capsule you
found independently. First, discuss what kind of supplementary source it is (hopefully
criticism), and discuss whether it is a primary, secondary, or tertiary source. Discuss when
the essay writer would want to use the source and, just as importantly, when one would not
want to use the source. You may also discuss when one might use the source as a negative
example to clarify what the essay writer does not wish to address or develop.
Academic style, grammatical correctness, precision, clarity are key aspects of the evaluation
Reminder about the intention behind using capsules as the basic modular building block of research
The idea of the capsule is to create reusable, modular paragraphs that introduce useful
supplementary sources, which you can easily slot into future writing assignments without much
tweaking or revision. Any future use of a capsule will always require additional â€œconnective tissueâ€
to link the generalized focus of a capsule to the specifics of an assignment you are working on. To
make your capsules maximally useful, keep your discussion of the supplementary text and your
engagement with it sufficiently broad and generalized to maximize its portability and the number of
different situations where it can be applied. Make sure that you first explain the ideas/arguments
of the text on its own terms. When you are first introducing a text to your reader, give it a chance to
breathe on its own, so it can be evaluated in relative isolation, without moving too swiftly into
specific cases or your own take.
Avoid treating the engagement section as a diary of your impressions/experience reading the text.
Instead, work on translating those personal reactions into neutral, scholarly points of analysis or critiques
of the text that arenâ€™t explicitly tied in your writing to your specific perspective (even if they did occur to
you because of your perspective). In the capsulesâ€”even in the engagement sectionâ€”references to
yourself (I, me, we, etc.) are inappropriate for the format.