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They Say / I Say: Writing a Summary & Response

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Jamie Buehler

on 15 September 2014

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Transcript of They Say / I Say: Writing a Summary & Response

Start with the They Say
Some authors refuse to summarize. Some rely too heavily on summary. Your job is to find a BALANCE in your essays (30).

A summary must be true to what the original author says, but it must also emphasize the points that most interest you, the writer (31).
Essay #1 requirements
Give your essay a beginning (Intro paragraph w/ thesis)
Summarize one of four readings (Macrorie, Lamott, Tan, Adichie)
Respond & join the conversation
Give your essay an ending (Conclusion)
"Starting w/ What Others Are Saying"
"What we suggest, then, is that as soon as possible you state your own position and the one it's responding to TOGETHER, and that you think of the two as a unit" (21)

"Give your readers a quick preview of what is motivating your argument" (21)
Play the believing game in order to avoid writing biased summaries (32)
BUT give your summaries a "slant" or "spin" that anticipates your response & "prepares the way for your own claims" (37)
Example: Summarizing Macrorie, Tan
"Disagreeing means more than adding 'not' to what someone else has said" (58)

You call out authors for "faulty or incomplete evidence," overlooking part of the issue, etc. (59)
"I Say": Three Ways to Respond & Distinguishing What You Say from They Say
"The best interpretations take strong stands" (58)
They Say / I Say: Writing a Summary & Response
Introductory Paragraph
Start with the conversation: what issue are you & the author going to respond to in the essay?
Where does the author stand? Where do you stand? (the claim)
Other openings? pg 22
"Do more than simply echo views you agree with...add something that makes you a valuable participant in the conversation" (61)

Point out new evidence, "cite corroborating personal experience," and so on (62)
Full transcript