The goal of the responses are to help process course material and demonstrate mastery over core themes in urban geography. Responses should be more than simple summary of content from the course. Instead, a strong response will seek to expand, triangulate, interpret, contextualize or critique course material. A strong response will necessarily draw connections and links between major course themes and use research skills to demonstrate mastery over key themes and concepts. It is expected that students will conduct research to support their response. This includes drawing on relevant scholarly and popular sources outside of those assigned in the course.
Each response should be unique from each other, however, ideas can be developed across responses.
Reading responses are to be 1400-1600 word entries worth 25%. Responses are due according to the dates in the syllabus.
1400-1600 words. Only body text is counted towards the word count.
Engage with both lectures and readings
APA formatting for in-text and bibliographic entries
Basic style elements, including a title, date, author name, etc.
12 point font, double spaced
.doc or .pdf file-type
Grading Standards for Reading Responses
Papers are graded holistically. Teaching assistants will assess a submission on all of its merits, including the quality of the argument, engagement with sources, presentation and readability.
A range: Fully Satisfactory. The responses substantively reflect on assigned readings and materials. It summarizes the central claims and synthesizes the ideas into its core arguments. It evinces serious engagement with the material. Efforts are made to contextualize, triangulate, or critique ideas and themes through additional research and knowledge. There is research carried out to support the response. The writing is accessible, clear and thought provoking. The response is well presented with no spelling or grammatical errors, proper citation style, and professional appearance.
B range: Satisfactory. The entry shows an effort to engage and reflect on some or all of the assigned material. The response captures the core arguments of the material. The response may lack in original thinking or creativity. The response is readable, uses a proper citation format and is presentable. There is external research carried out.
C range: Adequate. The response describes and summarizes the assigned material. The response is mostly descriptive. There may be readability issues or other style problems, such as poor or incorrect citations. There is little or irrelevant external research used. Claims maybe poorly supported or spurious. Material is poorly cited. Writing is passive, wordy, overly verbose, or lacks flow and readability. Presentation is unprofessional missing basic elements.
D and F range: Marginal or inadequate. The response narrowly engages with the assignment material or not at all. The response might be incomplete. It might lack meaningful engagement, critical thought, or even a basic description of the material. The response uses an incorrect citation style or does not properly cite any course material. There are numerous grammatical and spelling errors. The material might be misinterpreted, misrepresented or poorly articulated relying on logical fallacies. Claims are spurious and unsupported. The document is missing basic presentation elements, including a title, date, name, bibliography, etc.
Be original, try to come up with new ideas and observations about these articles.
Avoid being overly descriptive. Make sure there is some type of argument.
The first paragraph is the most important and should structure the rest of the submission.
Have a title! “Response 1” is boring…
Use subheadings to add structure.
Think about connections between articles, lectures, and your personal knowledge.
Do you own research to triangulate or critique course material.
First-person writing should be used when writing personally.
Focus on simple, clear, and direct writing.
Avoid reproducing the academic jargon you might encounter in the article.
Demonstrate mastery by defining key terms, discussing the evolution of concepts and ideas, or by adding context to theories.
Paraphrase before quoting. Quote only when it is necessary. We want your voice.
A thoroughly cited paper is a simple way to demonstrate scholarly rigor and deep engagement.
A simple idea well communicated is better than a complex one poorly communicated.
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