Tips on Writing Your Reviews Part II

After this week of grading I thought I’d post some thoughts on how to improve your reviews some. You can read JR’s helpful tips here. Re-read what he’s written it’s all helpful and that way I won’t repeat him.

  • Many of you have done a really quick summary of topics covered in Karkkainen’s without giving any specific examples of the pertinent information, ideas or themes discussed in the book. So to say, “he covered numberous traditions like Catholicisim, Free Church, Eastern Orthodox and the Lutheran Church,” is fine but you can get that from the table of contents. Be more specific about a couple key concepts from each section, stuff that when you look back on the review in 6 months will help you in developing an argument about something. Something that’s memorable, useful or really unique and innovative.  Further, if those key concepts you pull out pertain to your overall missional project all the better. Then while you are doing your reflection you can point to those parts of the book that you’ve already written about.
  • Remember discussing your project is a required part of the review.
  • And about the project – many of you are coming up with some great questions – “what tradition does my current ministry context come from, what are advantages and disadvantages of this tradition?” But you need to go above and beyond these question by using the book to try and come up with some solid answers. This will help you shape or re-shape your project, and will give you content for what you’re looking into. So you’re looking for answers, content, ideas and themes from these books that will help you in your context – questions are a good starting point but we want you to go beyond that now.
  • Also as a part of academic writing it’s really important a) edit your posts and spell check everything and b) to give page references when writing about ideas from another source. This will help you stay close to the text, get specific and will keep you honest in what the real ideas of the book are. This is really, really important to keep in mind.

Overall – you are all working very hard and doing a great job, we can see that. We want to help spur you on to really good stuff, so take these ideas as a way to improve in your writing and thinking about these matters.

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