When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. MLA Modern Language Association style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.
Scholarship Strengths and weaknesses Later you may decide to omit some of these points.
Their order may be changed, with more important or striking matters appearing first. Usually the descriptive section appears first in non-fiction reviews, especially in scholarly journals. All these organizational decisions are subjective and can be revised as needed.
While reading the book, take notes of the passages and their page numbers that relate to how you can describe and evaluate the work. If you question whether or not to take a particular note, remember that it would be wiser to err on the side of having too many, rather than too few.
You can always eliminate notes that appear unnecessary. Points of description Information about the author may appear on the book jacket or may be obtained or inferred from what is written in the preface. Biographical sources such as the Biography Center in the GaleNet database will help you find this information.
It need not be much, perhaps just a sentence; at most, it might consist of a short paragraph. Background information about a book consists of the historical, sociological, economic, scientific or other circumstances that may have influenced or contributed to its publication.
The thesis or central idea of the book will probably be stated in the introduction or the conclusion.
To gain an overview of the book that will help you realize its purpose and main ideas, read the preface and the introductory and concluding chapters first. The organization of non-fiction depends partly on what kind of non-fiction it is-philosophy? History, for example, might be organized either chronologically or around central issues.
Look at the table of contents and, as you read, refer back to it. Because so much depends on your audience, the summary may be one of the most difficult parts of the review to write. Are you writing only for your instructor who has probably already read, or is familiar with, the book? Are you writing for your classmates who have not read it?
Or are you writing for other people who are not in the course and are therefore unfamiliar with the subject?
Your instructor can tell you what audience the paper should address. Then you will be able to judge how thorough your summary should be and whether or not terms should be defined and points explained in detail. Points of evaluation At the same time that you gather information to describe the work, you should be thinking about your evaluation of it.
Read a few other reviews of this book to inform your own opinion—what points did other reviewers address? Were professional reviewers unanimous in their evaluations, or did their opinions differ?
Of course, any ideas or quotations obtained from these reviews should be attributed to their owners in your paper. To consult published reviews of the book, ask the reference librarian to help you find an appropriate index, or check an online database.The Purdue University Online Writing Lab serves writers from around the world and the Purdue University Writing Lab helps writers on Purdue's campus.
Automatic works cited and bibliography formatting for MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian citation styles.
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