How to approach a critical essay — for teaching graduate students

DEH: Z and I have both been thinking about how we teach our graduate students. Here are the beginnings of a reading/discussion assignment I will try out. I don’t yet know what essay I’ll use, but I want to ask these questions:

Learning to approach a critical essay

As you read, use a different color to highlight each of the following:

→argument (logical inferences, grounds, warrants, examples)
→new information
→theoretical concepts

What signals help you to identify these different threads of an essay?

How does the author deploy new information?

Are there places where you could disagree with the argument?  On what grounds?

What theoretical concepts does the author assume you understand?   How could you find out more about them?  List some resources you might use.

How does the author use theoretical concepts?

How do argument, information, and theory work together and influence each other?

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