Assignment: Descriptive And Evaluative Summary

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Assignment: Descriptive And Evaluative Summary

Assignment: Descriptive And Evaluative Summary


The critique should include both a descriptive and evaluative summary. The descriptive summary will present an overview of the purpose, research questions, methodology (where applicable), findings, and research/policy recommendations presented in the article.  The evaluative summary will critique research and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the article. The critique will also explain how the article relates to topics/issues related to race, ethnicity, gender and administration of justice studied in the course. Specific references to course readings and the article are required. Use APA reference format for in-text references and the list of references at the end of the critique.

This assignment will include a title page and contain 3-5 double-spaced pages (exclude the title and reference pages from the page count)


Suggested JAC Assignment Organization:

Title Page, Header (w/Last name & Page #s)

▫ Do not worry about the page number appearing in the header on the title page – I’m still figuring that out myself.


Descriptive Summary

Evaluative Summary

Explanation of Relation to Course Material



Having selected the material to include in your summary, you must then decide whether your summary will be informative or descriptive.  Informative summaries adopt the tone of the original full text, simply presenting the information it contains in shorter form.  Descriptive summaries adopt a more distant perspective, describing the original text rather than directly presenting the information it contains.

An informative summary of the Declaration of Independence might begin as follows:

  • When people declare themselves independent of their political ties, they should give reasons.  Governments are formed to protect equality and rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If government does not do this, people can change the government.

descriptive summary of the same passage might begin as follows:

  • Jefferson opens the Declaration of Independence by stating that a country declaring independence needs to give its reasons.  He goes on to discuss the purposes of government in protecting individual rights and the legitimacy of change if government does not live up to its obligations.

Note that the informative summary does not mention the author or title of the piece but rather gets right down to the content.  Thus it can present more information more compactly and more precisely.  To convey the content of a source, informative summaries are preferable to descriptive summaries.  In addition, when research material is simply reported for its factual content, as in a synthesis paper, the informative summary is used.

On the other hand, descriptive summaries give a more nearly complete picture of the structure of the original.  They also establish a certain distance between the writer of the summary and the writer of the original piece.  This sense of objectivity is useful whenever the summarized material is to be analyzed, evaluated, or otherwise discussed.  For critical or evaluative purposes, descriptive summaries are preferable.  Hence descriptive summaries should be used in book reviews, in essays of analysis, and in other essays discussing a text.

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