Each student in SOC 345 has the option of writing two "Critiques" over the course of the semester.


ASSIGNMENT: Each critique is based on one of the optional readings which appear under one of the topics on the reading list. You may only critique an article on the particular topic due at that time, not on any earlier or later topic. You may not do more than one critique on a given topic (i.e. that are due on the same date). Topic G, Arbitration Variations, is the last topic on which critiques may be written. Once the due date for a particular topic has passed, you may no longer submit a critique of any article appearing under that topic. Please choose the articles you critique carefully. Some articles on the reading list are quite brief (only two pages or so) and will not provide enough material for a good critique. Every student choosing the critique writing option must complete at least one critque by March 22 (i.e. must write at least one critique on a topic with due date of March 22 or earlier). Students choosing the critique option must write two critiques over the course of the semester.

STYLE: Critiques must be typed, double-spaced, with a 1 1/2 inch margin on the left side. Please use arial 12 point font. Two to three pages is the prescribed length with an additional blank page attached at the back and a title page at the front that includes the title of the article being critiqued but DOES NOT include your name. Critiques which exceed this length will not be accepted. Quotations, ideas which are not your own, and facts which are not common knowledge must be given full citations (including page numbers) so that the reader can distinguish between the thoughts of the student and the thoughts of the author the student is critiquing. Please see the format and style section of the course home page and make sure that your work conforms to that style. Papers with improper citations will be returned to the student for correction with a 20% reduction in grade. Critiques must be submitted on paper and also e-mailed to the instructor as an attachment in Microsoft Word format. That attachment should have a name consisting of your last name, your first initial, a dash, then 345crit followed by a number which reflects the number of the critique assignment. Thus if I were doing the fourth critique assignment (the one on mediation), the file would be named donnc-345crit4.

CONTENT: Each critique must discuss four issues. First, what is the central hypothesis of the article or what is the principal question which it examines? Second, what methodology does the author use to test the hypothesis or examine the issue? For this purpose, using graphs is not a methodology, it is a means of presentation. Nor is using data a methodology. The methodology consists of how the data are analyzed. Third, do you agree with the author's conclusions and why or why not? Fourth, identify a different (preferably better) way to test the same hypothesis or answer the same question.? For purposes of this issue, increasing the sample size or getting a more recent sample do not constitute alternative methods of answering the question. On the last two points, you must explain the reasons for your conclusions.

EVALUATION: Critiques are evaluated on the basis of their style, their coverage of the topic, and their use of logic and creativity in fashioning an answer. Creativity is particularly important. The critiques will not be "right" or "wrong." They only show more (or less) understanding of the reading being critiqued, they are more (or less) logical and they are more (or less) original. See the critique rubric for more information on how critiques will be evaluated.

DUE DATES: Critiques are due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS on the appropriate date, which is approximately one week after we finish dealing with that topic in class. The due dates will be listed on the course home page. LATE CRITIQUES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you are uncertain as to when a particular set of critiques will be due, check with the instructor. At least one critique must be submitted by March 22.

EXAMPLES: There are two links here to critiques submitted in previous semesters. This first critique received a grade of "C." The second critque, which was better written and showed both a more thoughtful analysis and a more thoughtful alternative methodology, received an "A."



Critique Due Date

B. Origin and Nature of Conflict

February 11

C. Interpersonal Communication

February 25

D. Negotiation and Problem Solving

March 22

E. Mediation

April 14

F. Arbitration

April 21

G. Arbitration Variations

April 28