PROJECT FOUR: Scholarly Article Review – 25 points; due 10/01


Instructions: Write at least a three page, double-spaced review. Add a bibliography page.

  • Create a Word Document. Label it: Last Name, SR Essay. Submit it to your assignment folder when completed. At the top of the page, place your name, date, and Review of Scholarly Article.
  • Select ONE scholarly secondary source journal article from the Required Reading List for Weeks Five through Eight. (Note: not encyclopedia articles.)
  • Read the article several times. Learn the topic by reading the other material in that week’s lessons. You will want to refer to those readings (primary and secondary sources, including a lecture if available).
  • Place the complete bibliographic reference for the scholarly journal article, including page numbers, as your title. Here is an example:

deGraaf, Lawrence B. “Race, Sex, and Region: Black Women in the American West, 1850-1920.” Pacific Historical Review, 49, 2 (May 1980): 285-313.

Questions to Ask and Answer When Reading a Journal Article:

  • Who is the author? What are his/her scholarly credentials and qualifications? What else has he/she written on the topic? If you need help, ask the UMUC librarian.
  • What is the purpose of the article? Be able to describe its purpose in two succinct sentences. “This article explores the role of African American women in the Trans-Mississippi West from 1850 to 1920. It examines the relationship among race, sex, and place in order to [answer this part of the question. . . ].
  • What is the author’s central argument? Does he/she set forth a particular theory? If so, be able to explain it in three clear sentences.
  • What evidence — the primary and secondary resources — does the author employ to develop his/her argument (or thesis)? Be able to describe them. Would it be wise to check one or two of the sources? Do the examples (statistics, charts, case notes) support the author’s argument?
  • From reading the other sources for the week, how does the author’s work fit into the general scholarship? Analyze this. (In your written review, you may wish to reference other reading on the topic you have completed.)
  • How well does the author advance our knowledge of the subject?
  • How clear is the author’s writing?

When writing the review:

  • Create an introductory statement about the article to set the direction for your paper. If you can develop a thesis, that will enhance your essay.
  • Identify the article and describe its purpose.
  • Identify the author and explain his/her credentials.
  • Write a summary of the argument and evidence (at least 1.5 full pages). If the author advances a new theory or a particular point of view, explain that here also. Remember to describe the author’s source material.
  • Select two or three key issues and write a critical analysis of them based upon your knowledge of the material.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes your thesis and assesses the author’s contribution. Do not add any new information in the conclusion.
  • Include a separate bibliography of primary and secondary sources consulted.
  • Use footnotes placed at the bottom of each page.

Grading Rubric for Scholarly Article Review Essay

The grading scale based upon 25 points is: A=25-23; B=22-20; C=19-18; D=17-15; F=14 or below.

To earn an A or 25-23 points:

The student writes a strong, analytical essay that demonstrates a clear thesis and a solid understanding of the article and historical context, effective and consistent use of one or more primary sources and two or more secondary sources. The essay offers an original interpretation. The structure and organization of the essay contributes to the effectiveness of the argument. Footnotes are used correctly; the bibliography is accurate. Sentences are well-constructed, with clear transitions between paragraphs. Spelling and grammar are excellent.

To earn a B or 22-20 points:

The student writes a clear thesis, however, the essay is more descriptive than analytical. The essay demonstrates an understanding of the article and historical context. The interpretation is not original, but clearly expressed. The essay shows a consistent and effective use of one primary source and two secondary sources. The organization is mostly logical, but could use improvement. Sources for footnotes and bibliography are generally correct. The sentences and transitions are mostly well-constructed. Spelling and grammar may contain a few errors.

To earn a C or 19-18 points:

The student’s thesis is only descriptive and the interpretation is weak. There are errors in the description of the article and in the historical context. The essay only incorporates one primary source and one secondary source. The organization needs improving. Sentences are often unclear; word choice is often poor. There are errors in footnote and bibliographical citations. Grammar, sentence structure, and spelling need improvement.

To earn a D or 17-15 points:

The thesis is unclear and the essay describes the article inaccurately. The essay evidences a lack of understanding of the historical context. The essay only incorporates one secondary source. The organization is poor; sentences are unclear; word choice is poor. Sources for the footnote and bibliography are cited incorrectly. Grammar, sentence structure, and spelling are below standard.

To earn a F or 14 points or below:

The essay lacks a thesis, shows no interpretation, and demonstrates a misunderstanding of the article and the historical context. No primary or secondary sources are used. The organization is illogical; sentences are often unintelligible. Few, if any citations are given. The essay is missing a bibliography. Grammar, sentence structure, and spelling are far below standard.

No late papers will be accepted unless there is an extreme emergency and proper documentation is provided.

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