To complement my existing instructions on How to Write an Outline, I have added an Article Outline Example. By keeping the outline to just the top two levels, this document outlines Wells’s article in just a page and a half.
The New York Times reports on a study arguing that Supreme Court justices fail to read amicus briefs with sufficient attention to the sources they cite.
In a 2011 decision about the privacy rights of scientists who worked on government space programs, Justice Alito cited an amicus brief to show that more than 88 percent of American companies perform background checks on their workers.
“Where this number comes from is a mystery,” Professor Larsen wrote. “It is asserted in the brief without citation.”
In a 2012 decision allowing strip searches of people arrested for even minor offenses as they are admitted to jail, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy cited an amicus brief to show that there are an “increasing number of gang members” entering the nation’s prisons and jails. The brief itself did little more than assert that “there is no doubt” this was so.
Liptak, Adam. “Seeking Facts, Justices Settle for What Briefs Tell Them.” New York Times, September 1, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/us/politics/the-dubious-sources-of-some-supreme-court-facts.html.
Note: I did not read the original study. But I’d like to think that Professor Larsen is less obviously partial than the authors of amicus briefs.
I have posted a new page, “How to Write an Outline.”
An outline should organize a long work into smaller sections and highlight the major findings of a body of research.
A nice weighing of alternatives:
In the Road Runner cartoons, the Coyote’s real antagonist isn’t the Road Runner. It’s the desert landscape and, you know, the ACME Corporation, who are conspiring to make his life miserable.
Eric Molinsky, quoted in “Noble Effort,” 99% Invisible: A Tiny Radio Show about Design with Roman Mars, August 2013 (7:26).
See “A Thesis Statement Template.”
In preparation for my summer graduate seminar, I’ve posted a page on “How to Use Examples to Evaluate Scholarship.” Comments appreciated.
Thesis Statements: History
UCLA’s advice on thesis statements for history papers.
I have tweaked my Examples of Critical Reading, listing “the source is advancing an unstated agenda” in place of “the source is advancing an agenda.” I encourage students to look for messages not explicitly stated, but I fear that “hidden agenda” is too loaded a term.
I recently finished listening to the unabridged audiobook version of The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left by Landon R. Y. Storrs. Not only was the book informative and persuasive, but it may herald a new kind of audiobook offering.
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