The précis assignment is designed to compel you to research early and often for your topic. It is both a pre-writing and a drafting exercise. Your questions should help you to craft a thesis and begin to support an argument.
You will ask yourself SIX questions about your topic that you think need answering and exploring. You will then find three source that best answer THREE of those questions. You will read the sources, summarize them, and discuss how you would apply them in a position/research essay on your topic.
Use the library databases or scholarly websites or VETTED news sites to find an article or book or multimedia piece that may help answer the question (you will need to experiment with different search terms and databases.
After choosing your articles, complete the following three parts for each source:
Your Precis should have three parts.
1. Introduction: Your specific research question and search terms/search engine or database used.
2. Summary and Works cited entry (MLA format). Summarize author’s key concepts and main ideas. (Title, author, main idea)
3. Conclusion: Why is this article important/significant? How does it answer the posed question? What other questions (knots) does the article raise? What direction would it take an argument toward?
“A précis should be brief. In fact, one of the challenges of writing a précis is finding ways to write as concisely as possible without oversimplifying the argument you are summarizing.”
My topic: Evaluation essay on The Walking Dead
Question: Is The Walking Dead too violent for television?
Search Engine used: Academic Search Complete.
Search terms: The Walking Dead AND violence
Works Cited entry followed by summary and analysis in MLA format. See Rules for Writers, your text, or easybib.