Edelman’s “The Myth of Co-Parenting: How It Was Supposed to Be. How It Was.” and Bartels’s “My Problem with Her Anger

1. Edelman’s “The Myth of Co-Parenting: How It Was Supposed to Be. How It Was.” (283-290)
2. Bartels’s “My Problem with Her Anger” (291-297)

This writing task requires that you present the information from these sources accurately and briefly, a skill that you practiced with the summary-critique assignment.  This time, however, you will have to manage more than one source, and you will have to explain how they relate to each other.  The sources will clearly address the same topic, but they will present divergent opinions on it.  Your task is to inform the readers of your essay about these positions without favoring a particular one.  In fact, the idea is to remain neutral in order to truly understand and not misrepresent to the readers of your essay the message of the sources under consideration.  This is an important step in the research process; neglecting it will lead to misinformation and will undermine your credibility and integrity as a researcher.

Use a strategy to capture your reader’s attention and direct it toward the topic.  The purpose of your introduction is, naturally, to introduce your topic and, in this case, the authors and their articles (your “sources”).  Briefly summarize their divergent positions in relation to the topic, and then establish which subtopics you plan to discuss (this is your “essay map”).  The final sentence of this section may be your thesis statement, which states the reason for alerting your readers to the discussion that follows (your writing purpose).  Your thesis should not set out to prove that one article is better than the other.  Instead, you want to synthesize the material: show your readers how the two articles work together to reveal something overall. (Hint: Think about what you would lack if you had not read one of the two articles.) This should be the aim of the paper.

The Body
For each subtopic, paraphrase the authors’ views, giving each source equal time, space, and consideration.  Explain what reasoning and evidence each uses to support their view.  Remember that this is an explanatory synthesis, so your reporting should be as impartial as possible.  In other words, you’re not taking a side by suggesting one article is more effective.  Be sure to provide a clear topic sentence for each subtopic, and use transition markers to help you shift between the authors’ viewpoints and between subtopics (this will enhance your essay’s coherence).

The Conclusion
Write a conclusion that explains the significance of the topic. Use this opportunity to leave your reader with a lasting impression of your treatment of the topic and the skill with which you satisfied the task you set out for yourself in the introduction.  Avoid simply repeating your thesis and essay map, as this approach hardly communicates sophistication.

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