Required Work

[Updated Sept. 20, 2013]

Attendance and participation are required in this course. Together these account for 20 percent of your grade.

Reaction papers

Added Sept. 20, 2013:

  • Double-space all papers.
  • Place each URL in-line with the text, at the place where you first refer to that resource. Do not put URLs at the end of the paper.
  • Choose only outside resources that you have actually read, completely. If you link a very long academic article, I will expect you to have read the whole thing.
  • A long or academic resource is NOT necessary. A credible resource IS required. Blogs can be very credible, but you need to do some verification to make sure. Often, reading the “About” page of the blog will give you enough evidence.
  • You must read the book. People who have read the assigned chapters definitely write differently from those who have not. If you have in fact read the assigned chapters, you really don’t need to worry about this.

Original text (not updated after August):

Five papers are assigned. Four are required. That means you can submit all five, and your lowest grade will be dropped. Or you can skip one paper, and your grade will not be affected.

Please note that no late work will be accepted. If a paper is submitted late, it will not be graded.

Each of the four papers accounts for 20 percent of your grade (4 x 20 = 80 percent).

The due date for each paper is on the Course Schedule page. You will be reminded of the due date during the class preceding that date.

Every reaction paper is due on a Monday at 10 a.m.

Technical requirements for each reaction paper

The word count is 300 to 600 words. If the text of the paper (not including title, student name, date, etc.) is less than 300 or more than 600 words, points will be deducted.

Correct American English spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar are required. Points may be deducted, or a rewrite may be required, if this requirement is not met. Note that a rewrite is at the discretion of the instructor.

The paper must be submitted in UF’s E Learning system.

The paper must be a MS Word document file, which will be uploaded by the student to E Learning.

The filename of the document must follow this format: your UF username and the number of the reaction paper. For example, if I submitted reaction paper 2, the filename would be: mmcadams2.docx (my UF username is mmcadams).

  • The reason for this: I will download all the files, and if yours is named incorrectly, it could get lost.

Any URLs included in the paper must be complete and correct.

  • A complete URL includes http:// or (in some cases) https://
  • A complete URL points directly at the page containing the content, such as an article or blog post. It does not point to the home page or a search page.
  • Points will be deducted for any URLs that are not complete or not correct, so double-check each URL by copying it from your document and pasting it into a new browser tab to open it.
  • NO WIKIPEDIA LINKS are permitted.

Content requirements for each reaction paper

The general requirement is stated on the Course Schedule page — that is, the section of the book to be covered by that paper. So paper 1 covers section 1; paper 2 covers section 2, etc. The book has five sections.

If you skip paper 2 (section 2), for example, DO NOT write about section 2 in your next paper (which is paper 3). Paper 3 must cover section 3, and so on.

Do not try to summarize the chapters in the book. That is pointless.

Do not quote (or paraphrase) excessively from the book. What is excessive? More than one sentence per 200 words. Points will be deducted for excessive quoting or paraphrasing.

THE PURPOSE OF THE REACTION PAPER is for you to express clearly your reaction(s) to the section of the book assigned for that paper. You may react to the section as a whole, but that is not necessary.

NOTE 1: You must react to at least two specific cases or assertions within the assigned book section.

NOTE 2: For each case, you must include the relevant page number(s) in the MacKinnon book. It is assumed you are reading the paperback edition. If not, indicate which edition you have (e.g. hardcover, Kindle).

NOTE 3: For each case or assertion, you must include one URL of a credible source of information that supplements, or expands on, or possibly contradicts, what was said in the book — the part you’re reacting to. You must also explain why the information at that URL is relevant.

Here are examples of specific cases:

It is expected that you will learn some new things from reading the book. What is your reaction to one of those things? Choose something that was new to you, or unexpected. Here’s an opportunity for you to seek out more information about that new thing. Find a good source of additional information, include that URL in your paper, and explain why it was of value to you.

Possibly you will disagree with the author’s assertions or assessments. What is your reaction to the thing you disagree with? In this case, you should search for a reliable source of information that backs up your position, your grounds for disagreement. Include the URL of that source and explain how it supports your disagreement with the book. (It’s possible that you might find yourself shifting to agreement with the author as you search. If so, make that part of your reaction.)

You might choose a case or assertion that is not new to you — instead, it’s something you feel passionately about. You might feel the author has stated something that you strongly support or believe. What is your reaction to the author’s presentation? In such a case, search for a credible source that expands on what the author said, and include that URL — make sure it’s not a source she already included in her notes at the back of the book!

You are free to use two cases to which you have different reactions, or two to which you have the same reaction. You may also include more than two cases if you can stay within the word limit.

Suggested process for deciding what to write about

As you read the book, when you find yourself feeling: (a) surprised or thinking “I didn’t know that!” (b) skeptical or disagreeing,  or (c) strongly agreeing — make a mark in the margin to indicate that this topic might be what you want to write about.

This technique is different from underlining stuff that might be on a test. You should not have a large number of margin marks in any chapter!

While the chapter is still fresh in your mind, go back and look at what you marked. Double-mark the parts that still seem interesting.

Make a few notes about your thoughts.

Do an online search for supporting information.

Don’t write your complete reaction until after the class discussion about the chapter. The discussion might give you some new ideas or information.

After the class, decide whether you will write about anything you marked in that chapter.


If you have any questions, please write it as a comment below. Your question will not appear until I approve it. I will automatically receive an email alerting me to your question, but I might not be able to approve or answer it immediately.


23 thoughts on “Required Work

  1. Why would we be using the open web if we are only supposed to be writing about the information in the book? Also, does that mean we don’t do any in-text citations? Just a bibliography page at the end? Thanks.

  2. Can we use personal pronouns? Also, do want us to have a bibliography at the end? If so, what format would you like it to be in?

  3. Personal pronouns (I, me, my, us, our, etc.) are totally okay.

    A bibliography is not necessary. When you use a page number in the text of your paper, I will assume it refers to MacKinnon, our only book. You shouldn’t need to refer to any other books; I’m expecting your links to go to Web pages. (I will open the links and check the validity of your source.)

  4. One more question, is this reaction paper supposed to be a formalized essay with an intro and thesis, body paragraph(s), and a concluding paragraph? Or can it just be one long paragraph? Thank you!

  5. Your links should be inline with the text because you are referring to each one separately. Otherwise, how will I know which link is for which part of your reaction?

    Yes, the characters of the links are included.

  6. No writing as long as this should ever be a single paragraph. My goodness, no.

    You are writing two different ideas, so you need at least two paragraphs.

    No intro. No conclusion. Just what has been asked for.

  7. Can I compare two different nations who have similar policies or do you prefer that the two paragraphs be unrelated?

  8. If the two countries are in separate sections in the book (under separate subheadings, even if in the same chapter), then yes. Otherwise, no, because in that MacKinnon would be talking about the same thing.

  9. Are we allowed to use a source that MacKinnon uses in the book if we say something from that source that MacKinnon doesn’t mention? For example, she cites a website, but I’ve read some interesting statistics from that website that she doesn’t mention.

  10. (Adding on to my previous question:) If the TED Talk video is an acceptable outside source and I’m only referring to a portion of it, should I include the beginning and end times of the part I’m talking about?

  11. Pearl Hanna, Katina Prokos – I apologize, I changed the blog settings and did not get an email to tell me you had posted questions here about paper 2. I have fixed the settings now, so I won’t miss questions in the future.

    1. It is acceptable to use a source that MacKinnon mentioned in the book if you add something SUBSTANTIAL that she has not said in the book. The point of the linked resource is for you to learn something new from it, and really I would prefer that you search for and find your own, instead of using something MacKinnon gave you.

    2. The same applies to Freedom House — they have a huge website with lots of things I have not shown in class. You would have to write about something new that I did not show.

    3. A TED Talk video is always an acceptable source — TED Talks are great! You need to watch the entire video if you are going to use it as a source. Do not link to it if you have not watched it.

    4. Ideally you will always include the starting time point to let the reader know where in the video the speaker mentions what you have written about.

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