Book Review) Social policy and practice in Canada by Alvin Finkel

Students will be expected to submit a BOOK REVIEW with Course Commentary

EIGHT [8] PAGES/ DOUBLE SPACED / REGULAR FONT / MARGINS [more detail under FORMAT]



Writing a Book Review with Course Commentary



Immediately below, I have included a fairly extensive discussion concerning writing book reviews. For those students who remain in doubt  be sure to email or talk to me.

NOTE COURSE COMMENTARY feature. Within your review, you should discuss how the book  fits the course coverage. Are you better equipped to understand Canadian business and labour history after reading the book ? How ? This section should be about ONE full page (or equivalent  it is possible to  blend the commentary into the review. The bulk of your paper should be conventional review -but be sure to include the course commentary I am looking for skills in linking a specific work to the broader elements of the course. YOU WILL LOSE 5 % IF YOU NEGLECT TO PROVIDE SOME REASONABLE FORM OF COURSE COMMENTARY

Where to Start the REVIEW ?? *** These suggestions are NOT in a specific  order  they are elements common to most reviews, but can be blended in many, many different manners !!

First and foremost  read thoughtfully !

♦ read with the task in mind; don t just read  as fast as possible

♦ read with a questioning outlook : while reading, note the interesting, the confusing, the original and even the boring  your notations will provide the basis of your review

Once you are ready to start writing : remember  a review is NOT A SUMMARY

YOUR INTRODUCTION CAN SUMMARIZE THE BOOK, BUT NOT FOR MORE THAN 2/3 OF A PAGE



♦ You do not want merely to outline what the book  says

♦ NOR is a review an  essay on the topic covered in the book

♦ a review IS critical (positive and negative) of an author s work



Basic issues include : thesis, authority and overall effectiveness.



On Thesis :



♦ what is the author trying to argue; what is the point?

♦ How successful is the author in answering either descriptive questions like who, what, when, where, how and/or the more analytical issue of  why ?

♦ In short, what were the author s goals? Were they achieved?



On Authority :

♦ how many ideas and arguments does the book present?

♦ Of what quality?

♦ Are the ideas/arguments consistent?

♦ Does the research in support of these ideas seem credible?

♦ Is there enough? Are the ideas and information presented clearly?



On Perspective / bias :

♦ is the work tainted by a clear bias that ignores or understates evidence, thus favouring one perspective; or presents statements without sufficient evidentiary support?



On Originality :

♦ does the book contribute something quite new to the field? This issue can be difficult for students new to history, but remember -this is YOUR review -if you think the work original or predictable (or indeed fascinating or boring) -SAY SO !!

◆ Are they issues that might have been presented or steps that could have been made to improve the book ?



On  The Rest :

♦ other issues that MAY be worth discussing include (but are not limited to) format (does the book use photographs, statistics or tables, notes, bibliography, or index well?).

♦ Obviously, the quality of the writing itself (style / grammar / language usage) can also be commented upon.



Make it YOUR Review :

♦ Students, often lacking experience in writing reviews, may well read other related works or even other reviews; but remember, this is your opinion!!

♦ Having said that  it IS an academic review  just writing 8 pages that argue that you did not  like the book / it was boring WITHOUT establishing how & why will result in a poor grade

♦ It is NOT necessary to deal with every imaginable book review issue  if you feel that the index or the photographs or the covers are not relevant, focus on issues that you see as important. Just make your case.

♦ Remember that it is YOUR case !! Do NOT comply with the views of others if you feel otherwise. Be sure NOT to  borrow from others, whether in terms of content or the actual writing of the review -plagiarism is a VERY serious academic offense!



FINISHING UP : or HOW YOU WRITE also matters !!!

In sum, there are areas common to virtually all reviews; but each review also has narrower, more particular aspects. This combination, well written, should result in a good review



*** if a significant number of format or writing errors mar your paper,

there will be an AUTOMATIC MARK DEDUCTION

above and beyond the grade assigned for  writing quality ***



Format for Your Review :

♦ Cover page optional

♦ At START of paper (TOP first page)  Include (as title) :

i) Author(s) name(s) ii) Full title iii) city of publication / publisher / year / ISBN number

♦ number your pages // use regular spacing between paragraphs

♦ underline or italicize book titles, ships names, magazine or newspaper titles

♦ use BLOCK format for LONG quotes [single spaced / indented 5 spaces both sides]

♦ avoid contractions, slang  it is an academic paper

♦ no need for  headers in such a short paper

♦ to cite from the book being reviewed, you need only provide the page number immediately thereafter in brackets -for example -(123) [obviously, any materials from other sources requires a full citation  I will accept any standard citation technique]

♦ EIGHT [8] PAGES/ DOUBLE SPACED / REGULAR FONT / MARGINS  Please use  Times New Roman 12 font ;  Arial 12 font or the equivalent (excessively large font will be penalized.) For margins  1 inch/2.5 cm all around (sides/top/bottom) is appropriate. Leave only a double space between paragraphs, not a major gap. (Short papers will be penalized).

♦ NO plastic or other covers on the paper  JUST A STAPLE LEFT TOP CORNER





Take TIME to draft and edit carefully.

♦ check for spelling / grammar / sentence / paragraph technique

♦ try for clear rather than long, convoluted sentences

♦ one issue per paragraph / try for continuity between paragraphs

♦ in that vein (not vain)  be careful with:

♦ colloquialism  this is an academic paper

♦ than / then

♦ its (that is possessive !!) (No apostrophe)

♦ be careful with possessives in general

♦ there / their

♦ instead of the awkward  his/her try  their

♦ possessives and plural

♦ simple is not a synonym for simplistic

♦ relevant / relative are quite different terms

♦ someone.... who did something (not someone that did)

♦ bias/biased (the author has a bias / is biased)

♦ economic/economical

♦ compliment / complement

♦ they/them/their especially when misused as replacing he/him/his or she/her/her

♦ avoid misuse of  actual and  impacted

♦ avoid redundancy

♦ books have illustrations, photographs.... not  visuals

♦ one s interest is  piqued by something unusual (peaked is different)

♦ read is not a noun ie. there are no  good reads

♦  this and  these generally need a noun following

♦ do not overuse  for the reader or other phrases with  the reader

♦ avoid verbose forms like  of the fact that  almost always only need  that

♦ use the author s SURNAME

♦ political parties get upper case / political philosophy lower

♦ these books are NOT novels !

♦

Book Review) Social policy and practice in Canada by Alvin Finkel

This is a book review. Your introduction can summarize the book, but not for more than 2/3 of a page. (Please include the answer to this–Are you better equipped to understand Canadian business and labour history after reading the book? How? This section should be about one full page)
-Please critisize(positive and negaitve) of an authors work. Please do not merely to outline what the book Says”

-Basic issues include: thesis, authority and overall effectiveness.
On Thesis: -What is the author trying to argue; what is the point? How successful is the author in answering either descriptive questions like who, what, when, where, how and/or the more analytical issue of Why”? In short, what were the authors goals? Were they achieved?
On Authority: how many ideas and arguments does the book present?of what quality? are the ideas/arguments consistent?does the research in support of these ideas seem credible? is there enough? are the ideas and information presented clearly?