CS 7976: Assignment 1: Critiquing a Published Paper

Out: Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Due: MONDAY, September 16, 2019

In my welcome email, I had said: In preparation for our initial meeting, I would like you to choose a paper in your field that you found particularly confusing or poorly-written, and bring two copies with you to class on September 4.

In-Class Preparation

Take that paper, and mark one passage (preferably a paragraph or a few paragraphs) that you found especially confusing, distracting, or otherwise annoying.

When you are done, mark that passage in both copies of the paper, and hand the second copy to the person on your left.


For this assignment, I want you to critique both papers. For each paper:

  1. Start with the passage that's marked. Can you identify places where the passage violates any of the principles of sentence and paragraph construction that are listed in the sources on the seminar home page, or the things we discussed in class?
  2. Can you identify one or more passages-- sentences, paragraphs, or sections-- that communicate to you effectively? What makes them effective? Can you see how they differ from the passage you marked as ineffective?
  3. Then zoom out to the paper as a whole. You may not be familiar enough with the topic to understand it in detail, but that's OK. Pretend you've wandered into the wrong conference session :). Does the paper state clearly what it's about, and what is its contribution? Please note that Peyton-Jones's suggestion for how to organize a paper is NOT the only way to organize a paper. Other subfields have different expectations about how a paper should be organized.

This assignment is due on MONDAY, September 16. Please send me both papers as pdfs and your critique, as a text file.

On Wednesday, September 18, I plan to show some of the passages you highlighted, and let the rest of the class critique them.

Last modified: Wed Sep 4 17:38:43 Eastern Daylight Time 2019