My BS Agribusiness Economics junior students will be writing works based on their previous papers submitted in their major courses. That means we can concentrate on the writing part; and that means I don't have to worry about the research protocols that may be unique to their discipline.
For their first exercise, I asked them to choose a scientific books they used in their previous studies. I limited their choice, however, to monographs and trade books. Scientific books may be classified into four types: (1) textbooks; (2) references like specialized encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks, etc.; (3) monographs or specialized texts written by scientists for other scientists; and (4) trade books or those "that are sold primarily through the book trade" (Day, 1998).
Having chosen a monograph or trade book, I asked them to analyze the readers the text addresses. While textbooks are meant for student readers and reference books may range from a general to specialized audiences, monographs are generally written for a specialized group of readers. On the other hand, trade books on agribusiness economics may include a general audience interested in the field but may also be valuable to specialists.
I reminded the students that their book reviews should do the following: (1) report on a book's contents and its treatment; (2) present an argument (the student's take on the book) and not just a summary; and (3) critically evaluate the book's contents and treatment for prospective readers.
I told my students to follow the book review format: (1) imprint information (book title, author, place of publication, publisher, year of publication, and number of pages), written after the title and separated from the body text; (2) introduction; (3) summary of contents; (4) analysis and evaluation of the book; and (5) the conclusion.
I gave my students the following tips before writing their book review:
Then in writing their book review:
After writing drafts of their book reviews, I asked my students to peer-edit each other's works. ✍
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