Reading Response Instructions

Writing Responses to Readings Handout:

Understanding Technological Society, Humanities 201, Fall 2016, Prof. Edel         


The purpose of the reading response write-ups is both 1) to demonstrate your reading and engagement  with the material from the specific articles/readings, and 2) to document your understanding of the course concepts and approaches. Each reading assigned needs to be included in your commentary or response, and in general readings are intended to be connected by your thinking – so separating commentary on each reading is less appropriate than finding connections and writing about the readings together.  Similarly use of course concept from outside those readings, and references to other assigned or related articles you make are strongly encouraged.


Written responses to readings, whether required or extra credit, should conform to the following basic formatting requirements:

  • Typed and printed
  • Responses must include a title or clear explanation above the main text of the topic, this should include a citation (with author’s name at very least) for the readings responded to in your writing.
  • Name Must appear on each page, and pages numbered when multiple pages are included.
  • Use a standard typeface/Font such as Times, Arial or Calibri, in sizes 10-11 point
  • Do basic editing! This includes looking for content and typos, this should include running Spellchecker and grammar checker in the word processing program.
  • Note: do remember to keep copies of your responses in case they are lost.
  • Include citations for quotations, and for paraphrased or referenced ideas, and make sure that page numbers are included for direct citations. Citation format is flexible but should be consistent, and a list of works cited in your writing should be listed at the bottom of the text. (Note: MLA, Chicago, APA, or other systems of citation are all appropriate, for help with citations please see the writing center or library staff.)


Suggested questions and approaches to content  of the reading response writing:

  • How do the different articles relate? In what way are they different?
  • Do these articles cover similar ideas to other articles we’ve read?
  • How can these articles offer ideas that can be generalized to other cases?
  • Are these articles demonstrating particular perspectives, theories, critiques, biases, etc?
  • What is the most important argument from these articles, and how do you receive that argument?
  • What are the credentials or reasons for being authoritative/trustworthy of the authors, how do you evaluate them? [Note: this may require online searching.]
  • What aspects of society, and what aspects of technology, or how technology interacts with society does this article focus on?
  • How do we understand technology, and technological society, differently after reading these articles?

Note: It can be helpful to prepare for response writings by taking notes during your reading, or marking the articles as you go to note specific examples, or key arguments. Such notes make thinking and Citation easier.