This paper should be a précis. A précis is a summary of an article or book. It is not anexpresson of your opinion about the work at hand. The précis is a precise condensation of thebasic thesis and major points of the article or book. A précis answers the questions: “what isthis work saying?”, “how is it saying it?”, and “what insight does it offer?” The goal is to preserve the essence of the work clearly and concisely.
There will be one file provided.Levack, Brian P. “The Social Context.” The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe. Second Edition. New York: Longman, 1995. 125-159.This should the only source used for this precis. No other outside sources.Here are some basic things to keep in mind:The goal of a précis is to communicate the main thesis and the major points in the most succinct form.Identify the overall thesis of the source and those points that are directly involved in demonstrating that thesis; that is, distinguish secondary information from primary points. Remember: at this level, arguments are usually composite. You must be able to identify the “pyramid” of argumentation.With that in mind, always ask yourself two questions:Is this a major point of the source, one that is directly related to the main thesis?How do I state the point in the most direct and simple way?4. Omit nothing from the essential argument.At a minimum, the précis should include the topic or main thesis, what methods were used, what results (or insight) were gained, and a conclusion. A simple way to organize the précis would be to state clearly:This is what was studied (argued, discussed).This is how it was done (this was the focus, approach, methodology).This is what was learned.This is what it means (why it is important).Do not forget to include brief descriptions of key terms (that is, do not assume that your audience has prior knowledge of the material at hand).
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