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Outliers Writing Assignment with Research: Deepen your understanding through analyzing a primary source.

Outliers Writing Assignment with Research: Deepen your understanding through analyzing a primary source.
Paper details

Overview
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is written for the popular press and is not considered an “academic” book. Even so, Galdwell’s theories are inspired by his reading of academic research studies, journal articles, books, and reports. In short, while he does not pursue primary research himself, he depends on the research of others to shape his ideas. For Essay 5, you will examine primary research Gladwell used and consider how his interpretation of a key term or unique reading of a particular study influenced and directed the ideas in Outliers. You may discover that Gladwell has brilliantly reshaped a difficult academic argument into something more accessible to the general reading public. Or you may find that Gladwell has taken a minor point from a journal article and made it the major thesis of one of his chapters. You may even uncover a misreading or troubling reinterpretation of the original research. In addition to looking at the pimary research cited by Gladwell, you should bring in outside sources from the last ten years (all written after he completed researching Outliers). Deepen your understanding through analyzing a primary source.
Select one of the authors or research studies that Gladwell uses to develop his argument. Summarize the primary source; include a description of the research study design and results. Then use the skills learned in the evaluation unit to examine and assess how Gladwell uses the study in his book. What does he underscore? What does he leave out? Do you see critical information that would have helped or hurt his argument? And finally, bring in other outside sources: What research has appeared since the publication of Outliers? How might the new work reshape or reaffirm the ideas in Gladwell’s book?
Try to select a study that is academic (most choices are) and fairly recent (1990 to the present would be ideal, but in the case of a couple chapters that isn’t an option). All the sources are cited in the “Notes” to each chapter (pp. 287-296). I’m limiting this option to chapters we read together as a class.
Some studies to consider:
Ch. 1: the age effect in sports (several articles from which to choose; Bedard and Dhuey is the most recent)
Ch. 2: the 10,000 hour rule (Ericsson)
Ch. 5: the ethnic myth (Steinberg)
Ch. 7: the application of Hofstede’s Dimensions to pilots (Helmreich and Merritt, 2000); also possibly Helmreich (1994) or Sohn (1993)
Ch. 8: how culture influences mathematics (Dehaene); Chinese and Russian proverbs (Arkush); TIMSS predictors, revised 2002 (Boe et al.); Japanese education (Blinco)
Ch. 9: impact of No Child Left Behind (Tough); impact of summer vacation (Alexander et al.); the case for more school (Barrett). The research component is a requirement for this essay. You must use eight outside sources, citing these sources properly in your essay using MLA style. At least one of the eight must be a primary source used by Gladwell, but you may use as many as four as long as you locate and read them yourself. The last page of your paper will consist of a “Works Cited” page that lists each source accurately (and includes Outliers, too, of course – so nine citations total).

Outliers Writing Assignment with Research: Deepen your understanding through analyzing a primary source.

Outliers Writing Assignment with Research: Deepen your understanding through analyzing a primary source.
Paper details

Overview
Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers is written for the popular press and is not considered an “academic” book. Even so, Galdwell’s theories are inspired by his reading of academic research studies, journal articles, books, and reports. In short, while he does not pursue primary research himself, he depends on the research of others to shape his ideas. For Essay 5, you will examine primary research Gladwell used and consider how his interpretation of a key term or unique reading of a particular study influenced and directed the ideas in Outliers. You may discover that Gladwell has brilliantly reshaped a difficult academic argument into something more accessible to the general reading public. Or you may find that Gladwell has taken a minor point from a journal article and made it the major thesis of one of his chapters. You may even uncover a misreading or troubling reinterpretation of the original research. In addition to looking at the pimary research cited by Gladwell, you should bring in outside sources from the last ten years (all written after he completed researching Outliers). Deepen your understanding through analyzing a primary source.

Select one of the authors or research studies that Gladwell uses to develop his argument. Summarize the primary source; include a description of the research study design and results. Then use the skills learned in the evaluation unit to examine and assess how Gladwell uses the study in his book. What does he underscore? What does he leave out? Do you see critical information that would have helped or hurt his argument? And finally, bring in other outside sources: What research has appeared since the publication of Outliers? How might the new work reshape or reaffirm the ideas in Gladwell’s book?
Try to select a study that is academic (most choices are) and fairly recent (1990 to the present would be ideal, but in the case of a couple chapters that isn’t an option). All the sources are cited in the “Notes” to each chapter (pp. 287-296). I’m limiting this option to chapters we read together as a class.
Some studies to consider:
Ch. 1: the age effect in sports (several articles from which to choose; Bedard and Dhuey is the most recent)
Ch. 2: the 10,000 hour rule (Ericsson)
Ch. 5: the ethnic myth (Steinberg)
Ch. 7: the application of Hofstede’s Dimensions to pilots (Helmreich and Merritt, 2000); also possibly Helmreich (1994) or Sohn (1993)
Ch. 8: how culture influences mathematics (Dehaene); Chinese and Russian proverbs (Arkush); TIMSS predictors, revised 2002 (Boe et al.); Japanese education (Blinco)
Ch. 9: impact of No Child Left Behind (Tough); impact of summer vacation (Alexander et al.); the case for more school (Barrett). The research component is a requirement for this essay. You must use eight outside sources, citing these sources properly in your essay using MLA style. At least one of the eight must be a primary source used by Gladwell, but you may use as many as four as long as you locate and read them yourself. The last page of your paper will consist of a “Works Cited” page that lists each source accurately (and includes Outliers, too, of course – so nine citations total).

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