wr1 academic summary and response

Since our course theme revolves around the question of whether or not we control our own destinies, we begin with a survey of articles about the topic. The following four articles weigh in on the central question from different perspectives. This assignment asks you to summarize one article from the unit, and then write a response. Please read the prompt and directions carefully before you complete the assignment.

Unit Texts

  • Gregory Clark’s “Your Ancestors, Your Fate” (The New York Times)
  • Eddy Niahmas’ “Why We Have Free Will” (Scientific American)
  • Stephen Cave’s “There’s No Such Thing as Free Will” (The Atlantic)
  • Adam Alter’s “Where We Are Shapes Who We Are” (The New York Times)

Note: Unit texts are available as PDFs on Module Week 1


  1. Write a 1-2 paragraph academic summary of ONE of the unit texts above (your choice), following the WHAT/HOW/WHY format outlined in the unit lesson and worksheet.
  2. Write a 2-3 paragraph response to the following question: After reading and considering the articles above, do you believe we have free will? Explain why or why not.
    • Integrate paraphrased material and/or direct quotes from TWO additional articles in our unit, other than the one you summarized, to support your argument(s).
    • Connect to a personal example or experience that illustrates your argument(s).

Important Guidelines

  • The academic summary and response should be separate and distinguishable from one another because they are assessed according to different criteria.
  • The prompt asks for you to summarize one article, and then paraphrase or quote from two additional articles in your response, so you should reference three articles total in the assignment.
  • The assignment should demonstrate correct writing mechanics (grammar and usage), and should be fully developed with clarity and organization of ideas.
  • Your work should meet academic integrity expectations and include your original ideas and writing. Please do not do any outside research/internet searching for this assignment. No MLA works cited page required.

Note that this is not a traditional argumentative essay (with an introduction, thesis, etc.). This is a writing assignment that should conform to the format in the prompt above.


The purpose of this assignment is to:

  1. Read and respond to a college-level text
  2. Compose college-level writing
  3. Produce an academic summary of an article
  4. Connect a personal example to a specific idea/concept in the text
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