Critical Reading Note
Each Critical Reading Note should be 2-4 pages, double-spaced. The main point of this assignment is to read critically, reflecting and analyzing the views and ideas offered by the writer. To help you do this, you will be using a specific approach to analyzing texts, Critical Discourse Analysis, to examine the spoken and unspoken assumptions, beliefs and messages that may be found in the reading or materials that you are analyzing. It is important to note that all writing, whether professional or otherwise, expresses a particular viewpoint or set of viewpoints that we might accept or reject depending on our own knowledge and training, experiences, social identities, and social locations, beliefs, and opinions. Analyzing a “text” in a systematic way using an approach such as Critical Discourse Analysis can help us become more aware of how language and images teach us how to “see” (and not see) and understand the world around us.
The Critical Discourse Analysis approach is presented and illustrated by the following three readings, which are available in Week 2 and the Assignments folders:
Van Dijk, T.A. (2001). Critical discourse analysis. In D. Tannen, D. Schiffrin & H. Hamilton
(Eds.), Handbook of discourse analysis (pp. 352-371). Oxford: Blackwell.
Park, Y. (2005). Culture as deficit: A critical discourse analysis of the concept of culture in
contemporary social work discourse. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 32(3), 11-33.
• Do not summarize the readings. We want to hear your voice. Outline, instead, your own ideas and observations about, and perspectives on, the views and positions presented in the readings.
• Do not dismiss a reading simply because you dislike the ideas or viewpoint offered. Conversely, do not simply accept a reading and its ideas because you like or respond positively to its viewpoint. Reading critically and engaging with the reading means (in this context) exploring, investigating, testing, and challenging your own responses to the reading, as well as the viewpoints and ideas presented by the writer.
• Whenever possible, connect your analysis of the text you are focusing on to other things that you have read or heard about in this course or in your other social work courses.