negative model abstracts: database abstracts
Below are abstracts for the same article above from two different databases. Note that these do NOT successfully address all the criteria for your assignment. (For positive models, search the blog for “model abstracts” and click that tag to show them all. The one I wrote is on Kerry Soper’s article on Irish Stereotypes in Comic Strips. Students have contributed a number of excellent abstracts I have included as models for you.)
How would you grade each one below, based on the criteria laid out in the assignment sheet? What is each one doing or not doing, compared with my model above (aside from word count)? Which one of these do you like better? Why?
The first abstract lifts language directly from the article itself. This often happens when the author writes the abstract, and it is even seen as acceptable when database companies do it. But if you were to lift language directly in this way in your project, you would be committing plagiarism. I want you to cast your abstract in the third person (e.g., “the article argues,” “the author claims,” etc.) and to paraphrase and summarize, quoting as little as possible.
Soper, Kerry. “From Swarthy Ape to Sympathetic Everyman and Subversive Trickster: The Development of Irish Caricature in American Comic Strips between 1890 and 1920.” Journal of American Studies 39.2 (August 2005): 257‐296.
Abstract in Academic Search Complete database (don’t follow this model)
The article focuses on the development of Irish caricature in American comic strips between 1890 and 1920. Observed from a distance, the prevalence of ethnic stereotyping in late nineteenth‐century and early twentieth‐century cartooning in the United States is disturbing. There were some blatantly racist depictions of ethnic minorities in cartoons and comic strips during this period, but there was also a complex spectrum of ethnic characters who played out shifting comedic and social roles. This article explores the complex patterns of identification, sympathy, and denigration that can emerge in cartoon representations of ethnic identity.
Abstract in America: History and Life database (don’t follow this model)
The evolution of ethnic caricature of Irish Americans in humor periodicals and newspapers during 1890‐1920 reflects a softening of attitudes toward Irish immigrants as they achieved a degree of assimilation and as the public’s immigration concerns began to focus on Eastern Europeans. Three popular cartoon characters, Frederick Burr Opper’s Happy Hooligan, Richard Outcault’s the Yellow Kid, and George McManus’s Jiggs, partially retained the phenotypical stereotypes that expressed a virulent racist conception of the Irish as simian degenerates in popular comic drawings of the mid‐ to late 19th century, but they also invested the Irish with new, more agreeable ethnic stereotypes, portraying lovable ethnic fools and tricksters who struggled with assimilation and exposed the pretensions of the dominant society. In addition to Irish assimilation, the emergence of the Irishman as a sympathetic everyman, typified by Jiggs, also reflects changing newspaper readership, as publishers aimed to capture a larger middle‐class audience, providing more genteel material. Abstract by P. Durkee.