Once you have gained a sense of what a book review is about, begin reading the book that you picked. Take note of its structure (chapters), and read closely its introduction and conclusion. Also, learn a bit about the author (affiliation, interests, type of work they do, etc.) Keep in mind that the book review is similar to the structure of the oral presentations you will need to do in class: 1) Summary of the main ideas/contributions of the book (what makes it relevant, unique, interesting, etc.). 2) Summary of methods (sample, sources, analysis), and assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the approach 3) Link to one or more of the required readings listed for Session #4 (“The Big Picture”). By “linking” your book to any of these texts I mean that you should seek to develop a specific comparison or contrast that relates the ideas, methods, frameworks, examples, sources, geographic locations, etc. of the book you reviewed, to the ideas, methods, frameworks, examples, sources etc., in any of the two required readings for session #4. For example, you can say that your book contradicts an argument mentioned in these readings, or that supports it, or that extends it, etc. These are the two readings for session #4—again you MUST link your book review to one or both of them: *Muhammad, Khalil G. 2011. The condemnation of Blackness. (Intro, Ch.1-2). *Stuntz, William. 2011. The collapse of American criminal justice. (Ch.1-3, 9). Also, keep in mind that your book review should not exceed 1,200 words, and that you MAY cite up to three external references (other books/papers, newspapers, statistics, etc.). As noted in the syllabus, all references are excluded from the word count and should be listed in a separate page entitled “references listed”. These should also be formatted per the style guide of Criminology (our main journal). Here is their website for a free sample of papers that you can use as a guide for formatting purposes:
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