Any topic (writer’s choice)

Book Report Poverty

Kathryn Edin & Maria Kefalas (October 2011) Promises I Can Keep:  Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage.  University of California Press.

Grade Points: 150 points

Due Dates: posted in D2L calendar 

Written Report Due: see D2L for due date and late penalties

Formatting:  This assignment should be three pages and must be typewritten, double-spaced, 12-point font, and 1 inch margins.  The paper may not exceed four pages.

Letter to the author:
The paper must take the form of a letter to the author about this book.  In the letter, discuss
your response to the book, addressing the following issues:

Research question: What question do you think the authors were trying to answer in this book?  Do you agree with her that it is an interesting/important question?

Methodology: Do you think her methodology is appropriate for her research questions, or do you think there are some limitations?

Conclusions: Do you think her conclusions are valid given the evidence she presents?  Do you think her conclusions are important?  Why or why not?

Finally, discuss the impact the book had on you personally.  Prior to reading this book, what was your experience with the welfare system and recipients?  Be specific about how familiar/unfamiliar you were with it, and where your ideas about it came from.  Did the book change or confirm how you thought about the welfare recipients?  Be specific about how it changed or confirmed your ideas.

IMPORTANT: Your paper must reflect an in-depth understanding of the book.  Be sure to make sure your letter draws from specific points made in the book.  To be more blunt, make sure I am not left wondering at the end whether you have read and understood the book! You do not need a bibliography, and you do not have room to quote extensively in this paper. You should not quote more than one or two sentences in the whole paper.  If you include a quotation, be sure to indicate the page number of the quotation in parentheses after the quotation. I will NOT accept papers with quotations that are not cited!

Adapted from:  Clifford, Elizabeth. 2010. “Reflection on Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work by Gary Alan Fine.” Assignment published in TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. Originally published 2005 in The Sociology of Food, edited by D. A. Copelton. Washington DC:  American Sociological Association. (

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