Guidelines for Writing DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (Adapted from Bucker, 2015)
Throughout the semester, you will be asked to read a series of scholarly articles and chapters (posted in Canvas) that focus on topics pertinent to your major research project. This handout describes your Discussion Question assignment for each of these assigned readings.
· There are four discussion sessions during the semester. You will write two discussion questions per session. If there is one assigned reading per session, then both of your DQs will come from this reading. If there are two assigned readings per session, then you should write one DQ per reading.
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· On February 8, there are two discussion sessions. This means that you write 4 DQs total for this class period, 2 for each discussion session.
· Questions must be submitted to Canvas by class time on the day that the relevant articles/chapters are to be discussed. If you have to miss class on the day of the discussion, you can submit your DQs before class and receive partial credit for the assignment.
· As you read each article/chapter, take notes. Underline important points and jot down ideas or questions that come to mind while reading it; this will help you write discussion questions more easily.
· Discussion questions should neither be too specific (“What does the fourth word on p. 27 mean?”) nor too general (“Was this a good article? Why or why not?”). Try to strike a balance between the specific and general. Try to ask thought-provoking questions that make connections to other areas of study and other realms of life—what you saw on the news, read in the paper or a magazine, etc.
· Be sure to point the reader to the specific content of the article that your question addresses.
· Avoid questions with “yes/no” or “either/or” answers; good discussion questions are open-ended. Also avoid leading questions. See below for examples of good discussion questions.
· Go for controversy! Try to pose questions that would easily engage the class in discussion.
· When it is your turn to lead class discussion during one of the sessions, you must still turn in typed discussion questions on the sources, but these may be the same questions you used to stimulate class discussion during your presentation. Remember that you do the discussion leading in groups, so be sure that you turn in two discussion questions per discussion leader.
Example Discussion Questions
1. What negative consequences could result if parents followed Bem’s suggestion to raise androgynous boys and girls? How might peers respond to boys with stereotypically feminine characteristics and girls with stereotypically masculine characteristics? What are the positive consequences of raising androgynous boys and girls? Where does one draw the line between a healthy de-emphasis on gender and a healthy acknowledgment of gender in raising children?
2. Josephs, Markus, and Tafarodi argue that individuation (distinguishing the self from others on the basis of talents or accomplishments) does not serve as a significant source of esteem for American women (because of gender-role socialization). How accurately does their argument describe women in the U.S.? Explain your response. How do women in the U.S. compare, in terms of how individualistic they are, to men and women in Asian cultures? How does the pressure that women feel in our society to be appropriately “feminine” interact with the individualistic norms that all Americans experience?