Guidelines for Preparing to Lead Discussions

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Guidelines for Preparing to Lead Discussions
By helping lead in-class discussions, you will learn more from the course readings, and we will all learn from each other. Since everyone is responsible to have read the assigned texts closely before class, you should not provide a “book report-style” presentation on the readings. Although a couple comments about key points from the readings or summary questions might help get the discussion going, the questions you pose to the class should go beyond summary.
In order to prepare thoughtful, specific discussion questions, you will need to read each assigned text closely, then review them all a second time to note the similarities and/or differences between them. After you have completed two rounds of readings, prepare 6-7 questions in any/all of the following categories that are appropriate to the readings. If someone else is assigned to the same date you are, you will need to coordinate with your discussion partner regarding the questions that you will pose to the class. Discussion leaders for each class session will have 20-30 minutes to help facilitate discussion of the readings assigned for that day’s class. A couple sample questions are provided for each category; feel free to use these or generate others. When we are discussing chapters from Chadwick’s Internet Politics book, you may draw on some of the questions he offers, but you’ll need to go beyond those.
Summary questions:

What was the research question(s) this author sought to answer, or the main

problem she/he sought to address?

What was the author’s main argument/conclusion?
Reflection questions:

What interested you most about this article/chapter?

Did you agree with the author’s argument/conclusion?
Analytical/critique questions: What were the strengths & weaknesses of the author’s approach?

How else could the author have attempted to answer the research question(s)?

Did you notice any unanswered questions or inconsistencies in the conclusion of

this article/chapter?
Comparative questions:

How were author A’s approaches/findings on this topic similar or different

from author B’s?

Why did author A reach a different conclusion than author B?
Integrative questions:

How do the findings/conclusions of this article contribute to our overall

understanding of the topic it addresses?

What additional questions does this article spark for you in view of everything

else we have read on this topic?
As I mentioned in class, these two questions are not very productive for

stimulating discussion, and so are not permissible:

-“what did you think of this article/chapter?”

- “how did you like this article/chapter?”

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