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Summarize argument - Villanosa

Capture the source's argument


Summarizing sources helps you understand the source, organizing this information in a bibliography and yield a document useful for references in future writing.

How do you summarize central elements of each reading, and synthesize key principles that can be applied to future theory, research, and practice?  



Here is an example summary from the 2012 LS cohort when they were studying for their qualifying exams.

Example Summary

ARTICLE: Chase, W., & Simon, H. (1971). Perception in Chess.?Cognitive Psychology,?4, 55–81 


TWO SENTENCE SUMMARY: Descriptions (+ case) of technique for studying knowledge structures with chess players with different levels of expertise. Specifically, the study examines the ways in which experts have qualitatively different ‘perceptual chunks’ in than novices (these chunks are connected by their relationships in the game — mutual attack/defense, similar type, etc.) 


Chunking: "Encoding information" in chunks (in both short and long-term memory) - chunks are a unit within memory . Chunking is operationalized in this study through time intervals - that is, in tasks when participant recreate 

"The time intervals were used to segment the protocols, in order to test the hypothesis that long pauses would correspond to boundaries between successive chunks, while short time intervals between pieces would indicate that the pieces belonged to the same chunk in memory." (p. 59) 

Memory Span: In the working memory people can hold 7 +/-2 chunks (from the work of Miller I *think*) 

Perceptual Structures: I *think* these are about the way that people of varying knowledge perceive a given set of 'inputs'. The perceptual structures in this work relates to how experts in a given area have structures with many relationships. They are operationalized here by chess pieces - the study looks to show how the pieces are perceived along the lines of how they have relationships between each other. 

Note: I'm not sure what the relationship between a perceptual structure is and a chunk - I *think* chunk relates to how we organize knowledge in our memory as being a single thing, and perceptual structures refer to the way that our perception is organized.  

Perception Task: Participants are able to view one chess board (showing pieces) and have to recreate it on another board -- with a partition set up so the participants cannot see the same board at the same time (so it's not a memory task in the traditional sense). This is set (and videoed) so they can analyze how they chunk when looking between boards (what their perception is).  

Memory Task: Chess players are asked to view one board for 5secs, then the board was covered by a partition. Compared to a perception task participants could not control when they saw the board they were trying to re-create. However, once participants had failed the board would be cleared , the participant would look again for 5sec. This was repeated until they got the board right.     

EXAMPLES: Logic puzzles which have premises and you draw conclusions from them (these are essentially Aristotelian syllogisms). JL is using these examples to show that we do so much more with them than is described by formal logic. E.g. Al is a blood relative of Ben. Ben is a blood relative of Cath. Is Al a blood relative of Cath?  

THEORETICAL-HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Early work in cognitive revolution, in which they make theories about what goes on in the mind. In particular they are building on work on “perception in chess” (de Groot, 1965, 66) — this work found that “Masters” (experts) thought about the same number of possibilities for chess moves, but their possibilities were more likely to be "right" (this is also linked to work in AI — I think they originally thought that experts would consider many possibilities, and so this type of work has implications of trying to build human-like intelligence). de Groot's work found that there was a difference between experts abilities to memorize the  - so this work looks to understand the nature of these memory chunks: "Our main concern here is to discover and characterize the structures, or chunks, that are seen on the board and stored in short-term memory." (p. 56). Also - builds on the Short Term Memory work (e.g. Miller, 1956).  

"Hence, the masters appear to be constrained by the same severe short-term memory limits as everyone else (Miller, 1956), and their superior performance with “meaningful’ positions must lie in their ability to perceive structure in such positions and encode them in chunks. Specifically, if a chess master can remember the location of 20 or more pieces on the board, but has space for only about five chunks in short-term memory, then each chunk must be composed of four or five pieces, organized in a single relational structure." (p. 56) 

IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: I *think* this study is important as it shows significant differences in chunks between experts and novices - that is, the number of chunks that one can hold in short term memory is similar between novices and experts. One of the things that makes experts is their ability to have larger chunks, that are relationships between pieces.  

IMPLICATIONS FOR DESIGN: Feels limited (to me) - but it is good for designers to think about how learning is not about changing the basic cognitive processing (STM and LTM) but rather learners organization of knowledge. 

LIMITATIONS: It’s just chess. Also, it’s a tiny-tiny study (3 participants). Also - look back at Knowledge Representations. The time intervals between chunks seem a slightly suspect was of operationalizing chunks (to me, at least). 



The 2012 LS cohort developed this format for summarizing articles: