Assignment: Pick one text from the course syllabus that makes an argument with which you disagree. Then, compose a well-organized critique of this essay. Make sure that the essay you pick from the course packet makes an argument–some texts in the course packet are primarily informative or narrative. In your introduction, briefly summarize the main argument of your chosen text. Your introduction should also contain a thesis statement that articulates why you disagree with the authors argument. Your critique should consider the rhetorical appeals we have discussed in class. Consider some of the following questions from class:
What authority, education or professional experience, for example, does the author have?
What sources does the author use? Are these reliable, credible sources?
Does the author consider opposing viewpoints? Are these viewpoints considered fairly?
Does the author establish common ground?
Is the argument presented in a way that damages the writers character? Does it, for example, lack clarity?
Does the author appeal to emotions?
Do these emotional appeals clearly support and connect to the main argument?
Does the author over or underuse emotional appeals?
How does the author logically organize the argument? Review, for example, the inductive and deductive structures from class.
Does the authors argument contain any fallacies? Review the list of logical fallacies from class.
Does the factual information logically support the authors claim?
This list of questions is by no means exhaustive–feel free to think of more in your examination of your chosen article. You can review more detailed explanations of these rhetorical appeals in the Writers Help or on the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
For this essay, you will also need to find at least two outside sources to support your critique. These sources should meet the requirements we have discussed in class regarding reliable and credible sources. The easiest and best way to find these types of sources is through the library. Any sources that do not meet the requirements for reliable sources will not count. Any sources you did not find on your own will also not count–in other words, dont pull other texts from the course packet or class as sources. You can use these within your essay, but the purpose of the source requirement for this essay is to encourage you to do your own research. You should consider the following types of supporting sources:
Sources that offer opinions or facts that differ from the author’s opinions or facts.
Sources that provide useful background information or context.
Sources that offer examples to support your critique.
Feel free to think of other types of sources and ways these sources can support your critique. Make sure that you use your sources within your essay by paraphrasing, summarizing or quoting from your sources. Fully incorporate this information into your own writing. Avoid floating quotes and explain how any information you include supports your critique.