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Essay Instructions – Evaluating and Analyzing Arguments
For this essay, you will apply the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills you have been learning in this class (so far) to a critical analysis comparing and contrasting two arguments on a similar topic from the readings assigned in Part 4 of CIEQ for this first unit. No outside sources are allowed (or needed) for this first paper.
Paper must be between 1500 and 1800 words and must be in MLA style, Times Roman font, and must contain more than five paragraphs (see samples under Writing Help for how to organize and develop this type of essay). Do not pad your sentences or use excessive wordiness to achieve length requirement. See handouts under Writing Help for how to eliminate/control wordiness, how to use active voice, and how to create thesis statements for a compare/contrast evaluative argument.
How to Proceed: Follow the instructions/steps below.
1. Prewriting/Brainstorming: Create a set of criteria based on information contained in either or both of our main texts on which to base your evaluation. In other words, make a list of the most important qualities of a strong and persuasive argument. It is very important to do this before you create a thesis and outline for your paper.
2. Review the sets of articles you read and the responses you wrote from the chapters in Part 4 (Ch. 13-18)
3. Select one of the chapters and determine which author writes the more effective argument. You can do this even if you do not agree with the author—sometimes a conclusion that we don’t agree with can be defended quite effectively.
4. Do some prewriting and create a “working” thesis. This can change, but it will get you started.
5. Create an introduction which describes the qualities/criteria (in general) for a strong and persuasive argument.
6. Create a thesis statement which defends the article as a strong, persuasive argument, and give a few reasons in your thesis. These can be some of the main criteria. Alternatively, you can create a thesis which says that the argument is neither strong nor persuasive, and list three reasons for your judgment. If your reasons are more than three—you may eliminate the list or determine if there is overlap and condense accordingly.
7. Create an outline or specific plan to develop your essay. If outlines are difficult for you, do some rough drafting and see where the paper is going. If you can write up an outline from your draft, you are probably on the right track. Keep in mind that this is kind of evaluation requires a compare/contrast argument. Before you begin your outline or draft, examine/review the section under Writing Help (modules) for how to create and organize a compare/contrast essay. This specific structure is crucial to the organization of this paper, and you must understand it. Review also the elements of evaluative essays which are also located under Writing Help.
8. The body paragraphs of your essay will be organized around each point of contrast, and for support you will give direct evidence from the articles themselves and from other chapters you have read in our texts which inform us about the standards (criteria) for a strong argument. How do these arguments measure up to the standards described in our text?
9. Your conclusion should not be a restatement of your thesis, but rather a paragraph perhaps about the value of being able to ascertain a strong argument from a weak argument—it should be about the value of using critical thinking skills in our everyday world—filled with much information which we must sort through, sometime to make important decisions (voting, for example).
10. See Modules or calendar for due dates of all segments: outline, peer review, TLC visit, Final Draft.