Below is the assignment sheet for the first paper in my English 226 course at WCC.
Paper #1: Rhetorical Analysis and Evaluation of an Argument
In this unit, we will focus the majority of our discussions on understanding the complexities of argument and learning to recognize elements of arguments in a variety of texts. For Paper #1 you will continue this process by choosing one text discussed in class and then analyzing/evaluating the argument(s) in that text in the form of an academic essay. Your essay should break apart the text’s argument(s) in order to demonstrate the parts of the argument (claim, reasoning, etc.) and then evaluate the effectiveness of those elements. You should pay close attention to the textbook readings (particularly the readings on ethos, pathos and logos) and class discussions in order to acquire the tools necessary to successfully complete this assignment. I also encourage you to skim through the articles early to get a sense of which one you would like to write about. Do not wait until we read them in class to familiarize yourself with the general topic/content of each article.
On a general level, the purpose of Assignment #1 is to introduce you to the basic structure of argument and introductory research practices. More specifically, this assignment requires you to develop a critical eye when reading in order to identify and analyze individual arguments according to criteria accepted by the larger academic community. By learning to identify and analyze arguments made by others, you will be better prepared to create arguments of your own.
Remember that you are focusing on analyzing and evaluating the writer’s argument(s)—you are not taking a stance on the issue at this point. This is the most common error made in this assignment.
Texts to choose from:
- Sperber, “How Undergraduate Education Became College Lite—and a Personal Apology” from Declining by Degrees. On Blackboard.
- Rogers and Littleton, from America’s Douchiest Colleges. On Blackboard.
- Shughart “Why Not a Football Degree?” from Reading Critically, Writing Well. On Blackboard.
Format: MLA– include a properly formatted Works Cited page and incorporate appropriate in-text citations. I would like to see analysis of at least 3 specific quotes (with proper in-text citations). See your syllabus for further format details. We will write the works cited citation for each of these articles together in class, so I expect your works cited page to be correct.
Length: 900-1200 words (approximately 3-4 pages)
Worth: 100 Points.
A complete rough draft of this paper is due in class (hard copy) on Wednesday, February 13th.
The final draft for this paper is due Monday, February 18th at the beginning of class.