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Find an argument in your own search. You may find this argument from a magazine, a newspaper (for example, an editorial), a blog, or an academic journal. You’ll want the argument to be at least a couple of pages so it contains enough style to be analyzed. I suggest starting your search with some major online newspapers like the New York Times, the Guardian, Al Jazeera, or the Salt Lake Tribune for editorials if you’re struggling.

Using the article, critically analyze the overall argument, author’s assumptions, and use of grammar, pointing to weaknesses or strengths. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of another person’s argument will ultimately benefit your own reasoning when we get to the Persuasive Research Essay.

How to Begin: After choosing your article and reading through it once, revisit the opening paragraphs. Find and highlight the writer’s claim, or thesis. Analyze each paragraph in order according to the readings we’ve already completed in class and the following questions:

1. On what premise(s) does the author base their argument?

2. What does the author assume about his or her audience’s beliefs? Are they valid or unsound assumptions? Consider creating a Toulmin Schema for the author’s argument.

3. How credible is the author/editorial? Play the believing/doubting game with the argument.

4. What role does ethos, pathos, and logos play in creating a convincing argument? What kinds of fallacies do you find and how do they weaken the argument?

5. Does the author provide enough support and reasoning for the conclusions?

6. What role does grammar play in creating a convincing argument? Is the author empathetic? Too intense? Not convincing enough? ‘

7. What perspective does the author represent in his/her argument? How well does the author represent alternate views and perspectives?

Next: Using your analysis, decide whether you feel the author ultimately succeeds at writing a convincing argument and why. Your decision will basically act as your thesis statement for this assignment. Once you’ve decided whether the argument is successful, organize the reasons for this decision into several general ideas. For example, you may focus on the rhetorical situation for a section, then the way the author approaches the opposition, then the author’s use of basic writing mechanics to show how you arrived at your conclusion.

Then: Write your observations into a well-organized essay. Remember to adhere to MLA formatting and include a works cited page with the article cited (look at Owl at Purdue for help). In your introduction briefly discuss the issue of the editorial you’ve chosen, supplying background information. Your essay should summarize the overall effectiveness of the argument. I expect the body of your essay to be more than a list of answers to the questions I provided. Feel free to email me with any questions. Include ethos, pathos and logos.

Learning Objectives:

-Understand the pitfalls of assumptions and weaknesses common in arguments

-Employ critical analysis of an argument

-Evaluate the reliability of an editorial

-Utilize MLA formatting while writing clearly

Format and Length Requirements:

-3-5 pages double spaced, MLA formatting with a Works Cited page


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