Spring 2016 – ENGL102

Spring 2016 – ENGL102Evaluation Paper• Draft for peer review due Thu Feb 11• Evaluation draft due Tue Feb 16For the evaluation paper, you will write a critical analysis. A critical analysis paperasks the writer to make an argument about a particular essay or group of essays.The goal is two fold: one, identify and explain the argument that the author is making,and two, provide your own argument about that argument. One of the keydirections of these assignments is often to avoid/minimize summary – you arenot writing a book report, but evaluating the author’s argument.These nine articles deal with writing in general. Elbow and Fish discuss the teachingof writing; Didion, Goldberg and Hood explore pre-writing activities; Orwell and Lutzlook at rhetorical situations; and Baron and Shipley & Schwalbe focus onapplications of writing. For this assignment, choose one of the sets of readings fromabove (e.g., Elbow and Fish, or Orwell and Lutz).Potential points of criticismSometimes it can seem intimidating to “criticize” an article; after all, they areprofessors and professionals. However, part of this exercise is to expose the fact thateven though these authors are highly qualified, they are still advancing an argumentand providing evidence—their aim is to persuade you that their argument is true, notto just present facts. Once you recognize that these authors are making arguments,you can analyze whether or not you find their argument compelling. Following aresome possible questions you could ask to evaluate arguments:• Theoretical questions – How does the author understand the situation?What is his/her theoretical background? How would this influence theirview of the situation?• Definitional questions – Are all the concepts in the text clear? Does theauthor define a concept vaguely to allow it to travel across differentsituations? If a concept can relate two seemingly different situations, isthe concept meaningful?• Evidence questions – Does the author’s evidence support his or herargument? Does s/he have enough specific evidence to prove the moregeneral point? Does the author underemphasize or ignore evidence thatis contrary to his/her argument? Is the evidence credible? Can youidentify a bias in the evidence?• Implication/Policy relevance questions – What are the implications ofthis argument? Are those implications positive or negative? How has theauthor dealt with this issue?• Other approaches – Is the author’s argument consistent throughout thetext? Or, does the conclusion seem to offer a different argument thanhe/she presented in the introduction? Does the author’s backgroundhave important implications for their argument? Do the specific languagechoices of the author betray a certain ideology or bias, or frame theargument in a certain way?Structuring a Critical Analysis PaperMost critical analysis papers begin with a short summary of the work and thendive in to the argument. Since most of these paper assignments are short, it isimportant to be concise in all parts of your analysis. Writing an outline (andfollowing it) is crucial to remain focused on your argument and avoid summaryor irrelevant description. Following is a sample outline for a critical analysispaper:• Introductiono Identify the work being criticizedo Present thesis, the argument about the worko Preview your argument — what are the steps you will take to supportyour argument?• Short summary of the worko Does not need to be comprehensive — present only what the readerneeds to know to understand your argument• Your argumento Your argument will likely involve a number of sub-arguments — minithesesyou attempt to prove to support your larger argument’s truth. Forexample, if your thesis was that the author’s presumption that the worldwill soon face a “clash of civilizations” is flawed because he inadequatelyspecifies his key concept, civilizations, you might support this by:§ noting competing definitions of civilizations§ identifying how the examples do not meet the example ofcivilizations§ argue that civilization is so broad and non-specific that it is notuseful.o This should be the bulk of the paper.• Conclusiono Reflect on how you have supported your argument. Point of theimportance of your argument. Note potential avenues for additionalresearch or analysis.You should write no less than 4 pages (approx. 1,000-1,200 words), double-spaced,standard 12-point font, with 1” margins. Make sure you include your name on yourfirst page. Use a standard citation/documentation style (use the standard style inyour discipline, or default is MLA).Your work will receive feedback on argumentation (originality, depth of criticalthought), organization, evidence, and grammar/mechanics. Save your paper in.doc(x) or .rtf format following this file naming convention: lastnamefirstname_evaluation(e.g., my paper would be beach-david_evaluation.docx).To submit your paper, follow these instructions:• Click on the assignment name in Coursework• Scroll down to Attach File• Click on Browse My Computer• Select your file (be sure the file name follows the above convention)• Click Open in the file window• Click Submit

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