Read the chapters you will be analyzing carefully. If possible, read them twice. On your first reading, just try to identify the main idea(s) and get a feel for the writer’s approach and the flow of the piece. On your second reading, go over the text more carefully; notice how the writer constructs his argument. You will probably want to mark up your text and/or take notes.
To prepare your written analysis:
Identify the author’s name and the title of the article. Answer the following questions. Put your answers in outline form
1. What is the central claim (or thesis) of the selection? Your answer should be a complete sentence in your own words (not a quote!). Be as specific as possible, but remember that your claim should cover the whole article. (10 points)
2. Is the central claim expressed explicitly or implicitly? The claim is explicit if the writer spells out what it is. The claim is implicit if the writer only implies the claim but does not state it outright. (1 point)
3. What reasons link the evidence to the claim? In other words, why does the evidence support the claim? Reasons may be presented explicitly or implied. (7 points)
4. What evidence does the writer present to support his or her claim? Specify and categorize the evidence (e.g. examples, personal experiences, analogy, authoritative opinion, facts, statistical data, cause-effect reasoning, results of scientific experiments, comparison, interviews, etc. – see sample on back). Do not answer this question with detailed quotes or paraphrases from the article! For additional guidance, see the table of Kinds of Evidence on pp. 91-4 of your textbook Writing Arguments. (7 points)
5. Comment briefly on the persuasiveness of the article by answering one or more of the following questions. (5 points)
· Is the argument convincing? Does it rely on emotional, ethical, and/or logical appeals?
· Are there flaws in the reasoning of the argument? Does it rely on questionable sources?
· Does understanding the argument require knowledge of the historical or cultural context in which it was written?
· How do the style, organization, and/or tone contribute or detract from the persuasiveness of the argument?
· What is your personal reaction to the story?