In order for us to understand how to make effective arguments of our own, we need to understand how arguments are constructed. When we analyze arguments and question how and why people construct their messages, we are becoming better critical thinkers in both academic settings and in our society as well.
This assignment asks you to prepare yourself to write an argument by closely analyzing the argument of another. Identifying, examining, and evaluating the working parts of an argument can help us learn useful (and avoid less useful) patterns in our own thinking and writing. In this assignment, you will find a current (within 5 years) editorial or opinion-editorial from a credible news organization. You will then analyze the article to determine its success.
Objectively analyze the editorial to determine how it works.
Come to an understanding of who the audience is and how they’re being persuaded.
Identify and analyze the major parts of the argument (thesis, claims, evidence, refutation, any fallacies). Use both the Toulmin and Rogerian argument.
Analyze the author’s rhetorical appeals.
Create a clear argument about the success of the editorial (this will be your thesis).
Note: Your primary focus here is still the structure of the text. However, in your evaluation of the argument, you can offer a few suggestions (this should be a very short part of your paper). For example, you could suggest a stronger argument that the author might have included, discuss the use of counter-argument, or highlight a misunderstanding of audience and suggest a more appealing message.
Any editorial or opinion piece from a reputable news source will be fine for this assignment. The only blogs that I will accept are blogs by credible newspapers, television companies, or any other source that you run by me first. I reserve the right to veto any editorial. The editorial you choose needs to be fairly current (within the last 5 years). Be sure to choose a topic of interest to you, as you will need to read the text many times in order to write your analysis.
Note: This is not a research paper, but you will be required to cite your editorial using internal and end citation. No other research is required or recommended (you are focusing solely on the argument, not the topic).
I will read your Final-for-Now (FFN) draft for:
A strong introduction that provides general background on the issue, identifies the editorial, and includes a clear, focused thesis statement
Depth of analysis—your close reading and interpretation of your text; evidence in support of the thesis statement.
An in-depth discussion of the argument. A successful paper will have identification and analysis of the major parts of the argument (thesis, warrant, evidence, counter-argument). It will also recognize any logical fallacies.
Correct identification of rhetorical appeals. This means a clear understanding the audience. Remember, pathos is an appeal to the audience’s values or identity. Ethos is the persona the author creates in the text and how credibility is established. Logos is how facts are used and organized (it is important to analyze the organization of the editorial).
Academic Conventions: MLA, grammar, voice, paragraph structure, and style have been recognized with proper in-text citations, and Works Cited page.
Meeting the length (which means depth!) requirements (4-5 pages).