For this paper you will be writing a critique of one of the argument articles you worked with for your summary (in Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum), or you may choose an argumentative article of your own, but if you choose an article that is not from one of our books, please provide a copy of your article with your finished critique. The article you choose will need to be complex enough for you to be able to discuss it for several pages because the critique of the article should be 750-1250 words and should have a title that is not just the title of the text you are evaluating or simply the word “critique.” The paper should be stapled or paper clipped together or in a folder, or I will deduct five points from the final grade because it is the writer’s job to put the paper together. Please include a photocopy or print out of the article with your finished critique if you are choosing your own article, so I can check the original article if anything in the critique is not clear to me. Finally, please include your rough draft along with the completed paper. All of these items must be turned in at the same time on the day the paper is due.
Remember the critique must include an introduction (including title of the article and author’s name)stating the point of the article and your overall view of it, so a reader knows from the introduction that he/she will be reading a critique. Then include a very brief summary (about one or two paragraphs) of the work to be critiqued,so that any reader who is not familiar with the essay you are evaluating can still grasp its overall message. Then you may analyze and evaluate the key elements of the work. Remember, the evaluation is your opinion of whether or not the argument is really persuasive, so your key points will reflect the aspects of the text you found persuasive or not and why these elements worked or did not.
Once you have completed your discussion of what you saw as the strengths and weaknesses of the text, do not forget to include a conclusion. The conclusion will wrap up your overall thoughts on the text and may include a recommendation (who would benefit by reading this text or who should avoid it). We have discussed each of these elements in class. All the elements are important, so do not leave any of them out of your paper. However, the most important parts of the paper are the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the work and your explanation of why you respond to the text as you do. These discussions should be much longer than your summary, so if the summary is the longest part of the paper, you know the critique needs more work.
The point of the critique is to evaluate the presentation of and the quality of the material. Do not just create your own argument on the topic of your article. Discuss the quality of the author’s presentation of his/her argument: Clarity, quality of supporting evidence, solid logic, awareness of opposition’s concerns, and so on. (You may state whether you agree with the author or not, but your main purpose for writing is to evaluate his/her presentation of an argument, not to get involved in creating your own argument on the topic.)
Look for clarity in the work you read. What is the author’s purpose? How well does he/she fulfill that purpose? How well supported and explained are the claims? Do any sources used seem credible? Are there a sufficient number of sources used? Are they up to date? Or does the article seem biased or not fully researched (if research is used in your article)? Is the logic clear, or has the author committed any logical fallacies? Does the author contradict him/herself? How useful is the information? Is this innovative information? Who would find this information useful? Is the article unified, or does it wander off its topic? Is it clear, or are you left asking yourself what was the point?
These are certainly not the only questions to ask yourself about the essay; they are just some significant ones to help get you started. Remember, your writing should be clear, and your claims about the article should be supported with brief quotes or paraphrases from the work you are evaluating. You are not writing a “laundry list” of every characteristic you notice about the paper. You should pick out what you see as the most important elements for creating the success or failure of the essay, and discuss those in depth.
Remember that you are evaluating the essay and how it is put together. In other words, you are to discuss how well the author did his/her job, not write your own argument on the same topic as the one covered in the article. If you do not understand the difference, please see me or go to the Writing Center for clarification.
We will hold a workshop for this paper. Bring a draft to participate in the workshop. If you want me to discuss your draft with you in greater depth, please stop by my office during office hours, or make an appointment, and I will be happy to work with you.
The paper is due Monday, February 18, for the Monday class and Wednesday, February 20, for the Wednesday class. Please remember that the rough draft and copy of your essay (if needed) is due at the time the paper is turned in. Please do not email papers to me. You may use this assignment as your one late project if you didn’t turn the summary in late.
Feel free to see me if you have questions or come to my office hours for feedback, or you may to go to the Writing Center.