Argument analysis

English 1302: Argument Analysis Essay
Final Draft Due: July 19th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. on D2L
Required Length: 750 words minimum
Worth 10% of final grade
As we have been discussing in class, there are many elements to an argument. There are different occasions for argument, different purposes for argument, and different ways of setting up an argumentative claim.

The goal of this assignment is to look at a text from a rhetorical perspective and be able to break down the different parts of a text to see how it works to present the argument that the author wants to make. Examples of what to look for include: what is the argument being made in the text? What purpose(s) does the text serve? Is it meant to inform, persuade, guide decision making, or simply explore a topic? Who is the intended audience for said writing? Is the writing formal or informal? Understanding these concepts will make writing and analyzing arguments for this and other courses that much easier.

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To do this assignment, you have to find your own essay or speech to analyze. I advise you to choose an essay that has a topic that can be debated but is not a hot button political issue so that you can be as neutral as possible. I would also advise you to not to choose something that you have a personal connection to as that bias may creep its way into your writing. Unlike the writing assignments you all have done in the past, I will not ask you to write a certain number of paragraphs. However, I do want you to make sure that the argument analysis answers the following questions:

What is your article about?
What argument is the author trying to make and what is their position on the argument? (include what type of argument you think it is: whether it is an argument of fact, definition, etc.)
What is the purpose of the text?
Who is the intended audience?
Based on the information presented, was the author successful in stating their argument? Why or why not?

In addition to the above questions, you need to answer AT LEAST two of these questions in your analysis:
What type(s) of rhetorical appeals does the author use in the text? (logos, pathos, and/or ethos; each appeal can be used in its own paragraph)
Is the writing clear and well-organized?
What is the tone and/or voice of the text?
First, second, or third person point of view?
Informal or formal language?
Factual or opinion-based writing?
Does the writing use simple, complex, or jargon (language specific for a given field) vocabulary?
What area(s) are weak in the text? (remember, this is an analysis, so when looking at weaknesses, make sure that the weaknesses are in context of how it affects the argument the author is presenting)
Does the author use any logical fallacies?

You are free to look at other aspects of the text that are not mentioned here, but the rhetorical analysis needs to have covered the previously mentioned elements.

Because much of this assignment will be coming from your perspective, you do not need to cite sources for this paper aside from the text you use as the basis of your analysis. You are welcome to use outside sources if you think they will help with your analysis, but you are required to cite said sources both in-text and in your works cited page if you do. Be advised that any sources you use for this essay should only be either from books or from peer reviewed essays. Please cite in MLA or APA format for this assignment (both in-text and in a works cited page). Be aware that your papers will be checked for plagiarism, so be sure that your work is original. Furthermore, while proper grammar and mechanics will not play a major part in your grade, proper grammar and mechanics are still expected in this and all classroom assignments.

If you have any questions about this assignment or run into trouble finding a text to analyze, please let me know as soon as possible. There are essay compilation books in the library that you can check out to get essay ideas. The sooner you talk to me, the sooner your issue can be resolved in a timely manner.


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