Assignment 7.1: First Draft of Evaluation Argument Essay (with Rubric and Sample Critiques)
Description Write an argument that makes an evaluative claim about a problem; this argument must be based on three reasons. For example, argue that something is harmful, unethical, failing, backfiring, etc. based on three reasons. Determine a set of criteria you will use to argue your claim. Your thesis statement will be similar to the equation for evaluation arguments given in Good Reasons but will be tailored to establish that the topic is a problem. X is (harmful/unjust/another adjective) because [insert three reasons based on your evaluation criteria: A, B, and C]. Be sure your topic is specific and debatable. For example, most people would agree that violence is harmful, but not everyone would agree that the death penalty is ethical. Claiming that violence is harmful to society is not only too broad a topic for a three- to five-page essay, but it is also not debatable. Thus, it would not make an effective claim. It would be much more manageable to argue that California's (or another state's) application of the death penalty is unjust or to argue that the appeals process for inmates on death row discriminates against (or disproportionately affects) a particular group. Because you will also need to introduce and respond to an opposing view in your essay, it's especially important that you choose a topic about which there is at least some disagreement. Link to Essay #2 Your topic for Essay #2 must be linked with the topic you chose for Essay #1. Here is an example sequence of projects: For Essay #1, a student writes about an incident in which she said something incorrectly in Spanish to her mother-in-law, leading to confusion, chaos, and embarrassment. For Essay #2, the student writes an evaluation in which she argues that foreign language study requirements in U.S. schools are not rigorous enough. For Essay #3, she makes a proposal argument for required language instruction beginning in kindergarten. Source Requirements Your essay should incorporate evidence from at least three credible sources. Credible sources include articles published in scholarly journals, articles published in major newspapers, websites or publications by academic institutions and centers, websites or publications by nonprofit organizations, and government websites or publications. Interviews count if your source is credible; check with your instructor if you think you will conduct an interview as part of your research. The following do NOT count as credible sources: popular magazines (like Vanity Fair or People); websites published by anonymous individuals or individuals without credentials/expertise on the topic they're writing about; blogs published by anonymous individuals or individuals without credentials/expertise on the topic they're writing about; student websites or student papers; and websites not affiliated with an educational institution, research center, nonprofit organization, or the government. If you have questions about whether a source is credible, ask your instructor. Format Your essay should include the following elements: Introduction: An effective lead-in that introduces what you will evaluate A thesis statement that tells the reader 1) the subject of your evaluation; 2) your claim about the subject; and 3) the three reasons you will use to support your claim. Any necessary background Body: Support for your thesis in the form of three reasons based on your evaluation criteria (discuss one reason per paragraph). Each paragraph should including the following: 1) an opening sentence that states a reason to support your claim; 2) evidence (facts, statistics, expert opinion, and/or examples) to illustrate your point; and 3) analysis/discussion of what the evidence shows (in your own voice, using your own words), plus your own ideas about the topic Acknowledgement and rebuttal of opposing viewpoints. This could be a separate paragraph or could be incorporated into one of your above paragraphs. Conclusion: An effective closing in which you summarize your position. You might use an example or analogy to illustrate your position and/or address the broader implications of your argument. Works Cited Page: A list of sources organized in proper MLA format Recommended Length: Three to five pages Professionalism: your paper should follow MLA style guidelines and should be carefully proofread. Your paper must meet the following MLA specifications: Typed and double-spaced 1" margins (top, bottom, left, and right) Name, instructor's name, course title, and date in the upper left-hand corner of each page Last name and page number in the upper right-hand corner of each page Font size: Times New Roman, 12 point See Chapter 20 of Good Reasons for information about how to properly cite your sources in MLA format and for a sample student paper (276-282). Be sure to fulfill the following research and citation requirements: Use in-text citations for information summarized, paraphrased, or quoted. Use evidence from a minimum of three credible sources in your paper and cite them both in-text and in a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. Do not use Wikipedia other than to get ideas! Crafting Your Argument: Write in the Third-Person Singular: Use little or no "I" in this paper unless you are talking about personal experience. "I think," "I feel," and "It is of my opinion" get in the way of an argument. Example: Which statement is more convincing? It is of my opinion that poor little lambs should not be eaten; or Research shows that human beings can consume ample protein from a plant-based, vegetarian diet. Moreover, the pain and suffering experienced by factory-farmed animals outweigh any nutritional benefit from meat. A Note on Quotes: It can be helpful to use quotations in your writing. That said, use them sparingly. For example, one or two brief quotes per page is sufficient. The evaluation argument should be your own writing, not a list of quotes strung together. When you use quotes, make sure to properly introduce them—avoid simply making a quotation into its own sentence with no introduction or context—and follow quotations by stating how they illustrate, exemplify, or apply to your argument. Instead of quoting long, mundane paragraphs of writing and getting downgraded for it, enliven the information by putting it into your own words and offering commentary. Be sure to cite all information from secondary sources, even if you summarize or paraphrase that information! Purpose To identify a problem that links to your narrative argument topic and to learn how to create an evaluation argument that addresses a social issue. You will use ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade your audience. You will also conduct research on your topic and use proper MLA documentation to cite your sources in your paper.