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Assignment 2: Comparing Sources ENG 102

At this point, you have read at least one article about the topic that you will be researching throughout this semester, and you have closely analyzed that article in the source evaluation essay. Starting from that article, you will now have the opportunity to compare two author’s views on the same subject, and determine which author employs stronger argumentation.

Instructions:

Find an article written by another author that either supports or conflicts the opinion(s) of the author from the article you wrote about for our first essay assignment. If, for instance, your topic is embryonic stem cell research and the author of the article you read for our first assignment supports stem cell research, try and find another article—by a different author—that does not support the first article’s opinions. Or, you may want to find an article (again by a different author) that supports the first article’s author, but provides a different argument (by making different appeals, citing different types of evidence, etc.). Finally, write an essay that compares and contrasts the authors’ views, use of rhetorical appeals, credentials, writing style, purpose, motivation, etc. Based on your analysis of these criteria, determine which author makes the strongest and most effective argument.

Requirements:

  • The essay must be formatted according to MLA guidelines.
  • You must use specific quotes and paraphrases from the sources to draw your conclusions.
  • All borrowed material needs to be properly cited and fully documented in MLA format (both within the text and on an accurate works cited page).
  • As with the first essay, the purpose of this assignment is not to fully explore your research topic. Instead, you will be focusing on the argumentation that the two authors employ, and you will be pointing out specific places where the two authors agree, disagree, and differ in writing style and delivery.
  • Your thesis statement should reflect the way the two authors argue their points, and you should craft a strong, opinionated response about which author provides the “better” argument and why.
  • In addition to a strong thesis statement, your essay should include an engaging introduction, several well-developed body paragraphs that support the thesis, and a powerful conclusion that reiterates your main ideas.

Think of this essay as a more complex version of the first assignment. Again, you are focusing on breaking down the authors’ arguments and explaining which author makes the better argument and why you believe one author successfully argues his or her points over the other. As mentioned above, the authors do not have to have conflicting viewpoints; however, it may help you better understand the argument surrounding your topic if you have exposure to multiple points of view. Our assigned reading this week provides essential information on “reading like a writer;” use these techniques to critically analyze each article and gather content for this comparative essay assignment.

You may use the article that you discussed in your first assignment as one of the articles for this assignment.

Keep the following questions in mind for evaluating sources & arguments:

Evaluating sources:

  • Who is the author & what are his or her credentials? Background? Expertise?
  • Who sponsors the publication & what is their purpose?
  • Why is the information provided? Is there an ulterior motive?
  • How many sources have been consulted? Are they trustworthy? Can you verify?

Evaluating arguments:

  • What is the author’s thesis or purpose?
  • How well is the main idea supported? Are there gaps in the author’s reasoning?
  • What appeals does the author make?
    • Logical, emotional, ethical? How effective are these appeals?
  • What evidence does the author use?
  • How thoroughly and professionally does the author address opposing views?

Essay Grading Criteria: Points Value

Criteria

A: 100 points

B: 85 points

C: 75 points

D: 65 points

F: 50 points

Addressing the assignment

30 points

Is an excellent paper, an innovative, creative and perceptive response to the assignment in all ways.

30 points

Goes beyond a competent response to the assignment in several ways.

25.5 points

Carries out the assignment in a competent way.

22.5 points

Begins to meet the requirements of the assignment, but is flawed in one or more way.

19.5 points

Does not meet the requirements of the assignment or is seriously flawed in one or more of the following criteria.The severity of a single flaw, or combination of distracting flaws, renders the paper essentially ineffective.

15 points

Thesis Statement

20 points

Reveals the main argument for the assignment, including a plan for analysis.Thesis is an opinionated claim that demonstrates clear organization for the paper.

20 points

Offers an opinionated claim but does not include a plan for analysis, or does not have a clear organizational plan.

17 points

Has an opinion or some plan for organization, but thesis is too vague to indicate a strong understanding of analytical approach.

15 points

Purpose may be confused or too general.Thesis may not be limited enough or clear enough.

13 points

A lack of a purpose and/or lack of a controlling thesis that is clear and on the assigned topic.

10 points

Analysis

20 points

Effectively and gracefully asserts a clear, analytical opinion throughout the course of the entire paper.

20 points

Offers some analysis throughout the paper, but summary often distracts from the opinionated claim.

17 points

Relies more on summarizing points rather than on analyzing them; or, provides only vague approach to overall claim.

15 points

There is an attempt at an opinionated claim, but summary renders the analysis ineffective.

13 points

Does not offer an opinionated claim throughout the course of the paper; or, opinionated claim is not clear or obvious to the reader.

10 points

Support

10 points

Correctly follows MLA style in all ways; effectively incorporates examples, paraphrases and/or direct quotes into the opinionated analysis.

10 points

Follows MLA style effectively when incorporating examples, paraphrases and/or direct quotes; however, a few formatting errors may be prevalent.Analysis of supportive material may not be complete.

8.5 points

MLA usage is problematic.Analysis of supportive material including examples, paraphrases and/or direct quotes is either unclear or too vague to effectively indicate relevance to the point.

7.5 points

Some attempt at correct MLA style is apparent but execution is flawed in numerous ways.Use of examples, paraphrases and/or direct quotes does not support opinionated claim.

6.5 points

Does not meet minimum requirements for MLA style.Supportive material is either absent from paper, does not meet minimum requirements of the assignment, or is entirely ineffective to support the claim.

5 points

Style & Organization

10 points

The style demonstrates high competence while exhibiting finesse through the writer’s skillful use of stylistic elements to achieve specific goals.The careful organization is not only markedly clear and coherent, but also reflects a particularly apt response to the rhetorical situation.

10 points

Sentence structure shows variety, diction is well suited to audience and purpose, and the paragraph transitions function effectively to give the paper unity.The organization is clear, coherent, and well suited to purpose and audience.

8.5 points

Relies on merely simple sentence structure, transitions are often weak or formulaic, and word choice may be imprecise or clichéd.The pattern of organization is recognizable to the reader but may be formulaic or may not be the best for the purpose or audience of the paper.

7.5 points

The voice and tone may be inconsistent or somewhat inappropriate, and/or the style makes it difficult for the reader to understand what is being said: the sentence structure is at times awkward; word choice is vague or ambiguous.The organization may be unclear or confusing.

6.5 points

A voice or tone that alienates the audience, or a style that is unreadable either because of vagueness or imprecision.Absence of any apparent organizational or developmental plan.

5 points

Grammar

10 points

There are no grammatical and mechanical errors.This paper exhibits an exceptionally sophisticated style and mature vocabulary.

10 points

The essay is generally free of distracting errors in grammar and mechanics.The student is able to write at a level higher than the basic one expected of them.

8.5 points

The paper is essentially readable; there are few awkward sentences, few serious errors in wording, and few glaring errors in grammar and mechanics.

7.5 points

The number of grammatical or mechanical mistakes is sufficient to be distracting to the reader.

6.5 points

Grammar does not meet the minimum requirements to communicate effectively in standard written English.

5 points

 

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