Here is reading from the book Critical thinking: A Brief guide to argument 7th ed. Bedford/ St Martin’s to help do the assignment

I have the article in the upload document The Chronicle Higher Education

The assignment is after the reading

Please read everything and provide 3 scholar sources and read everything please



This is what we can all do to nourish and strengthen one another: listen to one another very hard, ask questions, too, send one another away to work again, and laugh in all the right places.

—nancy mairs

I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

—pearl s. buck

Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.

—marie von ebner-eschenbach


Examining the Author’s Thesis

Most of your writing in other courses will require you to write an analysis of someone else’s writing. In a course in political science you may have to analyze, say, an essay first published in Foreign Affairs, perhaps reprinted in your textbook, that argues against raising tariff barriers to foreign trade. Or a course in sociology may require you to analyze a report on the correlation between fatal accidents and drunk drivers under the age of twenty-one. Much of your writing, in short, will set forth reasoned responses to your reading as preparation for making an argument of your own.

Obviously you must understand an essay before you can analyze it thoughtfully. You must read it several times—not just skim it—and (the hard part) you must think about it. Again, you’ll find that your thinking is stimulated if you take notes and if you ask yourself questions about the material. Notes will help you to keep track of the writer’s thoughts and also of your own responses to the writer’s thesis. The 177178writer probably does have a thesis, a claim, a point, and if so, you must try to locate it. Perhaps the thesis is explicitly stated in the title or in a sentence or two near the beginning of the essay or in a concluding paragraph, but perhaps you will have to infer it from the essay as a whole.

Notice that we said the writer probably has a thesis. Much of what you read will indeed be primarily an argument; the writer explicitly or implicitly is trying to support some thesis and to convince you to agree with it. But some of what you read will be relatively neutral, with the argument just faintly discernible—or even with no argument at all. A work may, for instance, chiefly be a report: Here are the data, or here is what XY, and Z said; make of it what you will. A report might simply state how various ethnic groups voted in an election. In a report of this sort, of course, the writer hopes to persuade readers that the facts are correct, but no thesis is advanced, at least not explicitly or perhaps even consciously; the writer is not evidently arguing a point and trying to change our minds. Such a document differs greatly from an essay by a political analyst who presents similar findings to persuade a candidate to sacrifice the votes of this ethnic bloc and thereby get more votes from other blocs.

Examining the Author’s Purpose

While reading an argument, try to form a clear idea of the author’s purpose. Judging from the essay or the book, was the purpose to persuade, or was it to report? An analysis of a pure report (a work apparently without a thesis or argumentative angle) on ethnic voting will deal chiefly with the accuracy of the report. It will, for example, consider whether the sample poll was representative.

Much material that poses as a report really has a thesis built into it, consciously or unconsciously. The best evidence that the prose you are reading is argumentative is the presence of two kinds of key terms: transitions that imply the drawing of a conclusion and verbs that imply proof (see Idea Prompt 5.1 ). Keep your eye out for such terms, and scrutinize 178179their precise role whenever, or whatever they appear. If the essay does not advance a thesis, think of a thesis (a hypothesis) that it might support or some conventional belief that it might undermine.

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Transitions that imply the drawing of a conclusion therefore, because, for the reason that, consequently
Verbs that imply proof confirms, verifies, accounts for, implies, proves, disproves, is (in)consistent with, refutes, it follows that

Examining the Author’s Methods

If the essay advances a thesis, you will want to analyze the strategies or methods of argument that allegedly support the thesis.

· • Does the writer quote authorities? Are these authorities really competent in this field? Are equally competent authorities who take a different view ignored?

· • Does the writer use statistics? If so, are they appropriate to the point being argued? Can they be interpreted differently?

· • Does the writer build the argument by using examples or analogies? Are they satisfactory?

· • Are the writer’s assumptions acceptable?

· • Does the writer consider all relevant factors? Has he or she omitted some points that you think should be discussed? For instance, should the author recognize certain opposing positions and perhaps concede something to them?

· • Does the writer seek to persuade by means of ridicule? If so, is the ridicule fair: Is it supported also by rational argument?

In writing your analysis, you will want to tell your reader something about the author’s purpose and something about the author’s methods. It is usually a good idea at the start of your analysis—if not in the first paragraph then in the second or third—to let the reader know the purpose (and thesis, if there is one) of the work you are analyzing and then to summarize the work briefly.

Next you will probably find it useful (your reader will certainly find it helpful) to write out your thesis (your evaluation or judgment). You might say, for instance, that the essay is impressive but not conclusive, or is undermined by convincing contrary evidence, or relies too much on unsupported generalizations, or is wholly admirable, or whatever. Remember, because your paper is itself an argument, it needs its own thesis.

And then, of course, comes the job of setting forth your analysis and the support for your thesis. There is no one way of going about this work. If, say, your author gives four arguments (for example, an appeal to common sense, the testimony of authorities, the evidence of comparisons, and an appeal to self-interest), you might want to do one of the following:

· • Take up these four arguments in sequence.

· • Discuss the simplest of the four and then go on to the more difficult ones.


· • Discuss the author’s two arguments that you think are sound and then turn to the two that you think are not sound (or perhaps the reverse).

· • Take one of these approaches and then clinch your case by constructing a fifth argument that is absent from the work under scrutiny but in your view highly important.

In short, the organization of your analysis may or may not follow the organization of the work you are analyzing.

Examining the Author’s Persona

You will probably also want to analyze something a bit more elusive than the author’s explicit arguments: the author’s self-presentation. Does the author seek to persuade readers partly by presenting himself or herself as conscientious, friendly, self-effacing, authoritative, tentative, or in some other light? Most writers do two things:

· • They present evidence, and

· • They present themselves (or, more precisely, they present the image of themselves that they wish us to behold).

In some persuasive writing this persona or voice or presentation of the self may be no less important than the presentation of evidence.

In establishing a persona, writers adopt various rhetorical strategies, ranging from the use of characteristic words to the use of a particular form of organization. For instance,

· • The writer who speaks of an opponent’s “gimmicks” instead of “strategy” is trying to downgrade the opponent and also to convey the self-image of a streetwise person.

· • On a larger scale, consider the way in which evidence is presented and the kind of evidence offered. One writer may first bombard the reader with facts and then spend relatively little time drawing conclusions. Another may rely chiefly on generalizations, waiting until the end of the essay to bring the thesis home with a few details. Another may begin with a few facts and spend most of the space reflecting on these. One writer may seem professorial or pedantic, offering examples of an academic sort; another, whose examples are drawn from ordinary life, may seem like a regular guy.

All such devices deserve comment in your analysis.

The writer’s persona, then, may color the thesis and help it develop in a distinctive way. If we accept the thesis, it is partly because the writer has won our goodwill by persuading us of his or her good character (ethos, in Aristotle’s terms). Later we talk more about the appeal to the character of the speaker—the so-called ethical appeal, but here we may 180181say that wise writers present themselves not as wise-guys but as decent people whom the reader would like to invite to dinner.

The author of an essay may, for example, seem fair minded and open minded, treating the opposition with great courtesy and expressing interest in hearing other views. Such a tactic is itself a persuasive device. Or take an author who appears to rely on hard evidence such as statistics. This reliance on seemingly objective truths is itself a way of seeking to persuade—a rational way, to be sure, but a mode of persuasion nonetheless.

Especially in analyzing a work in which the author’s persona and ideas are blended, you will want to spend some time commenting on the persona. Whether you discuss it near the beginning of your analysis or near the end will depend on your own sense of how you want to construct your essay, and this decision will partly depend on the work you are analyzing. For example, if the author’s persona is kept in the background and is thus relatively invisible, you may want to make that point fairly early to get it out of the way and then concentrate on more interesting matters. If, however, the persona is interesting—and perhaps seductive, whether because it seems so scrupulously objective or so engagingly subjective—you may want to hint at this quality early in your essay and then develop the point while you consider the arguments.

Unit 5: Module 5 – M5 Assignment 1


Dropbox Assignment

Assignment 1: LASA 2—Critiquing an Article

For this project, you will compose a researched response to Peter Singer’s article “America’s Shame.” This assignment allows you to assess and defend the reasonableness of personal beliefs through critical assessment of Singer’s arguments and the presentation of your own, original arguments on the subject.

Review the following:

· Singer, P. (2009). America’s shame. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 55(27), B6–B10. (EBSCO AN 37137370) http://search.proquest.com.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/214643086? accountid=34899

Develop a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation summarizing the main points of the article. Keep in mind that while bullet points are acceptable, complete sentences should be used throughout the presentation. Complete the following:

· Describe the portions of Singer’s article you seek to engage/critique.

· Using the tools of evaluation you have learned throughout the course, create an original argument to Singer’s article that advances your own thesis in light of Singer’s argument. Clearly state your argument position, using complete sentences to do so.

· Remember the nature of the stance is not important; you can agree or disagree with any point Singer makes within this article. The important thing is you construct a stance that clearly engages a portion of Singer’s text. Including properly cited examples from the article is suggested.

· Support your argument with the use of original research. Use at least three credible, academic resources to support your positions. These should be sources other than Singer’s “America’s Shame” article. 

Develop an 8–10-slide presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint format. Be sure to include two additional slides—one for the title and the other for references. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M5_A1.ppt.

By Saturday, May 3, 2014, deliver your assignment to the M5: Assignment 1 Dropbox.

Assignment 1 Grading Criteria Maximum Points
Summarize portions of Singer’s article that you wish to engage/critique. 40
Utilize tools of evaluation to create an original argument that engages Singer’s text in a way that is productive and advances your own thesis. 80
Apply research to engage Singer through the effective use of supportive evidence. 120
Presentation Components: Organization (16) Style (8) Usage and Mechanics (16) APA Elements (20) 60
Total: 300


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