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The objective of this module is to understand the features of an evaluation argument and then to draft and then write an evaluation argument of about 1,200 words using MLA Documentation Style . After reading chapter 10, students will invent an arguable thesis based on their evaluation of an online news source. Read multiple stories from the site, discuss the site with a classmate or friend, and slowly develop your claims about the site. Most of your evaluation should be based on YOUR OWN reading and thinking of the online site. However, you will also need other voices to make your essay more credible. A total of THREE or more published sources must be used. Note that you are evaluating a thing (the site) for its content. So your readers are interested in the site as a source of news, ideas, and opinions (not for its graphic design, its profitability, how many clicks it gets, etc).
How you should develop your criteria? I suggest a three-step thinking process:
Place the thing you are evaluating in the smallest relevant category so that you don’t compare apples to oranges.” (serious online news site with national appeal)
“Develop criteria for your evaluation based on the purpose of this category.” (You will need to think about what a serious online news site should be).
“Determine the relative weight of your criteria.” ( Arrange your essay from least important to most important criteria). First two paragraphs: Establish kairos. What is the occasion for writing? What prompts the writer (you) to address this topic? Pages 24 -26 of your textbook have more to say about kairos. See Module Two where I also address kairos. After your essay creates the kairotic moment, it will lead to the thesis and develop exigence. Exigence refers to the pressure to write, the urgency, the timeliness of your topic. As your textbook says, “What’s at stake?” (Why is discussing this topic important?) Your essay will include the thesis statement (the argument, the claim), possibly by the end of the first paragraph, and definitely by the end of the second. For this assignment, your thesis is the overall evaluation of the online news site and a list of the (2, 3, or 4) criteria. As always, note that your essay should include a paragraph where you respond to possible objections to your thesis. What does that mean for this essay? You need to find a credible source that disagrees with some important aspect of your evaluation. You then concede the point or you make a counterclaim to it. Using your sentence templates may help with responding to sources. Your essay will also include recent examples from the news site to support your claims. Don’t simply tell me that your site matches a criterion, show me via example. The example from the book is a good one that shows how to narrow a thing (or, in your case, a phenomenon) to evaluate. It shows that a writer starts with “the apple is the best fruit” but then is it really fair to compare an apple to an orange to a banana? They are so different , after all. So then we get to “which apple is the best one?” But then we decide we can narrow it further because some apples are good for pies and others for eating alone. So then we could say something like
the best eating apple is the …………… (Pink Lady, Gala, etc) based on what CRITERIA? whatever criteria we use must be able to be used for other eating apples. 1) texture
3) juiciness then we can write the essay evaluating one eating apple. Please hear me when I tell you that many students botch the criteria component of their essays. This is a fatal blow, for criteria are the very essence of any evaluation. To avoid this error, be sure to have your draft reviewed by your instructor. For your essay, choose ONE from this list or work with your professor to choose another: Breitbart.com Vox.com
MotherJones.com washingtontimes.com washingtonpost.com
You need to first determine what criteria should be used to evaluate if an online news source such as The Washington Times is a good place to go to read hard news. You are evaluating one news source, not just one article. Start with the criteria, not with the particular news source. For example, imagine that I am planning a trip for me and my family. The first thing is to determine the criteria. For my family it would be this: 1) must have activities for teens
2) must be below $4,000
3) must be a direct flight
4) must include water (sea, lake , or a heated pool) After I have decided that criteria, THEN I look for a place to go. So please follow this planning for your essay. As always, you must use sentence templates 3 times in your final draft:
Use at least 3 of the following 8 sentence templates. If possible, highlight these sentence starters in your essay :
(Insert author’s name here)……..asserts that……….
One expert on this issue is ………., who says this: ……….
I agree with/ disagree with (insert author’s name) when he says………….because……….
Though I concede………, I must insist that ……………….
Some readers may challenge my view by asserting that………For example, credible source says this: …………..My response is this: ………
This issue is important because…………….
I agree with (name credible source) …………. and will make the additional point that….
The future of this issue is this: ………….