WRI 102 Evaluation Critique Essay

27 Oct

WRI 102 Evaluation Critique Essay


  • Requirements:

Your critique essay should be approximately 1,400-1,600 words. It should include a minimum of 5 paragraphs and a minimum of 4 in-text citations from the text you are critiquing and 1 in-text citation from an outside source.Use Times New Roman, 12-pt. font and double-space.

*Make sure to includeexamples from eachsupport strategy(ethos, logos, andpathos) discussed in “How Do I Evaluate Arguments?”*

Critique Essay Outline



  1. Introduce topic and describe context of issue.
  2. Summarize author’s text.
  3. Thesisstatement (follow below format):


Thesis Format: strength(s) of author’s argument weaknesses of author’s argument  


your opinion about issue


Body 1:   Strength(s) of author’s argument


  1. Analyzestrongsupport strategies in the text.
  2. Discuss 2 or more support strategies from How Do I Evaluate Arguments?
  3. Supportingevidence #1: provide direct quote/paraphrase from text
  4. Analysis: explain how/whysupport strategy is strong
  5. Supportingevidence #2: provide direct quote/paraphrase from text
  6. Analysis:explain how/whysupport strategy is strong


Body 2:           Weaknesses of author’s argument


  1. Analyzeweaksupport strategies in the text.
  2. Discuss 2 or more support strategies from How Do I Evaluate Arguments?
  3. Supportingevidence #1: provide direct quote/paraphrase from text
  4. Analysis: explain how/whysupport strategy is weak
  5. Supportingevidence #2: provide direct quote/paraphrase from text
  6. Analysis: explain how/whysupport strategy is weak


Body 3:           Your opinion aboutissue


  1. Transition to your personal opinion about issue.
  2. Supportingevidence #1: provide personal experience, current event, orobservation that hasinfluenced your opinionabout issue
  3. Analysis: explain how/whysupporting evidence influenced your opinionabout issue
  4. *Supportingevidence #2*: provide evidence from an outside source(as an in-text citation) that supports how your personal experience, current event, or observationhas influenced your opinionabout issue
  5. Analysis: explain how/whysupporting evidence influenced your opinionabout issue




  1. Briefly summarize author’sopinion about issue.
  2. Analysis: explain how/whyauthor’s opinion negatively impacts society
  3. Briefly summarize your personal opinion about issue.
  4. Analysis: explain how/whyyour opinion positively impacts society


How Do I Evaluate Arguments?

To evaluate arguments, you must judge whether the argument is strong or weak. “Strong” and “weak” are not, however, merely subjective opinions. An evaluation ofan argument’s support strategies(ethos, logos, andpathos) should be based upon objective, rational criteria, such as the F.E.L.T. criteria below.

*Click here for more information about ethos, logos, and pathos:

Fairness and Ethics: (ethos)

Is the argument fair and balanced, or does it contain bias? Bias can be detected by asking one or more of the following questions:

  • Is the author considered an expert or knowledgeable about the topic?
  • Is the argument biased or one-sided?
  • Are there alternative points of view/opposing points of viewnot addressed?
  • Does the author acknowledge there are limitations in the argument?

Evidence and …

Logic: (logos)

Are the sources and author’s analysis reliable, relevant, and thoroughly explained?Reliability can be detected by asking one or more of the following questions:

  • Does the author make contradictory points?
  • Does the author make concessions to alternative views without explaining why they are nevertheless subordinate to his/her main view?
  • Is the supporting evidenceup-to-date, extensive, and recognized by experts?
  • Is the movement from beginning to end of argumentlogical?
  • Does the argument contain logical fallacies(gaps in reasoning)?
  • Some of the most common *logical fallacies* are as follows:


Tone and Emotion: (pathos)

Does the author’s tone reinforce bias? Tone can persuade an audience to feel a certain emotion, and therefore react a certain way to an argument, which can reinforce bias. Evoking emotional responses can be detected by asking one or more of the following questions:

  • Is the argument overly emotional and filled with loaded language?
  • Is the attitude of the author appropriate for the content? For example:
  • Is it too serious or too light-hearted?
  • Is it too sarcastic or too humorous?
  • Is it too judgmental or indifferent?

*Definitions and Examples of Logical Fallacies*

  1. (Abusive) Ad Hominem:committed by attacking the person who’s making an argument, rather than the argument itself.


  • There is no way that Louis Althusser can provide a believable Structuralist Marxist philosophy; look at the guy, he strangled his wife to death.


  • The Premier was convicted of drunk driving and now he is going to drive this province to ruin. I can’t vote for him!


  1. Begging the Question: premises that are passed on as being valid without supporting evidence. Sometimes the premise is proven by the conclusion itself, making the argument circular (see below).
  • When combined, Public Affairs majors and unmotivated Liberal Arts Majors make up 30% of the student population; we really need to get rid of unproductive departments! (Unproven premise: Liberal Arts Majors are unmotivated).
  1. Circular Argument:restating the premise in the conclusion rather than proving or disproving.
  • President Kennedy was an excellent speech giver because he delivered exceptional speeches.
  1. Common Sense Fallacy:an argument is held to be true because of practical truths and common sense. Common sense is sometimes correct, but all too many times all too commonly incorrect.
  • We all know if it looks bad, it tastes bad. It’s just common sense.
  1. Hasty Generalization:drawing conclusions from too little evidence and often relying on stereotypes.
  • I have known several democrats who vacillate in their support of this policy; so all democrats don’t have an adamant stance concerning this policy.
  • All lawyers are verbose and unethical.
  1. Ignoring the Burden of Proof:Generally speaking, he who asserts must prove. An assertion is a statement offered as a conclusion without supporting evidence. Since an argument is defined as a logical relationship between premise and conclusion, a simple assertion is not an argument. Writers sometimes forget this, and their articles can be littered with assertion after assertion. In the end, the duty to support an assertion is on the writer, not the reader (like the burden of proof is on the accuser in court, rather than the accused).
  • College students spend four years of their lives and thousands of dollars of their parents’ money trying to get as little as possible out of their college education, provided only that they get their coveted diplomas.
    • Really? On what do you base your generalization about wasteful students? Where is your proof?
  1. Slippery Slope: assuming that a proposed step will set off an uncontrollable chain of undesirable events.
  • If you don’t stop smoking cigarettes, then you are going to start shooting heroin.
  • If the FDA approves of putting fish hormones in tomatoes, and rejects the proposed policy, our vegetables will soon be injected with monkey hormones.
  • If Vietnam falls to communism, then it will be Laos, then Thailand, and then all of Asia!
  1. Straw Mandistorting, misrepresenting or exaggerating someone’s position so it’s easier to refute. Attack the misrepresented position, or the weak, straw man (unreal person) and then conclude that the original position is incorrect or ridiculous. Here are two straw men in one example:
  • Mr. and Mrs. Smith are arguing about cleaning out their basement. “Why, we just went through that old stuff last year,” Mr. Smith exclaims. “Do we have to clean it out every day?”
    aaa”There you go again,” his wife retorts, “exaggerating as usual. Nobody said anything about doing it every day – it’s just that you want to keep everything around forever, and that’s ridiculous.”







Two Examples of Well-Known Critique Responses

The below critique responses use several examples from the F.E.L.Tcriteria when analyzing support strategies (ethos, logos, andpathos). Keep in mind that the critiques were published in major newspapers and do not follow the requirements for yourown Evaluation Critique Essay, which you need to follow for this assignment. However, both critiques analyze several support strategies and explain how they weaken the authors’ arguments in very powerful, convincing ways. As you read each critique response, do the following based on the F.E.L.Tcriteria:

  1. Underline all examples of support strategies
  2. Name [WHAT] type of support strategy is being addressed(ethos, logos, andpathos)
  3. Explain [HOW] the support strategy is analyzed
  4. Explain [WHY] you think the analysis is convincing

Summary ofCritique Response #1:

“The Clash of Ignorance” by Edward Said (2001) is a critical response to Samuel P. Huntington’s  (1993) oft-cited article, “The Clash of Civilizations?,” in which Huntington argues that after the Cold War, the dominant source of conflict for mankind would be cultural. Huntington’s thesis principally revolves around the civilizations of “the West” and “Islam,” and he is well-known for asserting, “The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”

Said is especially critical of Huntington’s use of labels, such as “the West” and “Islam,” as he believes they are dangerous words that complicate matters like identity and culture. Specifically, he criticizes Huntington’s depiction of the West and Islam in a “cartoonlike fashion,” with the West always appearing more virtuous compared to its Islam adversary. In the aftermath of 9/11, Said argues, these terms have been increasingly used by major American and European newspapers,which has intensified negative relations between the West and Islam, further establishing the notion of Us vs. Them.

Academic Journal Article: “The Clash of Civilizations?” by Samuel P. Huntington (1993)

Critique Response: “The Clash of Ignorance” by Edward Said (2001)

Summary of Critique Response #2:

Lionel Shriver’s keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival (2016)—and the responses to it—hasadded to a current debate about privilege and power in literature.In her speech, Shriver criticizes the recent backlash against cultural appropriation, which she feelsstifles fiction writers, especially those who are white. Memoir writer Yassmin Abdel-Magied(2016) wrote a critical response to what she describesas Shriver’s sense of entitlement to appropriate other cultures and her ignorance about marginalized groups. The ensuing debate about identity politics has been covered by the New York TimesThe New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among other major publications.

Speech: “Why We Need Cultural Appropriation in Novels” by Lionel Shriver (2016)


Critique Response: “Shriver Made Light of Identity” by Yassmin Abdel-Magied (2016)

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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Academic Writing



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