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Critical Analysis Prompt

FYS 111: Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

Spring 2017

Critical Analysis Paper

Rough Draft Due for Peer Review: 17 February

Final Draft Due: 3 March

Length: 2-3 pages; double-spaced; Times New Romans 12- point font; MLA citation style.

Only when we read with care and reflect on what we read do we cultivate skills useful for analyzing subtle, complex, and intriguing texts. This assignment invites you to do so. Closely read an essay of your choice and investigate how it engages an issue. Then write a critical analysis. Your critical analysis should find the argument made by the author and provide evidence from the text in support of the argument. Also, your critical analysis should assess the effectiveness of the rhetorical strategies employed by the writer.

A good starting point for this is to find an article that is relevant to your field of study. If you are a science major, for example, select an article published in a scientific journal. Read and reflect on the article’s title, hypothesis, context and rationale for research, introduction, and the experimental design. Examine how the author designs and carries out the project; conducts field work; integrates material, charts, and graphs; analyzes qualitative and quantitative data; interprets and evaluates visuals, and presents the findings of the research. As you do so, take notes, as these notes will be useful when you begin writing your critical analysis.


You may select a work from One World, Many Cultures that has not been discussed in class and analyze it in terms of argument, audience, purpose, and rhetorical choices made by the author; examine the ways in which the writer uses language and organizes the essay. Reflect on the structure of the argument, the language, the quality of details, and the quantity of evidence used in support of the argument. As you do so, write your thoughts and impressions in a couple of sentences. Further, highlight or underline places, scenes, or passages you consider significant and expect to use in support of your argument. Then transform the material into a two to three page critical analysis.

The outcome of your reading is dependent on how productively you engage with the text. So read the essay several times–looking for the purpose, audience, and organizational structure. Examine the use of evidence and the writing strategies with which the author seeks to convince the audience. List evidence and details that you consider relevant to your argument. Your critical analysis should contain an argument supported by textual evidence and analysis.

Remember you will analyze the essay in terms of the following:



Thesis Statement

Supporting Details

Rhetorical Strategies (modes of persuasion): Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

Style and Organization do some background about the article

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