Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria For Your Critique
1. Word Count Mandatory. 5-mark penalty for failure to comply!
2. Structure—5 paragraphs including intro, 3 main body paragraphs and a conclusion.
3. Point of view—First Person. It is YOUR critique. Use “I” from start to finish but keep the tone of the essay formal. No sentence fragments, no contractions (can not, not can’t) and no slang and no references to the author’s first name, only last. Example—no “Gerard”, but “Jones.”
4. Topics—Develop a coherent, well-organized critical analysis of the essay/ article of your choice. Any one of the essays/articles featured in this course can be used for this assignment. I am also including an essay by Catherine Mieszkowski “The Frappuccino Generation.” For those of you who want something different, you can write a critique of the documentary “Sharkwater” by Rob Stewart (Canada, 2007). The film is available online with a legal option of renting it for a few dollars. Up to you.
5. Remember that whichever passage you choose for your critique, the areas you need to cover in your critique are basically the same: you need to evaluate the effectiveness of the author’s emotional appeal, the strength of his/her evidence, and the validity of their assumptions, stated and implied. You can also google search the information about the author and briefly include it either in your intro or conclusion.
6. Your opening paragraph should introduce the subject, author and title (in quotation marks) and briefly summarize his/her essay and its main purpose (argument). You need about three to five sentences for this. At the very end of your intro, you MUST formulate your thesis. In it, you need to clearly indicate not whether you agree with the author or not, but whether the author developed a fully successful (in your view) argument or whether their argument is only partially successful or whether their argument is not successful at all.
7. Having clearly conveyed your thesis, the rest is relatively simple because all you need here is to develop the main points of your critique. For example, in his documentary, Stewart successfully makes us feel outraged by the senseless slaughter of sharks with his very dramatic use of footage, and he also cleverly bolsters his argument with expert (scientific) opinion and adds to it all his youthful and very engaging personal presence in his film. And his stated assumptions about potential environmental consequences of shark fishing seem strong.
8. I am posting a student-written critique of “Violent Media Is Good for Kids” to give you an example of what a decent critique looks like. You may still critique this essay, but any “recycled” version of that essay will get you very low marks!
9. Your critique Does NOT require any extra research but if you use it, please acknowledge the source(s) on your works cited page.
10.My evaluation criteria are as follows: your essay must be well written and free of frequent errors in grammar and sentence structure such as sentence fragments and run-on sentences. You must clearly and concisely summarize the author’s main argument/purpose and clearly state your thesis and cover emotional appeal, evidence and assumptions. Perhaps the best guide to how to proceed is to take a good look at the posted “model” essay. It is not the best ever I have marked, but it is good enough to give you a workable illustration of what I am looking for here.