Critical Analysis

PURPOSE
·    To summarize, analyze, and synthesize the information from several articles with various perspectives on one main topic: technology’s influence on society. These articles should all be selections from our class’s Critical Reading Unit.
·   To practice writing an academic literature review
·    To develop your own unique perspective on the topic and support it with logical reasoning

TASK
This essay should include:
·    An introduction
·    The literature review (synthesis) section
·    The argument section
·    A conclusion

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AUDIENCE
A group of well-educated readers who expect solid, professional, academic writing and who are familiar enough with your topic that you do not need to summarize much.

REQUIREMENTS
1. Rough draft: 750 words minimum (20 PTS.)
Final draft: 1000 words minimum
Word count minimums do not include heading, title, header, block quotations, and Works Cited. 50 words below the requirement is acceptable. Potentially very severe penalty for papers 100 or more words below the minimum.
2. Peer Review (30 PTS.)
3. MLA Format
4. A minimum of 3 sources from the Critical Reading Unit (please see the Reading List at the end of this document). Additional sources are allowed but not required and must be scholarly.
5. In-text citations
6. Works Cited page

CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS (RUBRIC)
Introduction/Thesis (30 PTS.):
a)    Provide brief background and context to introduce your topic to the reader.
b)    Provide a thesis statement that clearly articulates your perspective on the topic. This is a statement of the major claim that you will more thoroughly support later in the paper. For this reason, I highly recommend revising your intro after writing your entire first draft and before submitting your rough draft to Canvas.
Literature Review (Synthesis) Section (75 PTS.):
a)    Please Ch. 24 in The Norton Field Guide to Writing for help with this section.
b)    A literature review or synthesis section reviews the literature on the topic and provides a “gist” or “succinct statement that brings into focus not the central idea of one text but the relationship among different ideas in multiple texts.” Think of this as the “conversation” the sources are having with each other. To achieve this, consider the patterns and connections you see between the sources. Instead of discussing each source individually, try to describe the “conversation” the sources are having.
c)    Provide “They Say” statements utilizing the templates from The Say/I Say (pgs. 751-66).
d)    Some of the authors may strongly disagree with one another, so for this reason, it can helpful to group the articles into categories that you clearly label or identify
e)    By the end of this section, you should provide readers with a clear “gist” that  briefly (1-2 sentences) states the consensus among the articles.
f)    Restate your thesis before transitioning to the argument section.
Argument Section (75 PTS.):
a)    To develop your argument, respond to the “gist” of the articles by picking one of the three approaches from Chapter 4 of The Say, I Say (pgs. 53-66): “disagree – and explain why,” “agree, but with a difference,” or “agree and disagree simultaneously.”
b)    Provide several supporting points or reasons for your stance.
c)    State clearly the main idea of each paragraph in its opening sentence.
d)    Thoroughly analyze examples using logical reasoning to prove your points.
e)    Consistently draw connections back to your thesis.
f)    Provide “They Say” statements utilizing the templates from The Say/I Say (pgs. 53-66) when engaging with the articles. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking for more details.

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Conclusion (20 PTS.):
a)    Restate your argument
b)    Draw connections between your various supporting points and tie everything together so that the paper ends on a cohesive note.
c)    Explain the significance or importance of your argument – why it matters, i.e. the “so what” factor.

READING LIST
“Just One More Game,” Sam Anderson, The Norton Field Guide, pg. 106

“Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Nicholas Carr, They Say, I Say with Readings, pg. 424

“Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better,” Clive Thompson, They Say, I Say with Readings, pg. 441
“Does Texting Affect Writing?” Michaela Cullington, They Say, I Say, pg. 462

“Google, Democracy, and the Truth about Internet Search,” Carole Cadwalladr, They Say I Say with Readings, pg. 480, The Guardian (Canvas)

“No Need to Call,” Sherry Turtle, They Say, I Say with Readings, pg. 505

“Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” Jean M. Twenge, The Atlantic (Canvas)
     
“Yes, Smartphones are Destroying a Generation, but not of Kids,” Alexandra Samual, JSTOR Daily (Canvas)

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