ENGL135: Week 2: Evaluation Essay

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By the end of Week 2, you will prepare an analysis of an argument. Please read the assignment connection section on each lesson page for additional guidance.

Choose a TED Talk in which the speaker presents a persuasive thesis on a debatable issue. Your purpose in this assignment is to analyze and evaluate the speaker’s argument, not to simply summarize or to argue for your own position on the speaker’s topic. Your overall judgement of the argument will be stated in your thesis, which will be supported by your analytical explanation of the evidence you gather while answering the questions outlined below.

Here are some suggested TED Talks.

Structure your essay with a section heading (centered, bold, title case) for each of the three body sections and conclusion. In each section, write one or more paragraphs responding to the questions outlined below.

Set up your essay in APA format with title and reference pages. Use the template provided in Files. Cite the talk on a reference page in the following format.

Speakerlastname, Initial. Initial. (Year, Month day). Title of talk. URL

In a two- to three-page essay (600–900 words), address the following questions.

  • Introduction (No heading needed for introductions)
    • What is your purpose for writing?
    • How will your analysis essay be organized? Indicate the analysis sections in a sentence.
    • What is the TED speaker’s topic?
    • What is the speaker’s connection to the topic, and from what angle does the speaker approach the topic?
    • What is the speaker’s overall perspective or opinion on the argument? Whether it is clearly stated or not, identify what you think is your speaker’s central thesis.
    • What is your thesis regarding the quality of the speaker’s argument, including your overall judgment of this speaker’s effectiveness?
  • Rhetorical Situations (This is your most important and detailed section. Consider writing two to three paragraphs. Be sure to explain yourself.)
    • Who is the speaker’s target audience?
    • What is the speaker’s purpose? What does the speaker want the audience to do with the information they are presented with?
    • What is the context of the TED Talk? What historical or current event information is presented (or is missing) to help the audience understand the argument?
    • What rhetorical appeals (reason, emotion, credibility) does the speaker use to help strengthen the argument?
  • Evidence (Don’t just summarize the talk. Write at least one solid paragraph with detailed examples as well as explain how the evidence supports the speaker’s argument.)
    • What types of evidence does the speaker use?
    • Does the evidence seem credible, timely, and relevant? Why, or why not?
    • What additional information do you want to know about the topic?
  • Presentation (In a paragraph, consider both the argument’s structure and the speaker’s actual presentation skills.)
    • How does the speaker introduce the topic and engage the audience?
    • Does the speaker conclude the talk in an effective and memorable way?
    • Does the speaker use good presentation skills while delivering the message? Consider use of images or other visual aids, vocal qualities, use of humor, body language, connection with the audience, and so forth.
  • Conclusion
    • Wrap up your reflections on the TED speaker’s presentation.
    • What is your overall judgment of the argument’s quality and effectiveness based on your answers to the questions above?

Remember to submit your assignment by the end of the week.


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