Assignment 2: Compare and Contrast
Proposal: July 13
Rough Draft: July 16
Final Draft: July 17
Purpose: Compare and contrast two different positions on a specific issue concerning the economy or a related topic, such as poverty, wages, social security, etc. These positions can come from scholarly articles, magazines, newspapers, or speeches. They need not be antithetical to each other but they must come to different conclusions. Write to a specific audience, one who can act upon, react, or respond to your evaluation, and write with a specific purpose in mind. For example, you could evaluate the way two different authors approach minimum wage policies or two different approaches to the issue of labor and gender discrimination. Feel free to draw inspiration from issues related to your home town or on campus.
Step 1. As you introduce the arguments, explain why both merit evaluation. Think “Why is this important?”
Step 2. Pay specific attention to key words and how the authors define them. Various authors may define a word differently, which can have a huge impact on the structure and meaning of their argument. Also, grasping the history and context behind certain terms will help you understand the topic more thoroughly be helpful for later assignments.
Step 3. Create and defend the criteria by which you will make your key evaluative judgments, negative and/or positive (see Everything’s an Argument, Chapter 10, Evaluations). These criteria can be derived from a rhetorical analysis of each position. Therefore your criteria may include things such as “persuasive use of logos (logical argumentation)” “strong ethos (authenticity)” as well as things such as quality of evidence, writing style, etc. Throughout the body of your paper, you should use concrete evidence and examples that illustrate the ways in which each author does or does not meet each evaluative criterion.
Step 4. Look for ways to identify what knowledge each position puts forth, the strength of the argument, where the authors agree and disagree, and most importantly “how” each argument is approached and executed.
Keep the following in mind as you plan and draft:
Identify the context of the topic and the author’s arguments about that topic. This will require a bit of background work. Try your best to map out the different opinions that surround it.
Brainstorm a list of evaluative criteria that could be applied to your subject/category and then determine which criteria are most important and legitimate for your subject/purpose. You might consider the aesthetics, practicality, and morality associated with your subject.
Length: A well-developed compare and contrast essay will be no less than five, double-spaced pages. You must submit copies of the arguments you analyze along with your essay.