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Project Four

Page history last edited by Abigail Heiniger 9 years, 10 months ago

Revised Project Four: Evaluation and Proposal Paper 


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Course Materials




For this assignment, you are to evaluate a problem and then advocate that something should be done to address or alleviate the problem. This is a TWO STEP project (evaluation and proposal), and it will be commented on by peers and the instructor as it is constructed


Your aim is to convince your audience 1) that a situation is a problem, 2) evaluate the different possible responses to this problem, and finally 3) argue that a certain action should be taken to respond to that problem. 


Your starting point might well be something that bothers you and that you feel should be changed. Of course, you might have to convince your readers that it is a problem for them too, if that is not obvious. Then devote the balance of the paper to advocating your plan for dealing with that problem.


  • The following are rhetorical situations that might give you some ideas for developing the issue and the purpose for your evaluation.


1. You might evaluate some aspect of current politics: the quality of a current policy in Detroit (or Michigan), the importance of a recent Supreme Court decision, or a hometown issue worthy of attention. You might also evaluate a particular trend or more general decision that has been made by governmental entities that effects Detroit/MI.


2. You might evaluate the policies or procedures of non-governmental entities, such as those of a professional sports associationa school, or anything other organization that impacts a significant number of people in Detroit of Michigan.


Once you evaluate the problem and possible responses, ARGUE THAT A CERTAIN ACTION IS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO RESPOND TO THE PROBLEM. Your proposal should rest upon your evaluation of the situation and its possible responses. 



Your invention process will include creating a thesis statement which puts the term or concept you are defining into a category. That category may redefine the way your audience understands the subject or it may broaden and deepen their understanding. The thesis statement will make a claim about either the nature or the quality of something.


You will also develop criteria for evaluating the thing under discussion, and then present supporting details to show how it does or does not fit the criteria. Exploring what others have said or are saying about the topic—testimony and authority—will improve your credibility and the effectiveness of your evaluation.


As you work out the rhetorical situation for this writing, pay particular attention to the audience for your proposal. You should be able to specify an actual audience and forum for which you would present the proposal. Consider what your purpose is—to take action or to create grassroots support for an action that someone other than the audience would take. Your audience should be asked either to undertake the action proposed or to support the action proposed.


Consider carefully how differences in audience and forum will influence the specific kind of thesis and support you need to present. As you develop your argument, make effective use of all the strategies of invention that we have been practicing in earlier papers, including the stasis questions, value topics, sources of argument, testimony and authority. You may want to find out how similar policies are enacted in similar situations. You will certainly need to be aware of competing solutions. Supporting the feasibility of your proposal may require investigating implementation, procedure, cost and enforcement.



In composing this argument, you may decide to use the conventional arrangement, presenting the problem first, demonstrating its nature and negative consequences, evaluating possible responses, then moving to your proposed solution, demonstrating its nature and beneficial consequences, and finally dealing with matters of feasibility. However, all the options for arrangement that we have been practicing in earlier essays are available to you. Audience accommodation in all aspects of composing—in invention, arrangement, and style—is essential to an effective proposal.


Your evaluation might take the form of an editorial for your local newspaper or a post to a blog or website that attends to the topic or issue your evaluating here; whatever genre or publication route you choose, be sure to address the needs and concerns of that audience when composing your evaluation.


IF YOU ARE MAKING A BLOG YOU CAN SET UP A PBWORKS CITE. BEGIN HERE (BE SURE TO CHOOSE THE FREE OPTION ON THE RIGHT): https://plans.pbworks.com/academic/?utm_campaign=nav-tracking&utm_source=Top%20navigation


Author's Note

Consider writing a ONE PAGE Author's Note AFTER YOU FINISH writing your paper. In this note, describe the specific ways you meet the criteria for this assignment. For example, explain HOW your paper considers AUDIENCE (see Considering Your Audience):


  • What format did you choose?
  • How does the choice of format direct this paper to a specific audience?
  • What other choices did you make in writing this paper to direct it to a specific audience (tone, word choice)?
  • Where do you explicitly or implicitly address the CONCERNS of this specific audience in the BODY PARAGRAPHS of this paper (and HOW do you know specific concerns of this audience - what research did you do to know you audience)? 

Remember to look at all the project guides Supporting a ThesisORGANIZING A PARAGRAPHUsing Support EffectivelyConsidering Your Audience, and Citing Your Sources (avoiding plagiarism) (all located on Course Materials along with other tools for shaping your papers).  


Making the Thesis:  

Much like definitional arguments ("Is X a Y?"), evaluations usually also involve a criteria-match structure structure, but in this case you are not providing the criteria that a thing must meet to bedefined in a category, but the criteria it must meet to be evaluated as a "good" or "bad" instance of whatever category to which it already belongs. In other words, it follows the structure "X is (not) a good Y because it (fails to) meet(s) criteria Q, R, P."

  • Pick a item to be evaluated
  • Find out the stakes involved in the claim (is this evaluation controversial and/or interesting to others? Who would be opposed to this evaluation and why?)
  • Develop criteria for evaluating that item (which make it good or bad? which are most important? which are obvious and which ones do you have to argue for? Which are most likely to impact your audience?)
  •  Then propose a solution (or response) based on your evaluation.

"X is the best response to Y because of A, B, C." 


Categories of Criteria: As with definition arguments, evaluation arguments usually proceed through some variation on criteria-match strategies. However, rather than creating criteria that allows you to place something inside or outside of a category, criteria for evaluation arguments provide the best methods for judging a particular thing or issue. We can typically put evaluative critieria into one of three categories:

  • Ethical
  • Aesthetic 

  • Practical


Rubric Activity

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