Where to find editorials:
The New York Times: Op-Eds and Editorials (Links to an external site.)
The Los Angeles Times: Op-Eds (Links to an external site.)
U.S. News: Op-Eds (Links to an external site.)
The Hill: Op-Eds (Links to an external site.)
The Washington Post: Opinions (Links to an external site.)
The Chicago Tribune: Opinions (Links to an external site.)
The Huffington Post: Op-Eds (Links to an external site.)
The National Review (Links to an external site.) (no specific opinions page, but contains many editorials – just be careful when choosing articles from here that they’re actually opinions and not just news reports)
Your evaluation of the argument should be focused on establishing how well this argument is constructed. Of course, you dont have to disagree or agree with every point or every aspect of the article (although in some instances, you may) – most quality articles have also gone through the same process and thought that your own arguments will. However, thats not to say theyre perfect, especially if you disagree with the author on the topic. The goal here is for us to closely understand and evaluate what makes a strong argument and what makes a weak argument. Things to consider in your evaluation of this argument include:
Style, language, and/or tone: Is the language too formal for its audience (to the point where they may not understand whats being argued)? Is it too informal, meaning that the audience doesnt take the author seriously? Is its tone condescending, flippant, or otherwise off-putting for the reader, or is it inviting and engaging?
Support and Evidence: Does the author work to not only clearly express his/her argument, but support it sufficiently? Does the author provide sources/information that are credible and accurate? Is he/she representing those sources in a fair, ethical way?
Strength of Overall Argument: Does the author address key considerations or issues about this topic in his/her argument or no? Do they address or anticipate the counter-argument to their own?
Organization & Clarity: Does the author present his/her ideas clearly for the reader, making it easy to see not only the overall thesis but the supporting details and points as well? Are points arranged in a way that builds off one another logically, or are they scattered and disorganized?
Fallacies: Does the author commit any rhetorical fallacies in the foundations of their idea or support of the argument?
Audience: Does this article work to engage the reader in a meaningful way? Does it appeal to their concerns clearly? Who is this possible intended audience?
Bias: Does the writer have a clear bias, either politically, religiously, or otherwise that might affect their ability to effectively consider this topic? Do they engage in stereotypical ideas, language, or examples?
Your evaluation (whether it’s a strong or weak argument) should come from the evaluation and analysis of the argument itself, not just your opinion on the issue. An argument you agree with can be sloppy and poorly done; an argument you disagree with can be well-constructed. Don’t let your own biases impact the quality of your analysis. Focus on both flaws in the argument as well as what the author does well, valid points they make, or offering up an approach you hadnt previously considered. No argument is perfect, but some are better than others.
Your evaluation is NOT a summary of the argument itself – instead, be critical, examine every word, phrase, and piece of evidence and work towards showing YOUR reader whether this argument is strong or weak. Your opinion on the issue overall is also not front and center here – save that for your argumentative essay later.
This essay will be 3-4 pages, double spaced, and following MLA formatting conventions (Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1-inch margins, etc.). A Works Cited page will be included as a part of the page count and will need to cite the argument youre discussing. If necessary, you may use up to 2 secondary sources, say for disproving a specific claim the author makes, but again, your essay should consist primarily of your OWN evaluation of this argument.