Argument Analysis

Assignment Requirements


Step 1: Summarize both articles
• What is this section about? What is the author saying in this section?
• What is the author doing in this paragraph or section (use verbs like introducing, reviewing, interpreting, challenging, asserting, illustrating)?
• Does the author make a claim? What does he or she argue? Make note of central claims.
• What evidence is provided to advance the argument?

Step 2: Analyze both articles
Choose one or two central claims made by the author(s) and analyze and describe the evidence that is used to support it (must discuss at three pieces of evidence). Finally, evaluate the evidence used by the authors. The questions below should serve as a guide to help you evaluate evidence. Some questions will not be relevant to the article that you are reading.

A. Use the questions below to evaluate the evidence. First decide what type of evidence the author using. Then, describe the evidence and then analyze it. The questions below will help you analyze and evaluate the argument.
• Is the evidence based on generalization?
• Is the evidence based on analogy, specific cases, personal experience or anecdote?
• Is the evidence based on authority?
o The author uses an authority figure (another author, a doctor, an academic) or an institutional authority to support claims
• Does the author provide empirical evidence? Is the evidence based on experimental data? Observational data? Survey data? To evaluate empirical evidence consider the questions below.
o Is a causal claims made?
§ If yes, is a causal claim possible? Was random assignment used?
o Is a correlational claim made?
§ If yes, are there other potential explanations for the data (e.g., potential third variables)?
o Decide if the evidence is generalizable (e.g., external validity)
§ Is the data robust? Can it replicate in a number of settings with different samples (e.g., is there overreliance a specific sample)
§ Is it ecologically valid? Would it happen in real life, outside of the lab?
§ Is it relevant? Does it matter? Are the findings useful for solving problems or improving the quality of life?

B. Why is the author using this evidence? Is it convincing?

C. To write an argument analysis, describe the main claims and explain how the author supports each claim.
• What are the main claims?
• How does the author support and/or advance the argument?
• How convincing is the evidence used to support the author’s claims?


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