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Text Analysis Assignment

One useful way to look at written arguments is to consider the context in which the text was written. Another useful way to look at written arguments is to consider the structure of the argument. Analyzing the arguments of other authors will help you critically read more effectively and craft well-constructed arguments.

For your Text Analysis paper, that will be part of Portfolio One, you will need to complete a formal text analysis on one of the following essays using either the Toulmin Analysis model or the REALM model:

Quammen's "Dirty Word, Clean Place"
Pollan's "Why Mow? The Case Against Lawns"
Sagoff's "Nature Versus the Environment"

Please note that your text analysis should analyze an essay other than the essay you have prepared your detailed summary on. (In your portfolio you want to show your ability to write on a variety of essays and themes.)

Your text analysis will be evaluated based on the overall criteria noted in the syllabus and the following criteria that make for an effective text analysis:

  1. Your analysis must be complete, meaning you must have considered the entire text during your analysis.
  2. Your analysis must be defendable, meaning that your presentation of the author and text is accurate and unbiased.
  3. Your analysis must be clear and coherent so that your reader can understand your presentation of the author's work and your conclusions with regard to the author's text.
  4. Your analysis must be thorough, giving each prompt the attention and detail that it deserves throughout the analysis.

The Toulmin Analysis assignment is designed to familiarize you with the structure of an argument. The Toulmin method focuses on three elements of argument: claims, reasons, and evidence. It is a systematic dissection of an argument to lay out as clearly as possible the claim, supporting reasons, and evidence offered by an author.


Yourself, but remember that clarity is essential to an effective Toulmin Analysis.


Your analysis will follow the pattern laid out in Aims and promoted on our web site.


Include enough detail so that you can remember the argument fully.


Make sure the connections between the claims and reasons, between reasons and analysis of reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between objections and rebuttals are clear.


You are the primary audience, but your instructor will be reading this assignment as well. Please conform to the conventions of edited, American English. For example, your instructor will expect correct spelling and punctuation.

Rhetorical Analysis (REALM) is a careful examination of an argument to question how and why it was put together as it was. Our rhetorical analyses this semester will begin with the REALM questions presented on our web site.


Your CO300 class.


Your analysis will probably follow the pattern of the REALM questions at first. If you can see a way to revise paragraphs of analysis on each point into an essay, do so. If not, a paragraph or two on each REALM point will suffice for this portfolio.


Include enough detail in your analysis to make it convincing to others who might have reacted to the essay differently. Unsupported assertions are not acceptable in this analysis.


Make sure the connections between points of analysis and evidence are clear within each paragraph. If you revise your draft into an essay, make sure the essay, as a whole, flows smoothly, with each body paragraph supporting your overall claim and connecting one to the next.

(See Toulmin Analysis and REALM Method under Handouts on Writing Concepts on our class page.)