Paper One – Comparison of Sources


The purpose of this assignment is to practice evaluating and comparing the reliability of sources. Comparing source reliability is important because it helps you to determine which sources to use in making an argument. When writing arguments, you will engage with others who have discussed the same general subject, and presenting an argument that is supported by credible, reliable sources will help you to establish good ethos (authority) as a writer and, ultimately, to be more persuasive to your audience. You will be asked to write research-based arguments later in Engl 1102 and in future college courses (including major courses), hence our practice of source evaluation and comparison.


Assignment Requirements

For this assignment, you should complete the following tasks:

  • Select two texts—the first should be a text that we have already read and discussed in class, and the second text should address a similar topic or theme, but you should find it on your own. For example, you could select “Should Everyone Go to College?” and another text that also makes an argument about the benefits or drawbacks of universal college attendance in the United States.
  • Review the handouts on rhetorical appeals, logical fallacies, and source evaluation, available on the D2L site for our course under ContentàCourse notes and handouts.
  • Write a comparative evaluation of both texts that shows a) which of the two is more credible and/or persuasive, and b) makes a larger point about the two articles. This larger point can be a general statement about non-fiction argumentative texts or it can be specific to the subject of the two articles; whatever larger point you decide to make should respond to the ‘so what?’ question for your paper.

Your paper should be a minimum of 1200 words and no longer than 1400 words (4-5 pages). It should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins and appropriate source citation in MLA, Chicago, or APA format. If you are unsure of how to cite the article properly, you may ask me or consult the Purdue OWL:


Grading Criteria

Here is the rubric I will use to grade your essays. This paper:

  • Contains a clear thesis in its introduction that is supported by body paragraphs and reinforced by the essay’s conclusion (10 points)
  • Presents a logical analysis and evaluation of the arguments (20 points)
  • Supports general claims with specific examples or evidence (20 points)
  • Is organized and cohesive, with smooth transitions between paragraphs and an overall order that makes sense to the reader (10 points)
  • Responds to the ‘so what?’ question (10 points)
  • Uses appropriate academic language, has been proofread/edited, and is free of grammatical or spelling errors (10 points)
  • Is properly formatted—double-spaced, written in a standard and consistent font and size with 1-inch margins on all sides, contains no excess spacing between paragraphs—with correct in-text and bibliographic citations in MLA or Chicago format (10 points)
  • Is within the required word count for the assignment (10 points)


Due Dates

Paper One will be due on Friday, February 14, 2020, and should be uploaded to D2L by the start of class that day.

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