Unit 1: Evaluation Argument—Review a movie, TV series, book, etc.
The evaluation argument that you write will 1) summarize briefly the topic selection that you are discussing, 2) analyze the primary themes and metaphors that it employs, and 3) make a reasoned personal evaluation (claim) that you support with grounds (evidence from the topic selection) and a warrant (evidence of the evaluative component). The critical component of this assignment will be your claim (which will appear in your title) and how you use evidence to support the grounds and warrant of that claim.
Topic: The topic of your evaluation paper can be a movie (full length), a TV series (a full season, not a single episode), food, restaurant, video game, product, or a book and can be domestic or international.
Claim: The claim of your paper must make an evaluative assessment of your topic selection. Evaluation parameters are subjective and are usually based on an adjectival premise (good, better, best, bad, worse, worst, silly, stupid, amazing, etc.), but heed the caveats under Warrant below. An important component of your claim is exigency— why would anyone care? Practically speaking, in order to have your review seriously considered for publication, you will want to deal with a current topic, or a classic or cult classic in a new and innovative way.
Rhetorical Situation: Once you have settled on a topic and claim, you need to consider the factors that will direct the form and flavor the tone of the paper that you write. A context for the assignment and its delivery are included here, but audience and genre will also apply here. The audience for this evaluation argument will be readers of an online newspaper, Rotten Tomatoes, or IMDb. You need to designate the website that you are writing the review for and consider that audience when writing your review. The genre is a critical review, which means that you need to make a clear claim about the topic you have chosen and support your position well. The fourth component is a qualifier, which covers any constraints that should be placed on your claim, but this component is not applicable in every paper.
Warrant: The warrant (evidence of the evaluative component) for your claim will provide evidence to support your position on what constitutes your evaluative claim. If you say something is the ‘best movie’ or ‘greatest TV show’ you must clearly define what being the ‘best’ or the ‘greatest’ involves in either of those cases. This determination is subjective, and your definition of ‘best’ or ‘greatest’ could probably be stated clearly; however, if you evaluate against ‘silly’ or ‘amazing’ or other such vague terms, the determination will most likely be problematic. Stick to a claim with an evaluative element that can be stated clearly and decisively in your paper.
Grounds: The grounds (evidence from the topic selection) that you will use to support your claim will be only your observations, thoughts, and considerations on excerpts from the topic selection. I do not care what Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb, or even The Guardian think about the topic. This is your turn to be the critic and write a paper that could be posted on one of those online sites. Your grounds must specifically address the warrant that you define.
Rebuttal: A rebuttal that argues an opposing position should be supplied, as there are always differing opinions on
every topic and claim. This counter position should be considered in earnest, and then replied to in a
Counterargument that (largely) negates its counter claim.
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