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on November 7, 2008 at 1:46:30 pm


Evaluative Argument




Awash in ubiquitous information taking diverse forms, readers and writers are faced with rhetorical choices, which present themselves at a high frequency. Evaluative arguments are useful for making decisions and helping others make decisions.


If you are growing a project on a particular aspect of sustainability, you might want to use your blogging during this unit to build an evaluation of a crucial piece of your project. If you are still "trolling" for energy and ideas, you could practice/blog by critiquing a cultural artifact already familiar to you. You might, for example, make an evaluative argument about a song, or collection of songs, persuading a friend or classmate to give a close listen. Or you may instead make the case that you should receive your money back because the beats were tired, the raps cliche, and the overall tone unpleasant. Your friend will likely ask for more details, and a convincing argument from you would include a claim and a set of reasons to support the claim.


One good way to make an evaluative argument is to think about the ways you might alter the object or event being evaluated, as in "the balance and eq were close, but the bass was over the top" In this case, you imply that you would have turned the bass down.


Choose a song/collection of songs, a film (or a film trailer) and evaluate it, providing readers with a claim such as the Grey Album is an interesting concept and exercise in the remix art of "mash ups," but does not hold up under repeated listening" or "the Grey Album] provides infinite rewards." Then provide a set of reasons to justify the claim, such as "From the top, the album welcomes listeners into a labyrinth of compelling juxtapositions in timbre, and at once marks a shift in the technology and legal implications of sound production."


Note that an evaluative argument is often a causal argument in disguise: "the album's first cut causes me to become fascinated..." Filling out this argument would entail breaking down the aspects of the sound, such as timbre and vocal delivery, that cause joy and insight, or, if the evaluation takes the tack of a "diss," a sequence of reasoning that explains why the music in question rendered little or no effect. We can kickstart an evaluative process with a little bit of description, just as we did with our narratives. For example, you can list, and then describe the attributes of a piece of music or an artist's oeuvre. Evaluation sequences often resolve in suggestions: the writer offers recipes for improvement and refinement. In proposal writing, evaluations set the stage for a thesis statement, and help us organize and prioritize alternative solutions.


Remember that any evaluative argument is, like any other argument, tuned to the preferences and inclinations of particular audiences, even if you seek to transform the preferences and actions of your audiences.



If you choose a film, you could of course choose Obsession, Zeitgeist, or Money as Debt--plenty of wiki-flow to mix with already, there! But any song, play, book, a peer remix, a museum installation, policy, web site, or any text whatsoever that in some way relates to an ongoing project on this wiki will do--just make an evaluative argument about it. Establish this relationship with an analogy or a definitional argument, then, turn all of your attention to evalaution. And be as specific as possible about segments of the song of film in your discussion. Online films abound - try the Prelinger archives. Try legal torrents for free music, movies, and more.


The cover sheet for this assignment will include a rationale (answering the question "who cares?"), a brief account of your invention process (including a graphic or audio reflection), a note about the length and tone of your composition, and a set of criteria for peers to consult when they evaluate your evaluation.


okay, there are so many instructions in this page I am confused. can someone please sum it all up for me?:

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