Evaluating a Scholarly Source

The purpose of this assignment is to read, summarize, and evaluate a scholarly text (see link below).  The writer should include a brief summary of the text followed by an evaluation of that text as a useful and/or effective document for research writing.

In general, an evaluation of a scholarly source should offer an informed assessment of the text’s effectiveness based on its stated or assumed purpose.  The writer should include evidence of careful reading and note taking in a very brief summary of the text and a thorough review and assessment of the content of the article and the author’s rhetorical strategies used to present it.

The brief summary should identify the thesis statement, claim, or main idea of the text, evidence and key points to support the claim, and a description of the author’s purpose, tone, and style.  The summary should also identify the primary audience(s) of the text.

The evaluation of the text should include some or all of the following observations and considerations:

•    How clear and/or convincing is the author’s purpose for writing?  What position or argument does the author present?  What is the thesis statement or claim?
•    What evidence does the author offer to support his or her claim or position?  Does the evidence effectively support that claim?  What additional information could the writer offer?
•    What form does the author use to present her or his ideas?  (Examples: a proposal, a report, an essay, a letter, a PowerPoint presentation, a web page.)  How does the form of the text serve the author’s purpose for writing?  Is it the most effective form?  Why or why not?
•    Is the article part of a continuing debate or controversy?  What positions have people taken in the past?  How effective is this text when placed in conversation with other texts?

•    Who are the intended audiences for the text?  Who else might care about the author’s position? Describe one or more of the audiences.  Do you believe the author reaches that group?
•    Evaluate the overall effectiveness of the writer’s argument based on your membership in the reading audience.  Does the text reach you?
•    Describe the author’s tone and/or style?  Identify words or phrases that illustrate that both.  What effect does the tone and/or style have on the author’s purpose?  What effects do the author’s tone and style have on the audience?
•    How useful would this article be for a research project? Is the author credible? What qualities or strategies make the author credible? Is the evidence reliable? Identify reliable evidence and your reasons for selecting it.

LENGTH/FORMAT:  Four to five pages, double spaced; use correct MLA style for all integrated quotes and references, and include a works cited entry in correct MLA format.’

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