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Assignment #1: Analyzing an Argument

First Draft Due:September 26th for peer review exercise (must be a minimum of 3 pages)

Final Draft Due:October 3rd (5-6 pages)

Public Thinking is a chapter from Clive Thompsons recent book Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better. While some have suggested that social media is causing a decline in literacy, Thompson claims that social media is improving the way we write, think, argue, and share ideas. In this essay you will analyze and evaluate Thompsons argument. Your paper should do the following:

  1. Describe Thompsons project and argument, and his most important or interesting sub-claims. Explain how these sub-claims relate to the overall argument.

  2. Analyze and evaluate the way he supports his claims, and the strategies he employs to persuade his audience.

  3. Consider the way Thompson organizes his text and deals with opposing views.

  4. Use an effective structure that carefully guides the reader from one idea to the next, and be thoroughly edited so that sentences are readable and appropriate for an academic audience.

You should focus on the text’s argument and how it is constructed, not merely what it’s about.

Key learning outcomes:

Students will be able to describe and analyze an authors argument, claims, project, support and rhetorical strategies.

Peer Review Workshop:

September 26:Please bring two copies for the peer review. There will also be a reflection exercise attached to this.

Portfolio and Final Draft:

October 3: Bring final draft and both copies from the peer review workshop. Include all drafts in your portfolio ready to turn in at the beginning of class.


These meetings are mandatory. You will come with at least one question about your essay. This will be included with your reflection from the peer workshop. Both need to be typed on one page and handed to me during our meeting.


MLA format: Times New Roman, size 12 font, 1-inch margin, double-spaced, last name-page #, stapled, etc

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