Argument Analysis – Keen Papers

Analyze both articles
Choose one or two central claims made by the author(s) and describe and analyze the evidence that is
used to support it (i.e., for the assignment discuss at three pieces of evidence). Finally, evaluate the
evidence used by the authors. The questions below should serve as a guide to help you evaluate evidence.
Some questions will not be relevant to the article that you are reading.
A. Use the questions below to evaluate the evidence. First decide what type of evidence the author using.
Then, describe the evidence and then analyze it. The questions below will help you analyze and
evaluate the argument.
 Is the evidence based on generalization?
 Is the evidence based on analogy, specific cases, personal experience or anecdote?
 Is the evidence based on authority?
o The author uses an authority figure (another author, a doctor, an academic) or an
institutional authority to support claims
 Does the author provide empirical evidence? Is the evidence based on experimental data?
Observational data? Survey data? To evaluate empirical evidence consider the questions below.
o Is a causal claims made (recall that only true experiments allow for causal inferences)?
 If yes, is a causal claim possible? Was random assignment used? Was an
experiment used?
o Is a correlational claim made (recall these are claims about the strength and/or direction
of a relationship between two or more variables)?
 If yes, are there other potential explanations for the data (e.g., potential third
o Decide if the evidence/data is generalizable (e.g., is the data externally valid)
 Is the data robust? Can it replicate in a number of settings with different samples
(e.g., is there overreliance a specific sample)?
 Is it ecologically valid? Would it happen in real life, outside of the lab?
 Is it relevant? Does it matter? Are the findings useful for solving problems or
improving the quality of life?
B. Why is the author using this evidence? Is it convincing?
C. To write an argument analysis, describe the main claims and explain how the author supports each
 What are the main claims? (describe the main claims)
 How does the author support and/or advance the argument?  (describe the evidence)
 What kind of evidence is used to support the claim?  (evaluate the evidence)
 Based on your evaluation of the evidence, how convincing is the evidence used to support the
author’s claims?  (what are your conclusions)
You may use the structure below to develop your writing. Please note that your argument analysis will
likely be much longer than that below. The paragraph below is simply an outline. Remember, you will
need to turn in two of these papers (one for each side of the debate). Write it up and turn in both analyses
in the same word document.
Argument Analysis Template
_____________ ________________________that _________________________________
(citation: last name(s) and year) (verb, e.g., claims, asserts, argues) (paraphrase the main claim(s))
He/she _______________________ this claim by first ____________________________________.
(supports, develops) (explain/describe the evidence)
Then, ___________________________________________________________________________.
(explain/describe the evidence)
_______________________ purpose is to ____________________________________________
(citation: last name(s) and year)
_____________in order to _________________________________________________________
(what does the author want the audience to do, think, or feel as a result of this paper)
The evidence in support of this claim is _______________ for the following reasons.
First, __________________________________________. Further,______________________________
(evaluate the type of evidence used, and why it is strong or flawed) (evaluate another piece of evidence and
_________________________________________. Finally, _________________________________
it’s strengths or flaws) (evaluate the type of evidence used, and why it is strong or flawed)

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