Critical Analysis Forms Comprehensive Argument - College Essay Example

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Appendix E

Critical Analysis Forms

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Source 1 Title and Citation: Teen Marijuana Use Is a Serious Threat
Teen Marijuana Use Is a Serious Threat.”Opposing Viewpoints: Teen Drug Abuse.  Pamela Willwerth Aue. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Apollo Library. 27 Feb. 2009
<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010436210&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=apollo&version=1.0>.

1

Identify the principal issue presented by the source.
Marijuana is a bigger threat to young people than any other illegal drug.

2

Identify any examples of bias presented by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
The author has presented a number of claims that are biased in that they are all based on his preconceived beliefs in his role within the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and are all presented as foregone conclusions, many of which are subjective.

3

Identify any areas that are vague or ambiguous. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
Many of his claims and assertions are ambiguous in that they are open to more than one interpretation. For example, his reference to 45% of reckless drivers, not having consumed alcohol, tested positive for marijuana, is open to interpretation. 45% of how many? How many due to alcohol in comparison to marijuana?

4

Do you find the source credible? Explain your reasoning.
On first reading, I found this article credible in so far as the experience and position of the author, but after studying it, I find that many of the claims and convictions are not substantiated and lack objectivity and accuracy – particularly his reference to the seven truths. Many of his claims are in effect value judgments and not substantiated facts.

5

Identify and name any rhetorical devices used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
In order to persuade his readers to believe his convictions, the author uses emotively charged language, such as ‘powerful threat to exacerbate the problem’ and ‘doomed to fail,’ to connote feelings of concern for the problem of marijuana. He uses a number dysphemisms and hyperbole to highlight and exaggerate the unfavorable aspects of marijuana.

6

Identify and name any fallacies used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
This article is predominantly an argument based outrage, using scare tactics. The author begs the question when he claims that the ‘best way to make a difference is for local leaders … to take a stand publicly and tell Americans the truth,’  He uses straw man appeals to convince his readers, when he presents his seven truth assertions.

7

State one argument made by the author.
Marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to use of cocaine and heroin

8

Identify the premises and conclusion of the argument.
99% of  hard drug users started with Marijuana

People who use Marijuana are more likely to use cocaine, heroin and need treatment for drug dependency

Therefore marijuana is a gateway drug.

9

Is the author’s argument valid or invalid, sound or unsound, strong or weak? Explain how you determined this.

The author’s argument is a valid deductive argument wherein the two premises, being true prove the conclusion.

10

Does the author use moral reasoning? If not, explain how you determined this.

The author makes a number of moral judgments but his moral reasoning is weak because his claims are not credible.

Source 2 Title and Citation: There is no Youth Marijuana Crisis
There Is No Youth Marijuana Crisis.”Current Controversies: Illegal Drugs.  Charles P. Cozic. San Diego: Greenhaven

Press, 1998. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Apollo Library. 27 Feb. 2009
<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=

EJ3010051208&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=apollo&version=1.0>.

1

Identify the principal issue presented by the source.

The use of marijuana by young people is not ‘soaring toward epidemic proportions.’

2

Identify any examples of bias presented by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

There does not appear to be any example of bias. The author has clearing provided opposing claims and refuted them with substantiated arguments.

3

Identify any areas that are vague or ambiguous. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

The article is not vague or ambiguous – each claim and counter claim is clear and precise.

4

Do you find the source credible? Explain your reasoning.

I find this source credible and am able to make reasonable judgments based on the statistical data provided from reliable sources in support of the author’s claims.

5

Identify and name any rhetorical devices used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

The author convincingly persuades his readers to accept his viewpoint without the use of rhetorical devices apart from a slight propensity to ridicule the opposition with weak sarcasm, such as when he states they ‘Apparently …don’t possess very long memories.’

6

Identify and name any fallacies used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

The author has no need of fallacies and has been able to present his claims, opinions and beliefs with relevant considerations and substantiated convictions.

7

State one argument made by the author.

Marijuana is not a ‘gate-way’ drug.

8

Identify the premises and conclusion of the argument.
Some narcotic users have used marijuana

Most marijuana users have not used other narcotic drugs

Therefore marijuana is not a gate-way rug.

9

Is the author’s argument valid or invalid, sound or unsound, strong or weak? Explain how you determined this.

This is a weak inductive argument wherein the premises, if they are true, may support the conclusion.

10

Does the author use moral reasoning? If not, explain how you determined this.

The author does not use moral reasoning but simply provides facts and figures to present his claims.

Source 3 Title and Citation: Homelessness is not Society’s Problem
Homelessness Is Not Society’s Problem.”Opposing Viewpoints: The Homeless.  Jennifer A. Hurley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Apollo Library. 27 Feb. 2009
<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010235206&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=apollo&version=1.0>.

1

Identify the principal issue presented by the source.

Homeless activists/supporters have inflated the extent and seriousness of  homelessness

2

Identify any examples of bias presented by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
The entire article is biased, in that the author continually speaks of  ‘liberals and homeless advocates’ in a derogatory manner. He proves prejudice towards them and presents every claim with a foregone conclusion.

3

Identify any areas that are vague or ambiguous. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

Certain claims cry out for clarification.

 i.e.’’… before then it was not a crisis or even a problem.’ The terms crisis and problem are vague in that they denote differing meanings and implications to different people.

i.e. ’They prefer the mythical ‘freedom’ of the streets…’ How do we define this mythical freedom? Mythical by whose terms?

4

Do you find the source credible? Explain your reasoning.

Although the author did manage to provide some plausible claims backed by convincing evidence, i.e. statistics from the Urban Institute and the U.S. Census Bureau, most of the article lacked credibility in objectivity and accuracy. One example is his claim that the homeless believe that society owes them and as a result have become offensive and violent. Such a claim lacks veracity and credibility.

5

Identify and name any rhetorical devices used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
The author uses a number of rhetorical devices, some of which are illustrated below:

Rhetorical definitions:  ‘…media lapdogs,’ ‘Machiavellian charade,’ ‘faceless corporations,’ evil Republicans,’ ‘selfish society,’

Innuendo: ‘They delight in telling us …’ ‘this group elicits

6

Identify and name any fallacies used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
The most apparent fallacy in this article is one of ‘ad hominem.’ The author continually refutes the ‘homeless advocates’ and the ‘liberals’ in his attempts to sway the reader to believe his claims. He makes a number of hasty generalizations, such as ‘this group elicits the most support for their cause,’ and ‘by all accounts it is to the Left’s advantage that the homeless stay homeless.’ By repeatedly presenting the opposing side of the issue he is perhaps misplacing the burden of proof.

7

State one argument made by the author.

Homelessness is caused by a lack of personal responsibility and therefore should not be society’s problem to control

8

Identify the premises and conclusion of the argument.

Lack of personal responsibility causes homelessness

Most homeless people are not willing to assume responsibility

Therefore it should not be society’s problem to control

9

Is the author’s argument valid or invalid, sound or unsound, strong or weak? Explain how you determined this.

The author’s inductive argument is invalid because his premises are unsound and not substantiated sufficiently to be credible or true. If his premises are not valid then the conclusion cannot be valid.

10

Does the author use moral reasoning? If not, explain how you determined this.

The author repeatedly places moral judgments on ‘homeless advocates and liberals,’ but his reasoning is based on a jumble of his own viewpoints focusing more on utilitarian concerns.

Source 4 Title and Citation:  Lack of Affordable Housing Causes Homelessness
“Lack of Affordable Housing Causes Homelessness.”Opposing Viewpoints: The Homeless.  Jennifer A. Hurley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Apollo Library. 27 Feb. 2009
<http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=

EJ3010235213&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=apollo&version=1.0>.

1

Identify the principal issue presented by the source.
Homelessness in the United States stems from the lack of affordable housing for the poor.

2
Identify any examples of bias presented by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
The author works for a newspaper that supports socialism as the answer to troubles in society, and thus has a predisposition to the issue of homelessness and its cause. This is apparent in his article, wherein he presents biased assumptions, such as when he refers to politicians and the media having ‘painted a negative portrait of the homeless.’

3

Identify any areas that are vague or ambiguous. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

Many of the author’s claims are vague or ambiguous and require clarification either semantically or syntactically. For example, in reference to the definition of homelessness and stereotypes – his definitions and not necessarily those of others.

4

Do you find the source credible? Explain your reasoning.

No, I didn’t find the article credible and read it with skepticism because the author has loaded his argument with subjective assumptions, value judgments and statements that are unsubstantiated.

5

Identify and name any rhetorical devices used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.

In order to persuade his readers to believe his convictions, the author uses innuendos. For example, when he refers to pedestrians encountering the homeless – somebody selling newspapers or asking for spare change is not necessarily homeless (innuendo) and the same pedestrian many not necessarily see dozens of deserted buildings. He also appeals to the reader’s sense of pity with his emotive use of language, i.e. ‘why do some people live on giant estates … tennis courts … swimming pools while others huddle in doorways or sleep in shelters?’ and ‘ramrod their reactionary agenda.’

6

Identify and name any fallacies used by the author. If none exist, explain how you determined this.
The author appeals to the reader’s sense of pity by providing emotional appeals based on generalizations and claims that are bent or embellished (straw dog).’

He also begs the question by assuming that the statistics provided in support of his rebuttal of the stereotypical homeless person (which are unsubstantiated) obviously refute the ‘long-standing, mass media-fueled myth,’ endemic in a capitalist, profit-driven society.’  He also states that there are only two causes of homelessness (false dilemma)making an flawed either/or assumption.

7

State one argument made by the author.
People become homeless because of the inability to pay skyrocketing rents and the lack of inexpensive housing options.

8

Identify the premises and conclusion of the argument.
Rents are increasing

The working poor cannot afford high rents

Therefore people become homeless.

9

Is the author’s argument valid or invalid, sound or unsound, strong or weak? Explain how you determined this.

This is an example of a strong inductive argument wherein the premises would support the conclusion if they were true.

10

Does the author use moral reasoning? If not, explain how you determined this.

The author tries to reason morally by insinuating that stereotypes and myths associated with homelessness are wrong but his moral reasoning is fairly biased towards his own view and is thus weak.

 

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