EXTENDED CRITICAL RESPONSE ESSAY (using multiple sources)
Length: 1000 words minimum – 1150 words maximum
Value: 35% of the final grade
First Draft due: Monday, December 1
Final Draft due: Wednesday, December 10
In his article “Small Change”, Malcolm Gladwell argues that the changes brought about by the social media may give us access to more information, but do not promote “strategic and disciplined activity”; rather, they promote adaptability and resilience (12). He adds that the internet/social media make it easier for people to express themselves but harder for this expression to have any impact (Gladwell, 12).
Write an Extended Critical Response Essay in which you respond to Gladwell’s view of the role of the internet/ social media in our way of thinking and acting as members of communities today.
Apart from your background knowledge and your personal observations and experience, you will use 3-4 sources to support your response. In this way you will handle multiple points of view on the particular subject and present a logical and sound argumentative position of your own.
You may choose from the following list of sources:
Blyth, Catherine. “Facebook ‘friends’ are fine, but the more we chat the less we say”. The Independent. February 22, 2009.
Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Norton Reader, shorter 13th ed., New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012.
Cooper, Paul M.M. “Our attention spans aren’t getting shorter, and that’s bad news for the short story”. whatalotofbirds.wordpress.com. June 3, 2014.
Gladwell, Malcolm. “Small Change”. The New Yorker. October 4, 2010.
Naím, Moisés. “The YouTube Effect”. Foreign Policy. December 27, 2006
Naughton, John. “The internet: is it changing the way we think?” The Observer. August 15, 2010.
VIDEOS (TED speeches)
Shirky, Clay. “How social media can make history”.
Shirky, Clay. “How the Internet will (one day) transform government”.
In this assignment, you are asked to respond to an author’s argument by using multiple readings to support your opinion. In order to respond to an argument you need to have understood what the author wants to say and to summarize their position before you present and support your own. In this way your reader will know what you are responding to and why. Your summary skills will be useful when you use other people’s claims to support your own position, as will be your skills in critically evaluating other people’s ideas.
1) Read Gladwell’s article carefully, annotate it, and identify the passages in it that are most relevant to the presentation of your response to his main argument.
2) Formulate a brief statement of personal response: in your opinion, what are the strong and what are the weak points of his argument? On what points do you agree and on what points do you disagree with him?
3) Choose 3-4 readings/sources from the list above and carefully review them. How can you use the information in these sources to shape a well-supported response to Gladwell’s argument? Identify which passages, in the form of quotations or paraphrases, you want to use in your essay.
4) Make an outline for your essay, which will include all of Gladwell’s points to which you will respond by agreeing, disagreeing, or both, as well as references to the other sources you will be drawing from.
5) Draft your essay in the following way:
• Introduction: you should mention here the title, author, publication venue and date of the article you are responding to. Offer a brief summary of the author’s argument and then state your thesis, presenting your response (agreeing/disagreeing/both) and the reasons behind it.
• Body Paragraphs: the body paragraphs should support your thesis. Remember that with each topic sentence you will be stating which of the author’s points you will respond to and what your response will be. Use your personal experience/knowledge as well as the sources you have chosen to provide evidence and support your topic sentence. Don’t forget to cite the sources you are using accordingly.
• Conclusion: In your conclusion you can restate your response and provide a comment on the overall debate.
6) Review the essay for spelling and grammar errors and ensure that you have used your own words throughout it, unless you are quoting from one of your sources. Make sure that you have provided plausible support for your opinion and that you have used the articles/videos provided for this purpose. Test your essay for plagiarism by reviewing the articles and ensuring that you have not lifted any sentences verbatim, unless you are quoting them appropriately.
7) Include a WORKS CITED page where you will cite all the sources you have used (MLA style). Don’t forget to include your name, title of course, instructor’s name, date, and word count on the left-hand corner of the first page.
Tips & Warnings
• Assume that your reader is a person who has not read the articles, so you need to introduce and explain the ideas/claims you are responding to or using as supports.
• Each one of your body paragraphs should be focused, include a clear topic sentence, and discuss a particular point you want to make.
• Use simple and clear language to make your essay understandable.
• Refer to chapters 4 and 5 of They Say/I Say for tips on how to respond and for useful templates.
• Make sure you use appropriate transitions, both within and between your paragraphs.
• Cite the sources that you have used using the MLA format.
• Make sure your essay is formatted according to the Manuscript and Format Requirements.
Your essay must be submitted three times in identical versions: electronically (twice) in Word document format on Blackboard (in the assignment folder as well as in Turnitin) and in hard copy to me in class.
Electronic submissions in inappropriate or corrupted formats are inadmissible and do not constitute a valid reason for extension of the deadline.
To receive a passing grade for this assignment, you must submit:
• preparatory prewriting work, such as short homework assignments and informal in-class reading/writing activities (marked with a √+, √, or √-);
• a first version of the paper (marked with comments). A first draft of an essay is defined as a complete version of the essay that meets the specifications of the assignment.
• a substantial revision of the paper (marked with comments and a letter grade). Revising your writing means to make significant conceptual and rhetorical