Critical Writing - 1st year

A Writing Intensive course on critical thinking, focusing on the techniques and principles of persuasive writing for academic purposes. The course emphasizes: principles of logical argument, advanced rhetorical modes, critical reasoning, and effective use of source material, research and citation skills, and stylistics.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Compose a clear, coherent, unified argumentative essay;

2. Demonstrate understanding of and employ rhetorical modes including:
narration, description, illustration, comparison/contrast, division and classification,
analysis, definition, process analysis, cause and effect;

3. Compose effective thesis statements;

4. Demonstrate understanding of and employ principles of logic, including:
induction and deduction, premise, inference, claims and warrants;

5. Recognize logical fallacies;

6. Apply techniques of effective persuasion, including acknowledging counter-arguments, making concessions, using appropriate tone;

7. Critically evaluate rhetorical writing to recognize emotional appeals, distinguish fact from opinion, identify assumptions, stereotypes, generalizations and biases;

8. Employ the various stages of the writing process, including brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising and editing;

9. Employ various forms of support for claims, including concrete, significant and specific examples, illustrations, anecdotes, facts and reasons, expert opinion;

10. Perform, evaluate, integrate and document research;

11. Read, evaluate and discuss readings;

12. Identify effective writing techniques in his or her own essays and in peer writing;


Course topics will include the following:

1. Critical reading (evaluating readings for rhetorical strategies and argumentative integrity)

2. Rhetorical modes

3. Writing process (brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, editing)

4. Thesis statements

5. Techniques of persuasion: supporting claims, acknowledging counter-arguments, making concessions

6. Logical argument and logical fallacy

7. Research skills

8. Stylistics (syntax, vocabulary, conciseness, creating interest, tone)

9. Correct paper formatting

10. Grammar & mechanics as needed

11. Responding to and discussing assigned readings

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Seminar discussion

3. In-class composition

4. Peer-revision

5. Assigned readings

6. Computer-assisted instruction

7. Independent reading

8. Journal writing

Types of Assignments:

1. Papers

2. Short papers

3. MLA documented research paper

4. Informal writing assignments, such as responses to readings or journal writing

5. Assigned readings

6. Independent reading

7. Class presentation