Critical Essay Assignment

Critical Essay (background to the Concepts in 60 assignment)

The critical essay will form the bulk of your work in the second half of the semester. The essay, a minimum of 2000 words, is the major composition of the semester. You will join a conversation surrounding the chosen YouTube topic, using the moves Joseph Harris discusses in Rewriting and with which we have worked extensively in class. Your goal is not just to join this conversation, but through careful research and argumentation, contribute your own voice and ideas.


  • Argument: Is the argument specific and debatable? Does it show clearly how the essay is entering into the conversation surrounding its topic?
  • Organization: Is the argument organized logically? Do paragraphs transition clearly and employ argumentative topic sentences?
  • Evidence/Moves: Does the essay employ supporting and countering evidence to makes its argument? Does the essay use evidence persuasively? Does it exhibit the moves discussed in Rewriting: coming to terms, forwarding, countering? Is the writer’s project and audience clear?
  • Style/Mechanics: Is the essay carefully and professionally composed?
  • Documentation[1]: Are sources carefully, accurately, and ethically cited? Is the works cited page correctly and consistently formatted in the chosen style?

Components and Due Dates:

  • Proposal: Monday, 10/13
  • Draft 1: Thursday, 10/23, by class time – printed copies for peer review (aim for 1350-1500 words, worth 50 points)
  • Draft 2: Friday, 10/31, by 12:00 pm
  • Final Draft & Revision Letter: Friday, 11/14, by 11:59 pm

[1] Note about citation style: This is a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with the citation style used in your discipline (your major). Ex: English uses MLA, History uses Chicago, Psychology uses APA. Consult me if you are unsure of which manual to use.