Corn And Critical Reading



This assignment is comprised of two major components. In Part One, you will describe your worldview and how this shapes your approach to the particular article you are assessing. In Part Two you will apply your critical reading skills to a short article.

Part One – Worldview Reflection (about 450 words)

For this section of the assignment, you will need to:

  • Provide a short description of your OWN worldview, based on your response to the first question in the Worldview Exercise (i.e., answer the question: “what is my worldview?”)
  • Identify how your worldview might impact on your appreciation of the article for part two of this assignment (i.e., “what kind of influence does my worldview have on my understanding of this article?”)

Part Two – Critical Reading (about 650 words)

For the critical reading component of the assignment, you will need to download and read the following article, which is also part of your required reading for the course:

Scavia, Donald. 2015. Industrial corn farming is ruining our health and polluting our watersheds. The Conversation 

For this part of the assignment, you will need to:

  • Identify the central claims or purpose of the text: what the author is really trying to get across? What the author is trying to convince you of (as opposed to what they are trying to convince you with)?
  • Identify the context of the article you are appraising: where is the article from (and when)? Who is it written by? Who is it written for? What is it intended to do in relation to that context?
  • Discuss the kinds of reasoning and argument the text employs: How are the arguments made? What concepts or theories are used? Is any specific methodology laid out? Can you figure out the author’s underlying ontology/epistemology/axiology based on what they say?
  • Examine the evidence provided: Is there enough evidence to be convincing? Does the evidence come from a reputable, trustworthy source? Are these sources primary or secondary? Is any specific methodology for understanding or interpreting the evidence laid out?
  • Evaluate the overall quality of the article’s argument(s): Does the argument make sense? Are there any obvious errors in reasoning? Does the evidence provided actually support the claim(s)? Is the (type of) evidence appropriate to the point the author is trying to make? Are any obvious counter-arguments or points of view are being ignored? Are any unwarranted assumptions made?

You should then make an overall concluding statement about the quality and strength of the article: is the argument credible? Do you ultimately believe what the author is saying, based on what is presented?

A few additional points: first, you may find that you have too much information to fit into the page limit. In that case, make sure you are focusing your assessment of the article on the key argument(s), and use only your best examples. Similarly, if your worldview assessment is too long, focus down on the key points you would like to make. Second, there is no requirement to draw on any outside material for this assignment, but if you do draw on outside material to support your points (for example, evidence to support or contradict points in the article) it must be appropriately cited. Finally, the assignment will be evaluated on the clarity and flow of your writing (i.e., your writing style) as well as the content, so please pay attention not only to what you say, but how you say it.

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