Mark R. Stoner
Term Paper Assignment and Complete Grading Criteria
Required, 200 points

Purpose: to apply your theoretical knowledge of criticism via a specific approach (Narrative, Genre, Dramatism, etc.) to the analysis of a rhetorical artifact to produce an essay that clearly lays out the insights discovered in your analysis.

Useful critical essays exhibit the following:


1. an introduction that orients the reader to the research question and suggests why it is important

2. a description or overview of the artifact that familiarizes the reader with the artifact

3. a description of the critical method that briefly summarizes the method and suggests why it is appropriate for answering the research question

4. a report of the findings of the analysis; what has been discovered by application of the method to the artifact

5. an interpretation of what the analysis of the artifact means and what the findings mean

6. an evaluation of the artifact; judge the degree to which the artifact met the standards of the theory applied or standards of rhetorical practice


7. the degree to which an argument is presented to support the claims made by the critic; the clarity of the claim and the relevance and strength of reasons and support given

8. the coherence/logic of the essay; the degree to which the essay flows smoothly from topic to topic leading to an insightful conclusion; appropriate use of grammar, syntax and spelling

9. the degree to which the writer acknowledges the subjectivity of the study; personal interests and biases need to be made clear

10. the degree to which you make clear the choices made by the rhetor(s) under investigation; one of the central concerns of criticism is the uncovering, analysis, and evaluation of the choices made by the rhetor


1) Be sure to number your pages on all drafts.
2) You may NOT use textbooks such as Foss= or Stoner and Perkin's as the foundational sources for the theory in your essay;
you must use original sources or relevant scholarly articles, texts, or essays. (Use the textbooks as resources to help you
learn your way around the original material.)

Criteria adapted from: Soja Foss. ARhetorical Criticism as the Asking of Questions@ Communication Education 38 (1989): 184-190; Foss, Sonja. ACriteria for Adequacy in Rhetorical Criticism.@ Southern Speech Communication Journal 48 (1983): 283-95.