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COMM 114 – Argument and Critical Discourse – Fall 2015

COMM 114 – Argument and Critical Discourse – Fall 2015


The COMM 114 second (and last) exam consists of three sections: Short Answer, the Policy Deliberation Team Experience, and Argument Evaluation/Criticism. The last exam is worth a maximum of 180 points. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS AND FOLLOW THEM CAREFULLY.


One. Your exam should be typed. It should be in an 11 or 12 point font and double spaced.

Two. Your recitation instructor has specific submission requirements. Instructors Corrina Ward, Stephanie Saracco, and James Roberts want HARD (paper) copies of exams submitted by 8 PM (2000) Pacific on Wednesday 09 December to them in-person at their Shepard Hall office or placed in their Shepard Hall mailbox. Rebecca Goodman and Matthew Rosenberg want exams submitted through the Canvas platform. Consult with your instructor for more specific submission instructions. Do NOT put your exam in Prof. Walker’s mailbox.

Three. Your exam is due by 8 PM (2000) Pacific on Wednesday 09 December 2015. A late exam will lose 10% of its earned points (e.g., a score of 160 becomes 144). Exams will not be accepted after 4 PM Pacific (1600) on Thursday 10 December 2015.

Four. You must submit your unique and original work. Your exam is an individual exercise, not a team project. If two or more students submit the same answers, all will experience the consequences.

Five. As you write your exam answers, indicate course concepts with bold type. For example, if a question asked about how arguers used different kinds of evidence in the Policy Deliberations, an answer might state: “Policy deliberation arguers used statistics to establish a need for change and testimony from qualified sources to prove solvency.”

THE EXAM (questions and sections)

Section One. Short Answer (40 points max.)
This section contains questions drawn from the lecture and textbook material covered SINCE the midterm.
1. What are five common argument fallacies? Define them. (10)
2. What are the characteristics of an argument field? (5)
3. What is refutation? How does it relate to advocacy? (5)
4. What are five social media argument factors? (5)
5. Explain one important aspect of argumentation in interpersonal relationships and explain one important aspect of argumentation in businesses and organizations. (5)
6. What are three arguer orientations? (5)
7. Identify and explain two argument concepts you could use to evaluate the arguments in Rick Steves’ TED talk about travel. (5)

COMM 114 last exam – page 2

Section Two. The Policy Deliberation Team (PDT) experience (40 points max.)
This section features questions that relate to your policy deliberation assignment; your experience as an arguer AND as an audience member.

1. You listened to four teams participate in policy deliberations. Rank order the four teams in terms of their argumentation competence and explain (justify) your rankings. Be clear about the standards you used to develop your ranking (for example, use of evidence, refutation skills). (20)

2. What did the PDT arguers (including you and your teammates) do to establish credibility? Provide examples. (10)

3. In what ways could the Policy Deliberation Team (PDT) assignment be improved? Explain your recommendation(s). (10)

Section Three. Argument Evaluation and Criticism (100 points max.)
In this section you will use your knowledge of argumentation and its concepts to evaluate an argument text. Specifically, you should evaluate and constructively criticize one of the following essays or speeches. After you have selected a speech or essay, evaluate it; present a critical analysis.

Your argument evaluation should include THREE steps:

ONE. Select ONE of these four argument presentations.
1. “Republican suicide.” An editorial column by Mona Charen.
2. “The evolution of simplicity.” An editorial column by David Brooks.
3. “Why climate change is a threat to human rights.” A TED talk by Mary Robinson.
4. “Women, wartime, and the dream of peace.” A TED talk by Zainab Salbi.

TWO. DEVELOP, PRESENT, AND EXPLAIN YOUR CRITICAL FRAMEWORK for evaluating the argumentation in the editorial column or TED talk that you selected.

THREE. APPLY YOUR CRITICAL FRAMEWORK. Use your framework as your critical perspective; evaluate the argumentation according to your framework.
REMINDER: Submit your exam to your COMM 114 instructor. Do NOT send your exam to Professor Walker or put it in his mailbox.

Thank you for taking COMM 114. Have a great Winter Break!

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