toonalysis – 25%

For this paper, you will write an argument analyzing the merits of a cartoon series of your choosing.

This research paper (5-7 pages in length) asks you to not only apply your argumentative skills and abilities, but also to hone and develop your research skills. This assignment is challenging in that it asks you to find a topic/issue/problem you are passionate about, research the arguments surrounding the topic/issue/problem, and discover a way to join and/or contribute to the conversation and arguments surrounding your topic/issue/problem.

what you will get out of the task

  • An upping of your knowledge on how to do research and construct a well-informed argument.
  • An upping of your analytical skills.
  • An understanding of how to synthesize and organize information in effective ways.

Over the course of the semester, we have read a number of evaluation arguments. These arguments ask writers to argue for specific criteria and then judge something (e.g. a text )to be good, gooder, gooderer or bad, badder, badderer. In other words, the goal of writing an evaluation is to convince readers to agree with your judgment and that your judgment is sound/valid/reasonable.

Though this is a really simple way to frame the argument into an either/or position and I’d like you to make your argument a little more complicated, you can think of an evaluative argument like this:

Something is good because it meets….criteria 1, criteria 2, and criteria 3.
Something is bad because it meets…criteria 1, criteria 2, and criteria 3.

It’s a good idea to think about evaluation arguments as though you are evaluating what a text teaches. You know, what does the text teach you about the world, about values, or about signs and rhetoric.

You might think about McDaniel’s architecture and use of space and evaluate whether or not this is a good argument for a college to make. You might ask, “What is this architecture teaching audiences about what college means?” and “Is this teaching successful?” teaches you that college means prestige through it’s use of architecture and space. This use of space can be evaluated as reaching some audiences and not reaching others. You might even write about how a different use of space or architecture could help reach audiences betterer.

Here’s another example of evaluating a text.


The Dark Knight was considered by many critics to be a film worthy of an academy award nomination because of its tremendous acting and complicated treatment of a superhero. Movie critic Roger Fleabert even writes, “Besides tremendous performances, this film complicated the superhero genre exposing a hero’s weaknesses.” Unfortunately, Fleabert is only correct about the performances. The Dark Knight is a film that doesn’t actually complicate superheroes by exposing weaknesses. Instead it is a text with a moral about super strengths that teaches an audience that money, power, technology, and the invasion of privacy is what makes a superhero.

Your research-paper has a number of components. You will write a proposal, create an annotated bibliography, and write your research-paper.

proposal – 5%

For this part of the research process, you are going to write a proposal for your research. For this class, a proposal “is like an outline of the entire research process that gives a reader a summary of the information that will be discussed in a project” (“Research proposal”). Think of this as a modified version of your lesson plan. You are going to write a proposal that is between 400-600 words that includes the following informaton. Your proposal should be composed using a similar layout with headings. I expect this to be written in formal language and be free from spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. You need to be concise.

Title (have a title for your research proposal)

Research focus

In this section, you will describe your topic/issue/problem, explain the main question you are asking about the topic/issue/problem, and explain why your topic/issue/problem is important or worth studying (100-200 words).

Previous research

In this section, describe what you have found out. Describe what’s being said on your topic/issue/problem. Describe in more detail where your piece fits in and contributes to the conversation. You know, what hasn’t been said yet that you are going to say (mention at least two different positions or views and use two sources) (100-200 words). MLA in-text citation when you mention the authors.

Research plan

For this part, you will explain a little about your research method. A research method means doing archival research at the library and/or watching shows and analyzing them and interviews and all that kinda stuff. You will list three journals you’ll use (use chapters from books and journals from the Hoover Library that are peer reviewed and/or any from this list – Harlot of the Arts, The Artifice, Women and Language, Journal of Popular Culture, New York Times, The Atlantic, TEDTalks, PBS.ORG, NPR, Feminist Frequency, ColorLines, Computers and Composition Online, and the Pop Culture Detective). Describe why you’ll use them. Then you will include a calendar that lists dates and times for you to research, complete each annotated bibliography entry, and write your paper. Include at least four hours devoted to writing your paper separated up (100-200 words).

Please cite the articles using MLA end-text citation.


Your proposal rubric.

annotated bibliography – 5%

For this, part of the assignment, you will practice your researching and writing skills by creating an annotated bibliography of four sources. These sources should be related to your research-paper topic. Your topic and the sources you choose may change as you create this bibliography. And that’s okay.You don’t have to use all of the sources you find for your annotated bibliography. Writing and research is a process that’s fluid. The most important thing is that you continue researching and adding to this bibliography. By the end it will be a sort of map regarding where your research led you.

Your annotations should look like like the example below. Please imitate the areas in bold and the indentations.

Example bibliography entry:

Drews, Marie. The Last Food on Earth: A Study in Cuisine, Politics, and Death.  Prentice Hall, 2007.

Summary (80-120 words):

This is where you write your summary. Remember a summary is not a paraphrase. It is more general than that. A summary is not opinion either. If there are any opinions, it is the author’s that you want. A summary is a brief and objective account of the author’s main claim and supporting points. It can utilize quotes but should not rely heavily on them. See A Writer’s Reference or our reading on summary for tips on writing a good summary. This is where you write your summary.

Statement of Use (50-100 words):

This is where you write your statement of use. In this portion, describe why this work is important for your research. How will you use this? What does it add? Does it support what you are researching? Is it another view? Is it a background or history of the issue or problem you are researching?

Format and expectations

  • I expect you to follow the format shown above.
  • I expect you to use MLA citation.
  • I expect your annotated bibliography to be free of grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.
  • Your bibliography should be written using a formal tone.


Your annnotated bibliography rubric is coming soon!

research paper – 15%

For your paper, you get to select the topic and the style of argument. If this seems a little confusing or overwhelming, don’t worry! We’ll have readings that will help you understand more clearly what you’ll be doing. We’ll have conferences too! But in the meantime here is an explanation of what I am expecting for your research-paper:

Format and Expectations


Your toonalysis paper rubric is coming soon!