This comparative paper will help you weigh textual evidence more carefully as you examine the different treatments two writers give the same subject. You will be analyzing two of our assigned texts, “Free Speech is Flunking Out on College Campuses” by Rampell and “Restoring Free Speech on Campus” by Stone and Creely. Allow some of the following questions to guide your analysis:
Dispute over Facts
Do the authors basically disagree on certain facts? Can you resolve the conflict for the reader? Illustrate. Do the writers seem to have had access to the same facts? Did one writer have unique access?
Did one writer base conclusions on a narrow range of facts, thereby reaching a possibly distorted conclusion? Do both writers ignore something that seems obvious to you? Does one writer rely heavily on unusual or obscure facts to reach conclusions?
Disputes about Evidence
Are the writers agreeing on the same set of facts and making (roughly) the same selection of facts but reaching different conclusions? Are the conclusions of one writer more logical? Explain.
Is either writer an advocate of a special interest group? Has that commitment to a cause interfered with the writer’s apparent interest in the truth? Illustrate. Does either writer distort the picture? Which writer presents a more complete, more balanced view of the topic? How does language, selection of detail, arrangement of detail, emotionalism betray the writer’s position and evaluation of the evidence selected?
Differences in Patterns of Thought
Does either writer make clear a fundamental way of looking at things? Does the writer have an identifiable political, religious, or philosophical perspective?
For this essay, you will need to produce a thesis statement which should be underlined. Think of the thesis statement of a one sentence preview of the argument you will make in your essay. Be sure to provide specific detail in the thesis to better forecast the content of the paper.
Additionally, you will want to be sure that each of your body paragraphs begins with a strong topic sentence that identifies the paragraph’s content to the reader. Think of your topic sentence as a mini-thesis. Remember to use the PIE paragraph structure we talked about this week to provide strong claims, specific examples from the text, and then explicit explanation of their significance.