Recognizing an Argument: Citing, Outlining, and Summarizing a Public Writing Source

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This Part 1 assignment asks you to cite, outline, and summarize a public writing source on the broad topic area: Health and Wellbeing. For the purpose of this assignment, public writing is identified as an argument that is written and published on a popular website or local newspaper. Public writing does not submit to an academic peer review process.

You will first locate a public writing article that addresses a complex issue that would fall under the broad topic area: Health and Wellbeing. The article you choose should be at least 500 words in length.

Begin by citing your source accurately. Read the article thoroughly before outlining the author’(s) main claim and the evidence that supports this argument. Pay attention to the way the article is organized so that your outline reflects the claim(s) and evidence in a logical way.

After you have outlined the article, you will summarize the article in five sentences. To complete this summary, use the rhetorical summary model as a guide.


The purpose of this page is to show you how to write a rhetorical summary, evaluate source credibility and usefulness, and finally write a complete annotation. Your instructor may want you to use an alternative format. Ask your instructor before you use this template.

Rhetorical Summary (1st Paragraph)

Before you begin: Cite the article in the format requested by your instructor.

Sentence 1: Author’s name, title of work and publishing information (in parentheses), an accurate verb, and a clause that contains the thesis statement/main idea of the work.

Sentences 2-3: Explain the arguments that support the thesis/main idea of the work, as well as the evidence the author uses to support those arguments.

Sentence 4: State the author’s purpose for writing the work.

Sentence 5: Describe the intended audience for the work. You can use the type of publication you found the work in to help you determine the audience. Sometimes authors even state the intended audience for you.

Credibility and Usefulness (2nd paragraph)

Sentence 1: State how this resource fits with similar scholarship. For example, discuss how this source relates to other things you are reading or investigating.

Sentence 2: Explain how you will use this source in your research project.

Sentence 3-4: Evaluate the credibility of the source and its author.

Sentence 5: List any questions this source does not answer about the topic, or further research that this source has inspired you to investigate.

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