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Writing Guide with Handbook

7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation

Writing Guide with Handbook7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation

Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. The Things We Carry: Experience, Culture, and Language
    1. 1 Unit Introduction
    2. 1 The Digital World: Building on What You Already Know to Respond Critically
      1. Introduction
      2. 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
      3. 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
      4. 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
      5. 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
      6. 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
      7. 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
      8. 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
      9. 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    3. 2 Language, Identity, and Culture: Exploring, Employing, Embracing
      1. Introduction
      2. 2.1 Seeds of Self
      3. 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
      4. 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
      5. 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
      6. 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
      7. 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
      8. 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
      9. 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    4. 3 Literacy Narrative: Building Bridges, Bridging Gaps
      1. Introduction
      2. 3.1 Identity and Expression
      3. 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
      4. 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
      5. 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
      6. 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
      7. 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
      8. 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
      9. 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
      10. 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
      13. Works Consulted
  3. Bridging the Divide Between Personal Identity and Academia
    1. 2 Unit Introduction
    2. 4 Memoir or Personal Narrative: Learning Lessons from the Personal
      1. Introduction
      2. 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
      3. 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
      4. 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
      5. 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
      6. 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
      7. 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
      8. 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
      9. 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
      10. 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    3. 5 Profile: Telling a Rich and Compelling Story
      1. Introduction
      2. 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
      3. 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
      4. 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
      5. 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
      6. 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
      7. 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
      8. 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
      9. 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
      10. 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
      11. Works Cited
    4. 6 Proposal: Writing About Problems and Solutions
      1. Introduction
      2. 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
      3. 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
      4. 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
      5. 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
      6. 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
      7. 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
      8. 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
      9. 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
      10. 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    5. 7 Evaluation or Review: Would You Recommend It?
      1. Introduction
      2. 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
      3. 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
      4. 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
      5. 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
      6. 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
      7. 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
      8. 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
      9. 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
      10. 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    6. 8 Analytical Report: Writing from Facts
      1. Introduction
      2. 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
      3. 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
      4. 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
      5. 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
      6. 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
      7. 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
      8. 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
      9. 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
      10. 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    7. 9 Rhetorical Analysis: Interpreting the Art of Rhetoric
      1. Introduction
      2. 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
      3. 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
      4. 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
      5. 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
      6. 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
      7. 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
      8. 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
      9. 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
      10. 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    8. 10 Position Argument: Practicing the Art of Rhetoric
      1. Introduction
      2. 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
      3. 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
      4. 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
      5. 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
      6. 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
      7. 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
      8. 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
      9. 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
      10. 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    9. 11 Reasoning Strategies: Improving Critical Thinking
      1. Introduction
      2. 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
      3. 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
      4. 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
      5. 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
      6. 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
      7. Further Reading
      8. Works Cited
    10. 12 Argumentative Research: Enhancing the Art of Rhetoric with Evidence
      1. Introduction
      2. 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
      3. 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
      4. 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
      5. 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
      6. 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
      7. 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
      8. 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
      9. 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
      10. 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    11. 13 Research Process: Accessing and Recording Information
      1. Introduction
      2. 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
      3. 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
      4. 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
      5. 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
      6. 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
      7. 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
      8. Further Reading
      9. Works Cited
    12. 14 Annotated Bibliography: Gathering, Evaluating, and Documenting Sources
      1. Introduction
      2. 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
      3. 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
      4. 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
      5. 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
      6. Further Reading
      7. Works Cited
    13. 15 Case Study Profile: What One Person Says About All
      1. Introduction
      2. 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
      3. 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
      4. 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
      5. 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
      6. 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
      7. 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
      8. 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
      9. 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
      10. 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
  4. Navigating Rhetoric in Real Life
    1. 3 Unit Introduction
    2. 16 Print or Textual Analysis: What You Read
      1. Introduction
      2. 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
      3. 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
      4. 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
      5. 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
      6. 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
      7. 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
      8. 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
      9. 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
      10. 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    3. 17 Image Analysis: What You See
      1. Introduction
      2. 17.1 “Reading” Images
      3. 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
      4. 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
      5. 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
      6. 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
      7. 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
      8. 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
      9. 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
      10. 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
      11. Further Reading
      12. Works Cited
    4. 18 Multimodal and Online Writing: Creative Interaction between Text and Image
      1. Introduction
      2. 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
      3. 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
      4. 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
      5. 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
      6. 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
      7. 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
      8. 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
      9. 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    5. 19 Scripting for the Public Forum: Writing to Speak
      1. Introduction
      2. 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
      3. 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
      4. 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
      5. 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
      6. 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
      7. 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
      8. 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
      9. 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
    6. 20 Portfolio Reflection: Your Growth as a Writer
      1. Introduction
      2. 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
      3. 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
      4. 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
      5. 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
      6. 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
      7. 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
      8. 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
      9. 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context
      10. Further Reading
      11. Works Cited
  5. Handbook
  6. Index

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify and define common characteristics, mediums, key terms, and features of the review genre.
  • Identify criteria and evidence to support reviews of different primary sources.

Reviews vary in style and content according to the subject, the writer, and the medium. The following are characteristics most frequently found in reviews:

  • Focused subject: The subject of the review is specific and focuses on one item or idea. For example, a review of all Marvel Cinematic Universe movies could not be contained in the scope of a single essay or published review not only because of length but also because of the differences among them. Choosing one specific item to review—a single film or single topic across films, for instance—will allow you to provide a thorough evaluation of the subject.
  • Judgment or evaluation: Reviewers need to deliver a clear judgment or evaluation to share with readers their thoughts on the subject and why they would or would not recommend it. An evaluation can be direct and explicit, or it can be indirect and subtle.
  • Specific evidence: All reviews need specific evidence to support the evaluation. Typically, this evidence comes in the form of quotations and vivid descriptions from the primary source, or subject of the review. Reviewers often use secondary sources—works about the primary source to support their claims or provide context.
  • Context: Reviewers provide context, such as relevant historical or cultural background, current events, or short biographical sketches, that help readers understand both the primary source and the review.
  • Tone: Writers of effective reviews tend to maintain a professional, unbiased tone—attitude toward the subject. Although many reviewers try to avoid sarcasm and dismissiveness, you will find these elements present in professional reviews, especially those in which critics pan the primary source.

Key Terms

These are some key terms to know and use when writing a review:

  • Analysis: detailed examination of the parts of a whole or of the whole itself.
  • Connotation: implied feelings or thoughts associated with a word. Connotations can be positive or negative. Reviewers often use words with strong positive or negative connotations that support their praise or criticism. For example, a writer may refer to a small space positively as “cozy” instead of negatively as “cramped.”
  • Criteria: standards by which something is judged. Reviewers generally make their evaluation criteria clear by listing and explaining what they are basing their review on. Each type of primary source has its set of standards, some or all of which reviewers address.
  • Critics: professional reviewer who typically publishes reviews in well-known publications.
  • Denotation: the literal or dictionary definition of a word.
  • Evaluation: judgment based on analysis.
  • Fandom: community of admirers who follow their favorite works and discuss them online as a group.
  • Genre: broad category of artistic compositions that share similar characteristics such as form, subject matter, or style. For example, horror, suspense, and drama are common film and literary genres. Hip hop and reggae are common music genres.
  • Medium: way in which a work is created or delivered (DVD, streaming, book, vinyl, etc.). Works can appear in more than one medium.
  • Mode: sensory method through which a person interacts with a work. Modes include linguistic, visual, audio, spatial, and gestural.
  • Primary Sources: in the context of reviewing, the original work or item being reviewed, whether a film, book, performance, business, or product. In the context of research, primary sources are items of firsthand, or original, evidence, such as interviews, court records, diaries, letters, surveys, or photographs.
  • Recap: summary of an individual episode of a television series.
  • Review: genre that evaluates performances, exhibitions, works of art (books, movies, visual arts), services, and products
  • Secondary source: source that contains the analysis or synthesis of someone else, such as opinion pieces, newspaper and magazine articles, and academic journal articles.
  • Subgenre: category within a genre. For example, subgenres of drama include various types of drama: courtroom drama, historical/costume drama, and family drama.

Establishing Criteria

All reviewers and readers alike rely on evidence to support an evaluation. When you review a primary source, the evidence you use depends on the subject of your evaluation, your audience, and how your audience will use your evaluation. You will need to determine the criteria on which to base your evaluation. In some cases, you will also need to consider the genre and subgenre of your subject to determine evaluation criteria. In your review, you will need to clarify your evaluation criteria and the way in which specific evidence related to those criteria have led you to your judgment. Table 7.1 illustrates evaluation criteria in four different primary source types.

Smartphone Academic Source Film Employment
Camera quality Author’s credentials Writing/script Punctuality
Battery life Publication’s reputation Acting Ability to meet goals
Screen resolution Sources cited Special effects Ability to work on a team
Screen size Timeliness of research (up to date) Sound/music Communication skills
Durability Relevance to subject Directing Professional development
Phone reception Quality of writing Subject Competence in subject area
Table 7.1 Evaluation criteria across subjects

Even within the same subject, however, evaluation criteria may differ according to the genre and subgenre of the film. Audiences have different expectations for a horror movie than they do for a romantic comedy, for example. For your subject, select the evaluation criteria on the basis of your knowledge of audience expectations. Table 7.2 shows how the evaluation criteria might be different in film reviews of different genres.

Horror Action Romantic Comedy Drama
Makeup Special effects Jokes Script/writing
Cinematography Stunt work Conflict/resolution Acting
Type of horror depicted (jump scares, gore, etc.) Pace of story Chemistry between main characters Accuracy/believability of plot
Music Relatability of “hero” Satisfaction/happy ending Scenery/setting/costumes
Table 7.2 Evaluation criteria across film genres

Providing Objective Evidence

You will use your established evaluation criteria to gather specific evidence to support your judgment. Remember, too, that criteria are fluid; no reviewer will always use the same criteria for all works, even those in the same genre or subgenre.

Whether or not the criteria are unique to the particular task, a reviewer must look closely at the subject and note specific details from the primary source or sources. If you are evaluating a product, look at the product specifications and evaluate product performance according to them, noting details as evidence. When evaluating a film, select either quotations from the dialogue or detailed, vivid descriptions of scenes. If you are evaluating an employee’s performance, observe the employee performing their job and take notes. These are examples of primary source evidence: raw information you have gathered and will analyze to make a judgment.

Gathering evidence is a process that requires you to look closely at your subject. If you are reviewing a film, you certainly will have to view the film several times, focusing on only one or two elements of the evaluation criteria at a time. If you are evaluating an employee, you might have to observe that employee on several occasions and in a variety of situations to gather enough evidence to complete your evaluation. If you are evaluating a written argument, you might have to reread the text several times and annotate or highlight key evidence. It is better to gather more evidence than you think you need and choose the best examples rather than try to base your evaluation on insufficient or irrelevant evidence.

Modes of Reviews

Not all reviews have to be written; sometimes a video or an audio review can be more engaging than a written review. YouTube has become a popular destination for project reviews, creating minor celebrities out of popular reviewers. However, a written review of a movie might work well because the reviewer can provide just enough information to avoid spoiling the movie, whereas some reviews require more visual interaction to understand.

Take reviewer Doug DeMuro’s popular YouTube channel. DeMuro reviews cars—everything from sports cars to sedans to vintage cars. Car buyers need to interact with a car to want to buy it, and YouTube provides the next best thing by giving viewers an up-close look.

Technology is another popular type of review on YouTube. YouTube creators like Marques Brownlee discuss rumors about the next Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy and provide unboxing videos to record their reactions to the latest phones and laptops. Like DeMuro’s viewers, Brownlee’s audience can get up close to the product. Seeing a phone in Brownlee’s hands helps audience members imagine it in their hands.

On the other hand, reviews don’t always need to be about products you can touch, as Paul Lucas demonstrates on his YouTube channel “Wingin’ It!” Lucas reviews travel experiences (mainly airlines and sometimes trains), evaluating the service of airlines around the world and in various ticket classes.

What do these reviews have in common? First, they are all in the video medium. YouTube’s medium is video; a podcast’s medium is audio. They also share a mode. YouTube’s mode is viewing or watching; a podcast’s mode is listening.

These examples all use the genre conventions of reviews discussed in this chapter. The reviewers present a clear evaluation: should you buy this car, phone, or airline ticket? They base their evaluation on evidence that fits a set of evaluation criteria. Doug DeMuro might evaluate a family sedan on the basis of seating, trunk storage, and ride comfort. Marques Brownlee might judge a phone on the basis of battery life, design, and camera quality. Paul Lucas might grade an airline on service, schedules, and seat comfort. While the product or service being reviewed might be different, all three reviewers use similar frameworks.

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