Reading in Preparation for Writing: Opinion Essay

For your next essay, you will be writing an opinion piece about a controversial issue. In

order to generate writing ideas and to practice evaluating the credibility of sources of

information, I would like you to read articles that address the types of topics you will be

exploring in your essays.


In preparation for writing your essay, please choose three of the of the articles linked

below. Resist the temptation to choose the first three articles! Open all of them and

choose the three that interest you most.

Note: Please let me know if any of these links have expired. I try to keep them









When you have finished reading, answer the following questions for each of the essays

you chose. Thus, you should have a total of 24 answers (8 for each essay) when you


1. What is the title of this article?

2. Who is the author of the article?

3. How credible are the author, the article content, and the source?

4. Who is the intended audience for the essay? What types of people are likely to read

this essay? What clues suggest a particular audience?

5. What do you feel is the author’s main idea for the essay? Write down the sentence

that you believe best expresses this main idea. In other words, write down the

author’s thesis statement.

6. What kinds of evidence does the author use to support his/her point? (e.g., personal

experiences, statistics, facts, definitions, quotations, expert testimony, etc.)

7. Is this evidence credible? Issues to consider:

• Is the evidence fact-based or opinion based?

• Can the information be verified?

• Is the information current?

8. Do you agree or disagree with the author’s assertions? Explain your answer.

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