The Best or the Worst?-editorial responce

Here is my article:

Millennials: The Greatest Generation or the Most Narcissistic?

Here is the marked version: millennials-the-greatest-generation-or-the-most-narcissistic

Main argument: “Popular books have argued that today’s 20-somethings are more service-oriented than any generation since World War II. But new research suggests the opposite”

Claim 1: “The first books written about Millennials were not just positive but glowing. ”

Accuracy: partly true

Evidence 1: “The best known of these, Millennials Rising, is subtitled The Next Great Generation. Authors Neil Howe and William Strauss predicted that Millennials would resemble the generation who fought World War II: conformist, socially conservative, and highly involved in the community and interested in government. ”

Analysis: The author states that the first books written about Millennials are positive but only name one book. Though the author emphasis that the book is the “best known” one, the supported evidence is not strong enough.

Claim 2: Millennials Rising is not very convincing because the sample size is too small and only contains one generation.

Accuracy: true

Evidence: Millennials Rising was published in 2000, when the oldest Millennials were just 18. Also, they interviewed 660 teens in McLean, VA, but didn’t compare these responses to those of previous generations.

Analysis: The evidence support claim properly. It clearly point out the year in which the book is written and the sample size of the research.

Claim 3: In the years that followed, numerous books and news reports emphasized Millennials’ desire to help others, become involved in politics and government, and work toward improving the environment, but they didn’t compare those responses to data from previous generations.

Accuracy: misleading

Evidence 1: “People born between 1982 and 2000 are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 19v40s,” claimed USA Today.

Evidence 2: “Generation We is noncynical and civic-minded. They believe in the value of political engagement and are convinced that government can be a powerful force for good,” wrote Eric Greenberg and Karl Weber in their 2008 book Generation We. “By comparison with past generations, Generation We is highly politically engaged.”

Analysis: Both evidence 1 and evidence 2 seem to support the claim that “they didn’t compare those responses to data from previous generations” , but it is questionable whether the truth is that all the books and articles did not compare the millenials to other generations or it is the fact that the author only choose those articles without proper comparision. So, i do not think the evidences support the claim properly.

Claim 4: “maybe Millennials’ greater self-importance found expression in helping others and caring about larger social causes”

Accuracy: misleading

Evidence 1: In my 2006 book Generation Me, I presented data showing generational increases in self-esteem, assertiveness, self-importance, narcissism, and high expectations, based on surveys of 1.2 million young people, some dating back to the 1920s. These analyses indicated a clear cultural shift toward individualism and focusing on the self.

Analysis: The evidence does not support the claim very well. Though the evidence comes from a published book with an Amazon rating of 4.1 out of five. However, the evidence become less reliable since the author is using the contents in his own book as an evidence to support his claim. This is questionable whether or not the author’s research results were affected by his own standpoint.

Claim 5: The results for civic engagement were clear: Millennials were less likely than Boomers and even GenXers to say they thought about social problems, they trusted the government and they were interested in government and current events.

Accuracy: partly true

Evidence 1: the Monitoring the Future survey of high school students and the American Freshman survey of entering college students– had many questions on community feeling, concern for others, and civic engagement that had been asked since the Boomers were young in the 1960s and 1970s. Both datasets are nationally representative and both are huge — half a million high school respondents and 9 million college respondents. With representative samples comparing three generations at the same age, this was the best data available to settle the Me vs. We question – and these items had never been analyzed in their entirety before.

Analysis:” this was the best data available” is an assertion and thus decrease the reliablity of the source.  Though the large sizes of datasets make it more convincing.

Claim 6: Millennials were less likely to say they did things in their daily lives to conserve energy and agree that government should take action on environmental issues. Also, millennials were slightly less likely to say they wanted a job that was helpful to others or was worthwhile to society.

Accuracy: misleading

Evidence 1: in datasets mentioned before “Three times as many Millennials as Boomers said they made no personal effort to help the environment.”

Evidence 2: Volunteering rates did increase, the only item out of 30 measuring concern for others that did. However, this rise occurred at the same time that high schools increasingly required volunteer service to graduate.

Analysis : The evidence 2 is convincing, but the evidence 1 is questionable since the author  might be affected by his own inclination when doing the research.

Claim 7: people who believe “Generation We” are wrong because  they developed an idea of the generation first and then went looking for data to support it.


Evidence 1: They found some — increasing rates of volunteering, for example. But they didn’t consider the whole picture by examining the large amount of data available on generational shifts in civic orientation, life goals, and concern for others.

Evidence2: Those who have done in-depth studies of today’s young people, such as Christian Smith in Lost in Transition, have come to a similar conclusion. “The idea that today’s emerging adults are as a generation leading a new wave of renewed civic-mindedness and political involvement is sheer fiction,” Smith wrote. “The fact that anyone ever believed that idea simply tells us how flimsy the empirical evidence that so many journalistic media stories are based upon is and how unaccountable to empirical reality high-profile journalism can be.” (p. 224)

Analysis: The evidence does  support claim properly. The claim is misleading because the author is  making the claim based on generalization. Also, the evidence 2 is not convincing because instead of using data, he simply quote the words of an author who hold the same opinion as him.

Claim 8: I’m sometimes asked why I have such a “negative” view of young people. I don’t.

Accuracy: partly true

Evidence 1:The longest chapter in Generation Me was on the increase in equality and tolerance, clearly a positive development.

Evidence 2: these findings have nothing to do with my views. The survey data we analyzed captured what Millennials said about themselves, not what I or any other GenXer or Boomer says about them.

Analysis: the first eveidence is both reliable and convincing, and thus support the claim  properly. But the second evidence is less reliable because it is hard to tell whether or not the author’s analysis of the data was affected by his own inclination.

In general, though the author seems to provide at least one evidence for his every claim, since he uses too much evidences that based on his own research, the article becomes less reliable since his personal inclination may affect the result of his reaserches.

However since the author gives  out the link of his result paper, which looks detailed and based on large amount of data, i would like to say that the reliabilty of this article can gain 7 out of 10.


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5 Responses to The Best or the Worst?-editorial responce

  1. Edwin Lopez says:

    I really like how you added the link to the actual marked-up version of your article. That’s really helpful because I can easily and simultaneously read the article and your comments at once. Before I even read the article and opened your document, I read your blog post, and when I opened your document, I already knew what the main idea of the article. Most adults think that they know everything about millennials, but as many researchers argue, they must first listen to us in order to successfully understand our culture. Your fact-check clearly informed me really well because you scrutinized every claim very well. Great job! In regards to the article, I find it very reliable. Contrary to what you believe, the author definitely possesses more credibility than most other authors of these kinds of posts out there. However, I think it will be interesting to read more about why you think her personal research makes her a less reliable resource.

  2. Nicholas Wilhite says:

    The set up that you have for your editorial responses is extremely good. The way that you have your claims separated and numbered make it easy to read. It’s easy to stay on track and not get lost like you would if all of these claims were in a big paragraph. When you say that the authors work makes her less credible i would disagree with that. With all of the books that she has written it would make me believe her claim even more. If i had never read anything about this and found this article i would believe it because all of the things that she has done make it seem like she is an expert on this topic.

  3. Maria Delvalle says:

    I am impressed by how you managed your blog post. The fact checking you did is great, as it is rated correctly and backed up with the appropriate amount of evidence. Aside from that, I do not agree with one thing: that the author’s personal research makes her article less reliable. Twenge is a psychology professor at the University of San Diego State, and she has written a book about young Americans called “Generation Me.” As she has even written a book about the generation, she is clearly an expert on the subject. Plus, the book has very good reviews from other respectable authors. Her article’s claims are backed up by pretty good evidence, and her own claims are reliable as well. Also, she has been published by The Atlantic, which is a respected newspaper that would not publish an article that would make it lose credibility.

  4. Raghav Bhat says:

    I think you did a nice job analyzing this article—I like how you break each claim down and did some research into whether his evidence is solid or not.

    One of the things I’m most curious about is the author herself; you cite that her repeated use of her own work as evidence detracts from her credibility, but to me, someone with so much work on the field almost makes me want to believe her even more! Just imagine if Arnett were to write an editorial; I feel that it would be very credible given his expertise on adulthood and growing up. Another thing I think is important to consider is that this as an editorial; as such, I think the purpose of this genre is less to stand the test of strict scrutiny, but rather to present an idea or an opinion of the author. In that sense, we may chose to disagree, but just because the author presents lackluster evidence does not mean his or her stance is necessarily wrong!

    I think you have a great start in that you have a strong sense of what facts are believable and what are not in this article. As you begin drafting your paper, I think it’s important that you begin to formulate your own view (whether you agree/disagree with her opinion) and start finding evidence to support it.

    Best of luck 🙂

  5. Zhengyang Weng says:

    I like the style of your blog – listing out every claim with its analysis makes it a lot easier to read.

    However, I don’t agree with the comment you made to Claim 4. The paragraph you listed out in the blog is only part of the evidence supporting the claim. You should also check the paragraph right before it.

    “In the years that followed, numerous books and news reports emphasized Millennials’ desire to help others, become involved in politics and government, and work toward improving the environment. “People born between 1982 and 2000 are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s,” claimed USA Today. “Generation We is noncynical and civic-minded. They believe in the value of political engagement and are convinced that government can be a powerful force for good,” wrote Eric Greenberg and Karl Weber in their 2008 book Generation We. “By comparison with past generations, Generation We is highly politically engaged.” Both of these sources mentioned the rise in volunteering and interviewed Millennials, but didn’t compare those responses to data from previous generations.”

    Together, these seemingly opposing views synthesize to form the argument Twenge was making. Also, I don’t find it misleading for the author to cite herself. Her work is totally relevant here and make a good support for the argument. Citing oneself is legitimate; just as how Arnett cited her previous study in her book Emerging Adulthood that we discussed in class. I think you might want to take a further look into the evidences to check for their quality.

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