Analysis Assignment

Analysis Assignment:

For this assignment you will analyze some form of writing, be it visual or textual. An English major may choose to analyze a poem or other literary work for content. A History major may choose to analyze a historical document and the affect it had historically, while a business major might analyze a business document, report, article, or book. Those who prefer visual learning might analyze a comic strip, political cartoon, or advertisement.

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You will begin by choosing what you will analyze (obviously). Then you will begin analyzing using the methods described in “Writing an Analysis” (also posted on Blackboard) and our own class practice. An analysis is finding the arguments inherent in a text. Any text—visual, spoken, or otherwise—implies certain arguments, asks you to agree or disagree with certain values. It utilizes ethos, pathos, and logos to make those arguments, and by learning to analyze the arguments of others, we can strengthen the arguments we make, in this class, and in other classes.


The paper will be at least 1500 words in length.

The paper will include an annotated bibliography with 3-5 sources, to be turned in no

later than one week before the rough draft is due.

A detailed proposal will also be handed in no later than one week before the

rough draft is due.

While the paper will not include a formal rhetorical analysis, students should consider

using one to plot out the important aspects of the paper such as audience, purpose,

appeals to ethos, pathos and logos, and the structure the paper will take.


This paper is designed to meet the following College Writing Objectives:

• Students will develop a more sophisticated writing process including methods of invention, peer response, revision, and editing that results in clear, well-edited public pieces.

• Students will develop a more sophisticated understanding of the relationships of purpose, audience, and voice, including an awareness that writing expectations and conventions vary within the academy and in professional and public discourse.

We will also learn:

• Writing to persuade by analyzing, interpreting, researching, synthesizing, and evaluating a wide variety of facts and claims.


More on how to get started:

Begin by using invention strategies we have discussed in class (clustering, brainstorming, grouping, etc.) to come up with a topic, or use the following:

What am I interested in? What topics/stories/poems/documents/books/ advertisements would I like to learn more about? Is there a topic that relates to my major?


After you have your topic, begin planning ways to analyze it (quick-link to pre-writing ideas for reminder:

What is your major? Can you analyze it according to your major? Historically? Economically? Scientifically? Rhetorically? Geographically?


Some examples (which we will cover in class, along with many others):


· Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech:

What rhetorical devices does MLK use? What was the historical impact of his speech, or the historical events that led up to it? What Biblical references or metaphors does he use? What geographical references does he make, and why? What political references?


· The state of Texas DUI campaign billboards:

What design elements do the billboards use? What is the history of DUI laws or anti-DUI campaigns? Who is the intended audience, and how do the billboards appeal to said audience? (Note that when analyzing visual arguments, the “how” is often more important than the “what”. In other words, the argument is often easily identifiable—“Buy this product”, or in this case, “Don’t drink and drive”—but how the argument is made is many times worth analyzing).



After you have your topic, after you have decided in what way(s) you are going to analyze it, you will write a proposal. Proposals can come in many different forms, but for this assignment your proposal will be a detailed synopsis which will include:

· A summary / description of your chosen text.

· Your thesis. As always, be as specific as possible. You can revise it later, but the more specific you can be now, the more I, and your classmates, can help you.

· Your main points. Remember Zinsser: What am I trying to say? Have I said it? What am I analyzing, and what argument(s) does this text make, or how does it make those arguments?

· And last, ways I can help you. What are you having problems with? What doesn’t seem to make sense? Where are your weak points, and what strategies can you use to overcome them?


Rough Draft:

As we did with the first assignment, we will bring a rough draft to class for peer editing. By rough draft I do not mean a few ideas jotted down, or a page or two with a few major points briefly outlined. It should be a completed draft. It should also include a list of what you believe your strengths and weaknesses are, to be given to your peer editor.

As always, do not wait until the night before to write it. Give yourself time to complete it, then go back and look at it. Just because it is a rough draft does not mean it should have been hastily scrawled five minutes before class. Go to the Writing Center. Grab the senior English major at the end of the hall. Visit me during office hours, or set up an appointment. The more times you revise, the better it will be, and the more you will learn about editing and the writing process. Also that grade thing will probably be better as a result.


Final Draft:

This is the big show. With the final draft you will include the rough draft, proposal, and annotated bibliography. This paper is worth 25% of your final grade. Failure to include any part(s) will be frowned upon. As always, come see me during office hours, catch me before/after class, or schedule an appointment if you are having problems with any part of the assignment.

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