For this paper, you will select two texts examining a similar topic. One text represents a peer-reviewed journal article discussing a topic in your field of study while the second text explores the same topic but has been written for a more general audience. You will then write a 6-8-page essay drawing on what you have learned about rhetorical analysis to describe your observations, analyze what they might mean, and argue for the factual accuracy or inaccuracy from genre to genre, as well as the relative use of the research to your chosen field. Careful attention will be paid to the lexis, syntax and overall organization of each piece of writing as well as the credibility, reliability and accuracy of the work.
This project is a chance for you to hone your analytical abilities so that you might practice critical thinking in examining the world around you. In addition to refining your critical thinking skills, you will also practice effective research and determine ethical sources. In crafting the final text, you will work on effectively drafting and structuring a rhetorical document of your own.
This assignment will need to begin with a bit of investigation. You may choose a topic that you have already been studying in one of your classes or can branch out to explore a topic that is of personal interest to you in your field of study. You can begin with seeking a primary source that explores the topic and then explore how this topic is disseminated to a general audience such as from such sources as listed below:
- TED Talks
- Planet Money
- NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, L.A. Times
- The Atlantic
- The New Yorker
- The American Conservative
Read or pay attention to these articles you have selected and take notes on each. How do they use language differently? Who comprises their respective audiences? As you trace these changes, keep an eye out for:
- Changes in meaning/intention according to interest/ideologies
- Factual accuracy/inaccuracy from genre to genre
- Ways language and tone is altered to reach specific audiences
- How genre affects the presentation of content
- The writer’s use of ethos, logos, pathos in his/her work
Once you’ve taken notes and have begun to answer some of these questions, you are ready to write your draft. A preliminary thesis might address the following questions: How is this piece of research understood and used for different audiences and purposes, and what do such uses suggest or reveal?
Final Draft: Week 8
This assignment is worth 30% of the overall course grade.