16 October 2014

Rhetorical Analysis

For your fourth major assignment of the semester, you will compose a Rhetorical Analysis that focuses on the differences between academic and popular forms of science writing.

The first step in completing this project, then, will be to select two articles/essays that you will examine. One text will be a scholarly, peer-reviewed essay, and the other will be a popular article written for a general audience.

Over and above these parameters, though, you will want to keep some other factors in mind:

First, both articles must address the same issue and argument. Moreover, the articles/essays you choose must engage the topic you planned for in your Research Proposal. Not only will these sources serve as the basis for your Rhetorical Analysis, but they also will act as the foundation for your research when creating your RadioLab audio essay and your TED Talk video essay.

To this extent, you will need to confer with the members of your research group to determine whether or not the sources you choose interact appropriately with the sources they selected. Obviously, all six sources you collectively choose will need to be in conversation with one another; but they must not repeat the same arguments or information. Rather, all six sources should enhance or challenge one another, adding different perspectives, ideas, or arguments on your topic.

Additionally, you’ll also want to consider who your possible interview subjects. For example, if you plan on interviewing a professor at CU-Boulder or an expert from the community, it might be beneficial to select an essay or article they published. The question you ask them, then, could develop from the article or work to clarify ideas that are confusing to you.

Finally, you cannot use any of the articles/essays you incorporated into your Research Proposal. You must each find two entirely new texts.

Once you select your sources, read both of them from beginning to end without taking notes or annotating. This first reading should provide you with an understanding of the content, familiarizing you with the author’s subject matter and argumentative slant.

After reading each article once, re-read them both noting the following aspects:
Form / Structure
Voice / Tone
Figurative Language
Titles / Headings / Sections
Supporting Material (images, diagrams, charts, and sources)
To be sure, the above list is not exclusive. If you notice other differences between the two sources, make sure to annotate those variances as well. This list, though, should at least offer you some guidance when analyzing the texts.

At this juncture, you will have read each source twice; likewise, you should have extensive notes and annotations on the essays/articles. As such, you will need to develop a more formal analysis of the differences between the texts. Below are the structural elements that your Rhetorical Analysis must contain:

INTRODUCTION: Briefly explain the topic that you chose to research, then explain in detail the relationship the two sources you selected have to it.

CONTENT: Provide detail and specific differences between the sources you selected. In doing so, directly quote from both sources so as to offer examples/evidence. When integrating quoted material, though, remember to explain explicitly why you incorporated that material.

CONCLUSION: Your conclusion should not summarize the material that preceded it. Rather, in this section you will articulate why the two sources you selected contain the differences that they do. Again, be detailed and specific with your explanations. Do not simply write “because they were composed for different audiences.” Furthermore, what are the possible effects of these differences on different audiences? And, finally, how are these differences relevant to you, both as a student studying/researching the subject matter and as a producer of texts that will engage the topic.

The Rhetorical Analysis will be four, full pages in length. You will use 12-point, Times New Roman font with standard one-inch margins. Your Works Cited page will not be included in page count.

You will need to have a full and complete (hard-copy) draft of your analysis for our class session on Tuesday, 28 October. We will conduct a peer-review during that session.

Your final draft will be due on Thursday, 30 October. I will provide details on the delivery method at that beginning of that week.

This assignment is worth 15 points.

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