Your goals this week are to facilitate students’ Public Argument and to discuss strategies for writing blogs and guest editorials. A series of worksheets analyzing the rhetorical situation, the writer’s chosen audience, and the chosen publication will help focus students. Keep in mind that this is your last regular week before Finals. Conduct the workshop early in the week (Tuesday for TR class schedules, and Monday or Wednesday for MWF schedules) and use any extra time to tie up loose ends and answer questions. Collect the final drafts on the last day of class, and remember to administer course evaluations.
Introduce Rhetorical Situation Worksheet
Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet
Answering these questions will help you think about and plan your public argument. Your answers about context (purpose, audience, occasion, author) can be revised and developed further as needed.
Respond to the following prompts in bold type.
1. Arguments are motivated, in part, by seeing something in the world that needs to be addressed. We see a lack of knowledge or a misconception to correct, an injustice, a problem to solve, a decision to be made, a better way to do things, and so on. We call this the exigence of the argument. The occasion for an argument is that which makes it timely. In other words, what makes this a good time to make this argument?
Describe the occasion and exigence for your argument, explaining what motivates your argument, why you felt this issue needed to be addressed, what you want your argument to work toward changing or solving, and why this is the time to make this argument.
2. Arguments require communication with people who can or should be able to respond to them. Sometimes we look for people who want to discuss our topic; sometimes for people who need to be aware of our topic's importance to them; sometimes for people who are able to act. Although changing someone's entire world view or values is very, very difficult, we can often find common ground with readers who have a very different perspective than we do. More often, we try to reach those with whom we share values and interests and try to convince them our claims are true or persuade them to change their thinking or behavior, or to take action. Therefore, it is important to find the best audience for our argument. We need to think about whom we should try to reach and learn about these readers to be able to argue effectively with them. To better define the audience for your argument, please answer the following questions:
Describe and define your audience. Who do you want to reach or influence? Why did you choose this audience? What stake do they have in the issue? What are they in a position to do about it? How do your readers' demographics, background, values, knowledge of the subject, and interests influence their position on the issue? Which newspaper do you think would be the best medium to reach your intended audience? What can you do in your argument to appeal to your audience and achieve common ground with them?
3. When we write an argument, we also have to think about how we can present ourselves as authoritative and trustworthy writers. We also have to show that we respect our readers, care about them, and have common values. To better position yourself as an author for your argument, please answer the following questions:
Explain why you are the right person to write an argument on this issue. Discuss your research, background, feelings and how they give you authority as an author. Explain what you can do to gain authority and trustworthiness with your readers, to get them to see you as a knowledgeable and credible author.
4. Finally, we have to know what our purpose is in writing an argument, i.e. what we are trying to accomplish with our readers. Do we want to convince them something is true, persuade them to think or act in a certain way? Answer the following questions to define your purpose:
Explain your purpose-what you hope to achieve with your readers. Write a working thesis statement. What kind of claim(s) does your thesis imply (e.g., fact, value, policy or solution, cause-effect)?
Introduce Rhetorical Situation Worksheet
Publication Analysis for Assignment 5
Answer the following questions thoughtfully, informing your audience with examples to back up your answers.
What is the title of the publication you will use to convey your message? What type of publication (newspaper, website) is it?
What is the purpose of the publication?
What type(s) of authors are regularly featured in the publication?
Who are the primary, intended readers?
What values, beliefs, needs, concerns, and expectations do the readers of the publication hold? Describe these fully.
What topics/issues does the publication seem to cover?
What is the typical length of an article in the publication?
What kinds of graphics are used throughout the publication?
What patterns do you note in the layout of main articles in the publication? (i.e. Do all the articles or columns begin the same way? Do they each contain a certain number of graphics?)
What is the tone, style or level of language (formal, use of jargon, etc.) used by writers in the publication?
Do you notice anything else significant about the publication?
Why have you chosen this publication to convey your argument? In other words, can you explain your publication choice rhetorically?
Recommended Homework for Week 15
Choose a genre in which to write assignment 5 and begin drafting
Continue work on worksheets, including the rhetorical situation analysis worksheet and the publication analysis worksheet
A complete draft of Assignment 5 is due at the workshop.
A final, polished draft of Assignment 5 is due the last class of the week.