Public Audience Argument: Writing as an Engaged and Informed Citizen

Overview. This assignment asks you to synthesize the fundamental skills taught in CO150, namely, the ability to use writing to communicate clearly and concisely with an awareness of your rhetorical situation.  You’ll use the topic you investigated and explained, and you’ll write an argument for a specific audience.  You’ll make your argument “public” by getting it as close to your intended audience as possible.  You’ll make all the rhetorical choices in this assignment, including purpose, audience and genre. 

Purpose.  You will determine what you want to accomplish in writing this argument.  You may want your readers to agree with your ideas, you may want your readers to do or not do certain things, you may want to facilitate change, etc.  It’s up to you, and it depends on your opinions regarding your topic.

Audience. You will determine who needs to hear your argument.  Your audience needs to be specific (i.e. not “general audience” or “academic audience”).  It may be one particular individual or it may be the CSU community or it may be something else entirely.  Your audience and your purpose should be clearly linked.

Genre. You will determine the genre through which you can best reach your audience.  You might choose to write a letter to an individual, an email to several people, a letter to The Collegian to reach the entire CSU community, a brochure to target a specific group of people, etc.  You might make a website that’s accessible to particular individuals (i.e. myspace or facebook). 

Subject. You’ll write about the topic you just investigated, though it might shift some since you are writing to a new audience and through a new genre.  For example, if you wrote your explanation about what it means to be an interior design major, and during your research you realized that you don’t agree with the testing methods used to admit (or deny) applicants, you might write a letter to the Dean of Applied Human Sciences arguing that portfolios are a much better measure of a student’s potential than are rigorous tests. 

Author. Present yourself as a concerned member of the CSU community.  Show that you have thought through your ideas from a number of different perspectives (especially the perspective of your audience).


Format: follow the formatting conventions of your chosen genre.
Length: follow the conventions of your chosen genre, and consider what will work best given your audience and purpose.
Worth: 10% of your course grade
Due: at the final exam.