ENGL 102 Inquiry 2: Rhetorical Analysis
Approximate Length: 750-100 words + 1-page Writer’s Reflection (with final draft)
Pre-writing and Outline: 10 points
First Draft and Peer Reviews: 30 points (20 points for completed draft, 10 points for completed peer review work)
Final draft: 160 points
Total: 200 points
Inquiry 2 Rubric
Inquiry 2 is part of Part A essays required in ENGL 102. In the Course Syllabus, Part A is described as:
Part A: Exploring Self and Topics – The first part of the semester will be devoted to reviewing ENGL 101 and 102 concepts in writing and rhetoric, reading sources, watching various media, and participating in group discussions on a variety of writing, rhetorical, and social issue topics. This activity will also introduce the course theme, “Intentionality and Social Change.” Having a strong understanding of these concepts, in addition to composition and rhetorical concepts, is key to your success throughout the semester. You will write two essays as we explore them, and you have just finished Inquiry 1; we will begin Inquiry 2 this week.
This inquiry requires that you apply fundamental rhetorical principles, such as ethos, logos, pathos, and kairos, to analyze texts or other rhetorical artifacts. As an assignment, this typically leads students to generate academic writing that analyzes the rhetoric of a speech, website news article, audio, video, media platform, or something similar. A rhetorical analysis typically involves determining the context of an artifact (text): analyzing the artifact’s content, structure, and style; and evaluating its overall quality and effectiveness. More than examining the textual features of a piece of discourse, a rhetorical analysis should also analyze the context in which the artifact was delivered. In other words, this Inquiry asks that you explore and grapple with how rhetoric operates in particular texts, artifacts, and contexts. Students, however, begin with a summary of the text to establish content understanding before any form of rhetorical analysis begins. In short, for this assignment, you will summarize a text, analyze and evaluate its rhetorical qualities/appeals, and through your analysis and evaluation make an argument as you continue your inquiry about the social issue at hand.
Begin by asking the following Inquiry Questions:
What is the main idea, context, and argument of this text? What rhetorical appeals and elements are present in the text, and what roles do they play? What makes the text effective or ineffective in its argument about its purpose and/or a social issue?
In preparation for this assignment, please follow these steps:
Review your responses to our social issue discussion from Week 1 and your Inquiry 1 essay, and decide if you would still like to explore the same topic/s, narrow one down more, or switch to a new social issue altogether. Whether you decide to analyze a text related to your original social issue interest or a new one, begin your research exploration by collecting three (3) most relevant texts (they may be the same topics or very different at this point) that you will later choose from for your own rhetorical analysis essay for Inquiry 2. I encourage you to use the Kettering Library, Google Scholar, and other reliable sources for your prelimineary texts (e.g. journals, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet for other suitable texts). You may use a speech, a research article, print ads, songs, media platforms, public announcements, podcasts, and other text types and genres. You may also analyze a publicly accessible work or art, a meaningful place, or any other manifestations of public opinion or social issues (memorial, graffiti, hashtags, etc.). Avoid reports, “How-To” and “Tips” texts as they are often times more informative than argumentative. A SUITABLE text is one that is argumentative and sparks YOUR interest and gives YOU something to talk about that will showcase your knowledge of rhetoric that could eventually lead to a positive change to a target audience or society. The topic/social issue of the texts you choose could be carried over as your Inquiry 3 project, as well. Stay away from pre-existing reports, text reviews, or interpretations as they may block your own thoughts and ideas, not to mention the possibility of plagiarizing others’ evaluation/analysis of the text; go directly to the original source and analyze that, instead. Your texts must be strongly argumentative in nature, and stay away from texts featuring your “favorite” authors, ads, products, etc.; developing a critical perspective on the things we love can be very difficult. Once you have collected your preliminary three texts, complete a CRAAP Test for each one (no submission required for the tests), then share your list with the class on this spreadsheet before class on 2/4. You will later choose the best one from your three texts, and use it for your rhetorical analysis essay. One important question to ask yourself before choosing your text is, “How and why is this text the best (or worst) one available about the social issue and for me to analyze rhetorically?”
To come up with ideas for the analysis, begin by creating a list of your own journalistic questions, then by asking questions such as the following and those from our Rhetorical Analysis Group Exercise Worksheet:
a. Your and others’ (possible) reactions – Why is this text interesting and relevant? Why did it catch your (and possibly other people’s) attention? What makes it stand out from other similar texts? Note: When composing this section of your essay (and throughout the essay), use the third person point-of-view even if the responses are yours. Anything you say in your essay is your opinion/analysis, so you would not need to use the first person point-of-view because this could change the voice and genre to a personal response essay, which we are not writing.
b. Audience – Who seems to be the audience, and how does the text relate to that audience? Are there immediate and peripheral audiences? Can you think of people that are excluded as an audience?
c. Classical rhetorical appeals – What rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos, kairos) do you see at work in this text? Does the text appeal to people’s emotions? Does it appeal to reason? How? Through images, certain words, visuals, style, tone? Does the text attempt to strengthen the position/credibility (ethos) of the speaker (company, organization)? How? Does the text refer to a specific event/time/current issue?
d. Purpose – Does this text criticize, please, shock, entertain, advertise, conceal, divert from something? Does it do various things? Does the text seem to embellish/distort/ignore certain things?
e. Representation – how does the text represent people with respect to society? What can we learn about current social issues, self, others, and different perspectives(s) from this text? What ideas does it confirm/contradict?
Develop more detailed interpretive and inquiry questions, then a working thesis statement. What are you going to examine in your paper? What is your overall claim? Your thesis, and naturally your essay and the focus of your analysis, will evolve during the writing process.
Go back to the list of questions and answers. Which questions and answers seem most interesting and productive ones? Choose one or a set of related focuses in the text (e.g. background music, celebrity speaker, and event, or repetition and metaphors) that you want to include in your in-depth analysis so you do not end writing a generic rhetorical analysis that analyzes everything superficially. Revisit sample essays, and identify what claims they are making, and what their thesis statements are. Pay close attention to the specific and contextual manner the authors composed their title, thesis statements, and essays, staying away from composing generic and superficial text analysis. How do they employ critical thinking skills?
We will discuss your chosen text and topic before you begin writing your paper. Once your Prewriting and Outline activity is approved you may begin with your first draft. Once you’ve committed to a text and topic, make sure to work with these and only these. If you decide to change your topics or texts, you will have to get instructor approval again. Handing in “unapproved” papers will lower your grade.
Here are some suggestions on how to draft your rhetorical analysis paper:
Introduce your social issue and text briefly and formulate your interpretive question and working thesis statement.
Provide more background information about the social issue and text. (Answer questions such as: What does the reader need to know about the text in order to understand your analysis? Why is it important to analyze a text such as yours – what is its RELEVANCE to your readers and the bigger scheme of things?) Here, some research may be necessary.
Give a description and summary of the text content. Make sure you tell your readers what the text says and shows before you start analyzing the content and rhetorical appeals Review NFG for summary writing or use: SUMMARIZE the text.
Referring to your working thesis, write your analysis paragraphs with clear topic sentences. Don’t forget to SUPPORT your arguments with detailed evidence from the text.
Conclude. Refer to your thesis and summarize your analyses/findings.
Include a Reference list using the APA format. All the sources you used for this paper need to be properly documented. This, of course, includes the text you chose for this assignment.
Content and organization:
You are expected to write an essay that is well-organized and complete. Your essay should contain an introduction including the main point (thesis statement); a text summary; well-developed analysis paragraphs starting with a topic sentence each and are supported with evidence from the text and research; and a conclusion that summarizes your rhetorical analysis and argument about the effectiveness of the text (or otherwise) in a meaningful manner, ending with a “So What?” statement.
It is important that your writing encompasses all the main points of a rhetorical analysis. Do not simply say, “The author of the text uses logos/ethos/pathos.” Your readers can figure them out. Illustrate HOW and WHY the author uses certain rhetorical appeals and techniques, and what effects they have on various rhetorical qualities of the text and/or author. While the use of terminology is commendable when it is correctly applied, it takes more than that for the analysis to be complete and PROFOUND. Make sure to both describe and analyze the text; do not just list or summarize.
Peer reviews, feedback, and revisions:
As with Inquiry 1, we will do a peer review activity for this assignment. This means, your first draft is due and must be uploaded on Canvas by 9:30am on the due date and peer review day. Before submitting and posting your first draft on Canvas, complete the rubric and make sure that you have addressed all assignment requirements, then include it with your essay submission. The best way to accomplish this is by giving yourself sufficient time to plan, draft, compose, and evaluate your essay before peer reviews.
Based on peer feedback, you will revise your essay and submit a second draft for instructor feedback. After receiving instructor feedback and reviewing the rubric, course readings and discussions, and the assignment sheet, revise your essay, write a 1-page thoughtful Writer’s Reflection to be submitted with your final draft. In order to improve your writing, you will have to do a fair amount of revision on your paper. Handing in unrevised or incomplete drafts will lower your grade.
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