Thursday, March 11, 2010

Peer Review for March 11

Evaluation II: Major Persuasive Project

I. Make a case to Dean David V. Powers for keeping the Communication and Journalism Department autonomous, but be willing to allow cuts in some places; what would you compromise? (e.g., programs, faculty, classes, divisions within the major); what impact (effect) does the Communication and Journalism Department have on campus and in the community?

A. College of Arts and Sciences:
B. Communication Department:
C. Mission of the University:

II. There will be four sections to this peer review with a series of questions in each section: (1) face-to-face interaction, (2) audience analysis, genre, and publication venue, (3) introduction, use of appeals: logos, ethos, and pathos, and arrangement, and (4) ethics, stylistic devices, and conclusion.

A. The first section is face-to-face interaction: take the cover letter bullet points as a way to talk through what you want to accomplish in this project; what are your goals and how well do you think you accomplish these goals through your writing? For the listener, first provide a hearing of what the author/rhetor wants to achieve and then provide constructive feedback; think about asking questions for clarification and then probing for more detail where necessary.

B. The second section is written analysis of audience, genre, and publication.

1. Audience: (1) Who are potential audiences for this issue (consider the types on page 296); (2) Has my peer effectively addressed audience interests, needs, and understanding? (3) Justification for discussion: why is there a need to discuss this issue; in other words, for whom are these discussions salient?

a. Facebook page:

b. Angelo’s full color pamphlet:

2. Genre and Publication: (1) Describe how you think the genre chosen for the message will work or not work for the intended audience (e.g., genre is the type of persuasive writing: writing to convince, to evaluate, to explain causes and effects, to solve problems, and writing about creative work; and (2) Do some research on the publication venue to discover the demographic (age, education, and cultural background).

C. The third section works with the structure of your argument and use of appeals.

1. Introduction and Definition of issue: Has my peer effectively defined and framed the issue?

a. Think of questions to find stasis or the “heart of the argument” (1) Conjecture: what is the issue discussed, (2) Definition: how is the issue defined? (3) Quality: what are the values at work in relation to this issue, and (4) Policy: what should be done?

b. Is the summary adequate to understand the issue? Is the summary balanced in relation to the stated thesis—objectives for the paper?

c. Graff and Birkenstein talk about the “art of summarizing”; “as a general rule, a good summary requires balancing what the original author is saying with the writer’s own focus” (29).

2. Has my peer effectively described and analyzed (1) his/her line of reasoning of the problem, (2) his/her line of reasoning regarding the solution, (3) his/her use of concessions and rebuttals (what arguments are anticipated), and (4) his/her appeals to certain values and emotions? (5) How does my peer establish credibility—situated and invented credibility--using “voice” through first, second, or third person narrative?

3. Arrangement: are the arguments arranged effectively?

D. Section four: ethics, style, and conclusion

1. How are stylistic devices used to provide vivid detail for an issue, form common ground with the audience, and guide understanding?

2. How is visual imagery used to evoke a tone, set a mood, and create lived connections with the issue?

3. Overall aesthetic: is there balance between imagery and verbal description of problem; in other words, is there sufficient evidence for defining the problem and making this problem relevant for the audience?

4. Ethics: Is there anything in the argumentation, visual imagery, citation of sources, and/or connection to the audience that might mislead the audience?

a. Is there information that is missing?
b. How do the visuals work? Are the visuals misleading, too graphic, or not honest in their portrayal?

5. Ethics involve two key elements: how we handle the information that we’re working with (being clear, up front and honest through thorough critique, and citing sources thoroughly so one can consult them); second, ethics deals with audience-author relationship (taking the audience into consideration—what will benefit everyone involved).

6. Conclusion: What do you want from your audience: think, feel, believe, act?

a. Page 314 topics for perorations:
b. Remind audience what you want them to do or think or believe; paint a vivid picture.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Notes for March 9

I. Writing to Solve Problems

A. We are faced with problems on a grand scale and on a personal scale everyday.

1. College students taking to the streets last week protesting the rising cost of tuition: how do you pay for school?

2. How do we solve the problem of global warming?

3. Do we spend the money Mayor Mike McGinn wants to spend to repair the Sea Wall? Will this repair divert attention away from building the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct?

4. How do we protest a strip club planned for our neighborhood?

5. How does one write a grant proposal for low income youth?

B. Write a letter to solve a problem that exists in your personal life; “for this scenario, assume that there is a problem that you need to have solved and that you want to write to someone who can help solve the problem” (Roen, Glau, and Maid 536-37):
1. Your child or younger sibling is being taunted mercilessly by a group of students in his or her classroom.
2. The trash disposal unit for your building is inadequate.
3. You recently encountered a problem with a defective product that is not easy to return to a store, such as a sprinkler system or wall-to-wall carpet.
4. A waiter at a local restaurant was rude to you and your guests.
5. You have noisy neighbors who shout and laugh at 3:00 a.m. When you complained to the police, they told you it was an issue for your homeowner’s association (also, apartment landlord or college authorities).

C. The qualities of effective proposals: writing to take a particular course of action.

1. A clearly defined problem: “An effective proposal first establishes the existence of a problem that is both understandable and manageable within the scope of the assignment” (538).

2. An awareness of the audience: “For your proposal to be effective with an audience, your readers need to believe that the problem you are writing about actually exists and that your proposed solution will work” (538).

3. A well-explained solution: “Your readers need both to understand your solution and to find it reasonable. One way to help any audience understand your proposal is to use language that the audience understands and to provide definitions of unfamiliar terms” (539).

4. Convincing evidence for the effectiveness of the solution: “You will need to prove that your solution is viable and the best answer to the problem by supporting assertions with evidence such as expert testimony, case studies, experimental studies, and example of similar solutions to similar problems” (539).

5. A well documented review of alternative solutions: Your solution should stand on its own merits, but to gain credibility to convince skeptical readers it is helpful to consider alternative pathways to your solution.

6. A call to action: “There is little point to proposing a solution to a problem unless someone actually implements that solution” (539); urge your audience to take action in some way.

7. Let’s consider the problem of rising tuition costs and what to do about it in Washington State.
a. Watch:
b. Read:;
c. Write: define the problem and what you think are possible solutions.

II. “Policy propositions focus arguments around specific choices and actions. Each claim asks the recipient to behave or cooperate in certain ways and, presumably, if the arguments supporting the claims are sufficient, then the recipient will fulfill the expected action” (Inch and Warnick 266).

A. Policy arguments are future-bound: inevitably we are trying to gain cooperation from an audience to take a particular course of action in the future.

B. Policy arguments function as a part of a system, which means that if we change one part of the system, we change the overall nature of the system (267-68).

1. “A systems perspective recognizes that the world is a complex and interconnected set of relationships between and among component parts that compose a whole and that one change in any part of the system changes the other elements of the system” (268).

2. First, systems possess objects or parts (268).
3. Second, each object or part in the system has attributes.
4. Third, the objects within a system are interrelated.
5. Fourth, systems operate within an environment.
6. Fifth, systems have boundaries: a definitional line that separates the system from its environment (268).

C. Stock Issues are therefore helpful in defining the parts of the policy system we’re working with: ill, blame, cure, cost.

1. Ill: problem defined in terms of quantity and quality.

a. Quantitative significance: “related to the scope of the effects claimed; how many people will be affected and how frequently” (271)?

b. Qualitative significance: “related to the intensity of the effect; we assess something as significant to the extent that it strengthens or diminishes life” (271).

2. Blame: who is to blame?
a. Systems:
b. Attitudes:

3. Cure: solution: how do you propose to solve the problem?

a. “A plan of action is the specific program advocated in support of the proposition” (273).
b. Question: what impact will your solution have on the ill?

4. Cost/Benefits: advantages and disadvantages for following particular courses of action.

D. There are three different types of cases we can consider when arguing to solve problems.

1. The most common case is called needs-analysis: “claims that the ill existing in the current system cannot be corrected within the present system but can be cured by the advocate’s policy proposal” (275).

2. The way to develop this case is through three clusters of arguments:

a. The first cluster of arguments develops a significant ill and blame.

b. The second cluster of arguments proposes a plan of action and proves that the proposed plan can cure the ill presented.

c. The third cluster of arguments focus on the benefits of the plan (275).

3. Comparative-advantages: “develops the position that in comparison with the current system, the proposed system has more benefits” (280).

a. Instead of isolating a problem and offering a cure, the focus of this kind of case is to argue for a plan that will work better in relation to the current system.

b. Essentially, in this type of case you are comparing two different plans.

4. Goals case: “presents a significant goal and the case revolves around a comparison of systems attempting to achieve a goal” (283).

a. Identify and defend a specific goal that should be the focus of a particular system (e.g., educational opportunity).

b. The structure of this case follows four steps: (1) an important goal exists, (2) flaws in the present system are to blame for its inability to achieve its goal, (3) there is a plan of action that will better achieve the goal, and (4) the proposed plan of action will better meet the goal.

E. Strategies for refuting/opposing policy arguments.

1. The status quo is working: “Defense of the present policy system rests on a comparison of the proposal and the present system and argues that the present system is superior” (286).

2. Strategy of Defense of the Present Policy System with Minor Repairs: “offers small changes to existing policies to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in meeting the needs” (286).

3. Strategy of Counterproposals: “an alternative plan of action presented by the policy opponent that is different from both the present policy and the plan proposed by opponents” (287).

F. Write a letter to your representative regarding the increase in student tuition and the proposed cuts in the legislature: define the problem and what you think is the best possible solution to the problem.

1. District 43: Senator Ed Murray:
2. Jamie Pedersen:
3. Frank Chopp

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekly Writing Eight

For your final weekly writing, compose an opinion piece for the Seattle Times on your subject. Using stasis theory and chapter three from the ARCS text, identify key arguments in relation to your issue and compose your editorial.

Due: March 8, 2010

Major Persuasive Project

Major Persuasive Project: ( 15 points- persuasive documents; 5 points-Cover Memo)

Rough Draft Due: March 11, 2010
Final Draft Due: March 18, 2010 by 6:00 pm in my box or via email

Unlike your Major Analysis Project, your Major Persuasive Project represents an "application" of the rhetorical appeals you've studied this semester. Using the same issue you've dealt with all semester, you should now construct three pieces of writing with a persuasive intent, or make a case for the extensive nature on one persuasive product.

Effective projects will be clear about the following: they will have a specific audience; they will ethically and responsibly use rhetorical appeals (i.e., they will not attempt to manipulate the audience by excessive emotional engagement or make up credentials to increase their "authority" on the subject); and they will work in a genre that will best meet that audience (audio, visual, PowerPoint, brochure, speech, etc.).

The MPP should also be accompanied by a Writer's Cover Memo in which the author of the project discusses the appeals used and explain how/why they were chosen.
Cover Memo for MPP

In order for me to best read/understand your persuasive project, I need a context in which to read it. To give me that context, please create a Cover Memo to me that includes the following information:

o Title of Project
o Genre (PowerPoint, brochure, speech, lecture, essay, article, editorial, etc.)
o Publication Venue (brochure for . . .? speech at . . .? etc.)
o Audience: What audience do you expect to encounter at the above venue? What do you know about them (their needs, concerns, interests)?
o Brief Analysis: Explain in rhetorical/persuasive terms how your project addresses this audience and what strategies/appeals you use for this audience to persuade them/it to consider your idea.
o Works Consulted/Cited: List the sources consulted or cited in your presentation.
These memos should be typed, single-spaced, and attached by staple or paper clip to your project.

If you're turning in a PowerPoint or other electronic piece, you can send your documents to me via email.

Notes for March 2

Writing to Explain Cause and Effects
Drawing correlations

I. “Arguments from cause claim that one condition or event contributes to or brings about another condition or event” (Inch and Warnick 198).

A. When we write to explain causes and effects, we usually begin with curiosity regarding something that exists:

1. What causes a business to succeed or fail?
2. What causes customers to choose one product over others?
3. Why are you attending college?
4. What made the Lord of the Rings trilogy so interesting to so many age groups?

B. Write a letter to a friend or family member explaining the causes and/or effects of a hobby, habit, decision, or behavior.
1. Why does my family love football, basketball, or tennis so much?
2. Why does my family always buy a certain brand of cars or trucks?
3. What are the possible consequences of a harmful habit that a friend or relative has?
4. What have been the effects of a major personal decision I made? What would have been the effects if I had decided differently?
5. What causes my friends and me to choose one kind of music over another, one television show or movie over another? What are the effects of those choices?

C. Writing this kind of essay:

1. Presentation of focused cause(s) or effect(s): “introduce the event, activity, or phenomenon for which you wish to establish cause(s) and effect(s)” (Roen, Glau, and Maid 469).

2. A clearly stated claim that a cause-and-effect relationship exists.

3. Sufficient evidence to support your claim: use a range of evidence to strengthen correlations.

4. Clear, logical thinking: we have to think about the kinds of relationships we build so we are not guilty of moving too quickly to a conclusion.

a. Does the effect have a single cause, or multiple causes?

b. What are the contributing causes, and do they lead to a precipitating cause?

c. Is a particular cause remote or immediate? Develop a causal chain of events.

d. Is a particular cause necessary or sufficient?

1. A necessary cause is one that must be present for the effect to occur.

2. A sufficient cause is one that, if present, always triggers a particular effect.

e. Anticipation of possible objections or alternative explanations; “while your causal analysis may be highly plausible, there are almost always other possible causes for the same effect or other possible effects of the cause that you are considering” (471).

D. Take a look at the Ad Council campaign on “Youth Reckless Driving”:, and note the cause-and-effect relationships both explicit and implied.

II. When we write to explain cause and effects, we are using different kinds of reasoning and stylistic devices.

A. Associative schemes: bringing elements together to evaluate or organize these elements in terms of one another (Inch and Warnick 188).

B. Tropes: figures of speech that frame an issue through symbols (language, performance, and image).

1. Analogy: emphasizes the similarity between two elements; “an analogy reasons that because two objects resemble each other in certain known respects, they will also resemble each other in respects that are unknown” (Inch and Warnick 192).

2. Figurative analogy: “figurative analogies function primarily to make what is remote or poorly understood immediate and comprehensible” (Inch and Warnick 193).

3. Ad Council: if you have been in a car with a friend unwilling to drive slower then you can reason that you too might lose your life.

4. Metaphor: “is a device for seeing one thing in terms of something else”; PSAs act as metaphors for similar situations.

5. Literal Analogy: “compares two objects of the same class that share many characteristics and concludes that a known characteristic that one possesses is shared by the other” (192).

C. Causal arguments: “claim that one condition or event contributes to or brings about another condition or event. Causal arguments are also arguments from succession; one event must happen before the other; and the causal event must bring about the effect” (Inch and Warnick 198).

1. Two different types of conditions: necessary condition: “one that must be present for the effect to occur; but the effect may not necessarily follow the cause” (199)(weaker form of argument).

2. Sufficient condition: “circumstance in whose presence the event or effect must occur. In other words, the presence of a sufficient condition guarantees that the subsequent effect will occur” (199).

3. Synecdoche: “which is the part for the whole, the whole for the part, container for the thing contained” (Burke, Grammar 507); synecdoche has to do with representation; an image or word, for example, only gives us a snapshot of the complexity of what is going on in any particular moment.

4. Even though there might be a clear correlation between elements, all contributing phenomena should be considered to develop stronger causal relationships; “A correlation claims that two events or phenomena vary together; an increase or decrease in one is accompanied by an increase or decrease in the other” (200).

D. Dissociation: disengages or differentiates between two ideas; “dissociation arguments disengage one idea from another and seek a new evaluation of both ideas” (203).

1. In this type of reasoning we are breaking apart causal relationships (associative reasoning) in order to allow for new kinds of connections.

2. Dissociation works powerfully in relation to what an audience values; consider value hierarchies, here.

3. Irony: “when an audience understands the opposite of what is expressed” (Crowley and Hawhee 352).

4. Irony focuses on the notion of identification; how is common ground established with an audience?

5. Irony and dissociative reasoning work through the concept of “doubling”: we see our assumptions exposed in relation to other possible interpretations of the same events.

6. The Onion example:

E. Many of the tests for validity in relation to cause-effect relationships have to do with quantity (are there enough reasons to support a particular conclusion?) and quality (Do the relationships work?); Irony may also work to expose logical fallacies related to these tests for validity.

1. Hasty generalization: draws a conclusion about a class based on too few or atypical examples (207).

2. False Cause (post hoc): “a post hoc fallacy mistakes temporal succession for causal sequence” (208); just because two events exist in time does not mean that one caused the other; “All people who have cancer drink milk. Therefore, drinking milk must cause cancer.”

3. “Single-cause fallacies occur when an advocate attributes only one cause to a complex problem” (209); “Poor communication is the reason for the high American divorce rate."

4. Slippery slope: “assumes without evidence that a given event is the first in a series of steps that will lead inevitably to some outcome” (209); poor communication will eventually lead to the dissolution of marriages; exposes assumption: allowing GLBTQ marriages will lead to “unraveling” of civil society.

5. False Analogy: compares two things that are not alike in significant respects or have critical points of difference; “We should not teach socialism in the university any more that we should teach arson” (206).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weekly Writing Seven

Weekly Writing Seven
Part I:
Using the issue you've chosen for your Major Analysis Project (or a new issue, if you choose), map out the ways in which you think YOU would be most credible or authoritative on the issue. For this project, start by listing how YOU might demonstrate Good Sense, Good Character, and Good Will, based on the ways these concepts are defined in the ARCS textbook.

Part II:
Write a review of an online community forum such as a discussion group or interactive blog related to your MAP issue. Online newspapers and news forums are a great way to find diverse "online communities." Identify a rhetor or a series of posts that forum members find persuasive. What rhetorical features do these posts share? What makes them effective for this audience? What specifically does the rhetor do to engage the readers' or viewers' emotions?

Due: February 26, 2010

Notes for February 23

Stasis Theory: Asking the Right Questions

I. Stasis theory: getting at the “heart of an argument” or finding where an argument “rests.”

A. Stasis is another Greek and Roman heuristic; it provides a way to understand an issue through definition, division, comparison, and contrast.

B. What is important to remember is that stasis includes an association of concepts: how we define a problem is related to the solutions designed to solve the problem and then how we weigh the costs and benefits.

C. Stasis stems from the canon of invention, which has to do with the way we invent or construct ideas based on the ambiguities that exist in any moment.

D. Stasis derives from a Greek word meaning “to stand.”

E. To discover the point of stasis we have to find ways to listen to what people are saying, reserving judgment rather than moving too hastily to a conclusion; stasis is ultimately about how participants “share worlds” through symbolic forms.

F. Stasis “marks the place where two opposing forces come together, where they rest or stand in agreement on what is at issue (hence, the appropriateness of the Latin term for stasis, constitutio, which can be translated as a ‘costanding or a ‘standing together’)” (Crowley and Hawhee 72).

G. In order to locate stasis we have to consider all the available arguments; “Rhetors who do take the time to find all the available arguments can be assured both that their position is defensible and that they have found the best evidence to support it” (72).

H. Using the rhetorical tool of stasis enables a process:

1. Clarifies thinking about the point in dispute.

2. Forces one to think about the assumptions and values shared by members of their targeted audience.

3. Establishes areas in which more research needs to be done.

4. Suggests which proofs are crucial to the case.

5. Perhaps even points the way toward the most effective arrangement of these proofs.

I. 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the case to exclude women’s ski jumping as a new event:,8599,1963447,00.html;
~Write about where you think the arguments “rest.”

II. Stasis and contrary arguments; different ways to find key arguments.

A. What arguments are available to us on any issue?

B. When we start to explore the available arguments on an issue we confront what the Sophists called dissoi logoi or “countervailing arguments”; for every claim there is a counterclaim.

C. One of the ways to work with dissoi logoi is through comparison of theoretical and practical questions.

1. A theoretical question addresses the “origins and natures of things” (75):

a. “What are the essential differences between men and women?”
b. “Are women biologically unable to compete in ski jumping?” (Raises questions for contemplation and discussion rather than action.)

2. Practical questions always concern what people should do (75):

a. Should women be included in sporting events?
b. Should women be included in Vancouver 2010 ski jumping event?
c. Impacts how we act; what are the consequences of a decided course of action?

3. This is where stasis questions are helpful as they help us to get at a range of issues, from general theoretical principles to practical application of these principles.

D. Two ways to think of stasis: defining an issue and discovering key arguments.

E. We move forward in our attempts to define the issue and agree on different dimensions to the issue; though sometimes we may find ourselves stuck in the process.

1. Conjecture: does it exist? Did it happen? Questions of fact, “guess,” or “inference” (87).

Does the thing exist or is it true?
What is its origin?
What cause produced it?
What changes can be made in it?

2. Definition: division and partition: topics that help to divide up the discourse.

What kind of thing or event is it?
To what larger class of things does it belong?
What are its parts? How are they related?

3. Quality: determine the worth of an issue by comparing with other issues or contrasting ideas; how much does the community desire it? (90)

a. Is it a good or bad thing?
b. Is it better or worse than some alternative?
c. Is it more or less honorable or base than some alternative?
d. Questions of quality help us to get at competing values and attitudes surrounding an issue, allowing us to define the urgency, immediacy, and power dynamics in a situation.

4. Questions of policy: rhetor proposes that some action be taken or regulated (or not) by means of policy or law.

a. Should action be taken?
b. How will the proposed actions change the current state of affairs?
c. How will the proposed changes make things better or worse?
d. We might also ask forensic questions (based on what exists); should some state of affairs be regulated by some formalized policy?
e. What policies can be implemented? Which cannot? What are the merits of competing proposals? What are their defects?
f. How is my proposal better than others?

F. We can also find stasis through what are called stock issues: soup metaphor.

1. What is the ill: women are not being allowed into the Olympic ski jumping competition.

a. Quantity: who does this problem impact—130 women from 16 nations capable of competing in ski competition and future competitors.
b. Quality: problem is severe in that ski jumping excludes present and future female competitors.

2. Who is to blame for the problem?

a. The system might be to blame: IOC rules are antiquated and need reform; sport might be to blame, not enough world championship competitions.
b. Attitudes might be to blame: popularity of the sport; belief in essential differences between men and women.

3. Cure: what is the solution? Allow women to compete, finding ways to build up the sport and bring more top competitors.

4. Cost: what will it cost? What is the cost of including women in 2010 Olympics, funding ski jumping as part of each national team, and running sports that include women jumpers?

1. Build up the sport?
2. Build a following?
3. There may be initial costs in the beginning, but once there is integration of women the benefits will outweigh the costs.

G. As you think about this process in relation to your project try to find where arguments rest.

1. First, move through process to discover where you think arguments rest in relation to your issue.
2. Consider the theoretical and practical questions to get at broad as well as specific concerns.
3. Compose a letter to the editor considering what are the most important and timely elements of your case.