Sunday, February 22, 2009

Major Persuasive Project

Major Persuasive Project: (30 points: 25 points persuasive document; 5 points Cover Letter)

Rough Draft Due: March 10, 2009
Final Draft Due: March 19, 2009 by 4:30 pm in my box or 6 pm via email

Unlike your Major Analysis Project, your Major Persuasive Project represents an "application" of the rhetorical appeals you've studied this quarter. Using the same issue you've dealt with all quarter, you should now construct a piece of writing with a persuasive intent.

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 will also be accompanied by a Writer's Cover Letter in which the author of the project discusses the appeals used and explain how/why they were chosen.
Cover Letter for MPP (1-2 pages)

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 Letter to me that includes the following information:

Title of Project

Genre (PowerPoint, brochure, speech, lecture, essay, article, editorial, etc.)

Publication Venue (brochure for . . .? speech at . . .? etc.)

Audience: What audience do you expect to encounter at the above venue? What do you know about them (their needs, concerns, interests)?

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.

Works Consulted/Cited: List the sources consulted or cited in your presentation.

These letters 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.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Minor Persuasive Paper #1

First Minor Persuasive Paper (10 points; 2-3 pages):
Due: 2-26-09
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 (or another issue, if you choose). (It need not be political; a music or fashion discussion group, for example, would be fine.) You may also compare two different blogs in this review. 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?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sample thesis statements

You can make an argument, and thus your thesis would be your Main Claim:

1. The issue of low income housing in Seattle takes shape through different definitions of community.

2. We can understand arguments surrounding Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan in the way different appeals are designed for different audiences.

3. The logic of persuasion used by sports pundits shapes how an audience experiences the Super Bowl.

You can also state your thesis/main claim as a question:

1. How do advocates for less expensive college textbooks make their case?

2. How do advocate’s solutions to end sex trafficking shape how people understand the problem of sex trafficking?

3. How does the logic of persuasion shape free speech debates surrounding groups like Westboro Baptist Church?

*Your paper is then an answer to the above questions, or in the first set of examples, your paper is support for your Main Claim.

Evaluation questions

Questions to consider as you read your peer's paper:

1. Section 1 - Intro:
Has my peer (1) effectively introduced the issue/topic, (2) concisely summarized key author's basic arguments, and (3) included a clear thesis (a claim concerning the original argument's overall effectiveness with supporting reasons)? (4) another way to think of a thesis is through a research question: what are you attempting to discover through your analysis? For example: “How do authors view the “think before you speak campaign?” Your thesis might also be a response to this question: “Advocates for GLBTQ rights view the “think before you speak” campaign in different ways.

2. Section 2 - Audience:
(1) Who are potential audiences for this issue (consider the kinds on page 296); (2) Has my peer effectively described an intended audience, providing various kinds of evidence (from the texts and the publications) to support his/her description? (3) Justification for discussion: why is there a need to discuss this issue; in other words, for whom are these discussions salient?

3. Section 3 – History and Context:
Has my peer effectively described and analyzed (1) the ethos of authors—competence to be speaking on an issue, ideological biases, concern for others regarding outcome of issue, (2) summarized progression of issue over time, and key arguments in current discussions, (3) think about templates for “they say,” starting with what others are saying and “putting yourself in their shoes,” the art of summarizing and writing as a “believer” (Graff and Birkenstein, chapters 1 and 2), (4) Is the summary adequate to understand the issue? Is the summary balanced in relation to the stated thesis—objectives for the paper?

4. Section 4 - Line of Reasoning:
Has my peer effectively described and analyzed(1) his/her line of reasoning on the problem, (2) his/her line of reasoning on the solution, (3) his/her use of concessions and rebuttals (what arguments are anticipated, and (4) his appeals to certain values and emotions?

5. Section 5 - Conclusion:
Has my peer offered a detailed final evaluation of author's arguments, weighing strengths against weaknesses (while focusing still on the intended audience)? (2) What topics of peroration (summary, emotional appeals, and enhancing ethos) are used and are they effective (see page 314)?

6. General - Analysis:
Has my peer offered sufficient analysis throughout her/his essay? Are there places where my peer offers way too much summary or way too little analysis?

7. General - Clarity:
Has my peer described the original argument effectively enough so that readers unfamiliar with the argument can understand it? If not, what seems missing or unclear?

8. General - Structure:
Is my peer’s essay well structured? If not, how might it more clearly and logically be organized?

9. General - Objectivity:
Does my peer’s analysis of the argument remain mostly objective -- that is, focused on explaining (1) the author's rhetorical choices and (2) his/her audience's possible responses to them? If my peer starts offering too much of his or her personal opinion, can I pinpoint where and how?