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Sample Comparative Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Length

5 pages

Purpose

This project will advance the following learning objectives:

  • Use the steps in the writing process.
  • Employ traditional rhetorical modes and various strategies for generating, organizing, and developing written communication.
  • Write paragraphs and essays that are unified, coherent, cohesive, and complete.
  • Apply critical and creative thinking skills in writing, reading, and class discussion or activities.
  • Utilize techniques of revising, editing, and proofreading in improving skills in the style and mechanics of writing.
  • Identify purpose, audience, and tone in order to enhance the methods of development and organization.
  • Take a position and support a thesis with valid evidence.
  • Evaluate writing for effective communication.

Instruction

In order to make good rhetorical choices yourself, it is often helpful to analyze the rhetorical choices that have been made by others. The purpose of this assignment is to look at two articles written on the same topic, but addressing different audiences, and to take your observations and mold them into an argument about how audience expectations affects writing decisions.

You will first choose one of the article pairs found below. I suggest reviewing several of the choices first to find one that both interests you and that you understand. Reading the popular article first can give you a jump on understanding the content of the scholarly work. Once you have decided on your topic and read through the articles, you can start to build your analysis.

For this analysis, I suggest focusing a few of the following rhetorical choices:

  • Purpose
  • Terminology
  • Visuals
  • Use of quotations
  • Use of citations/references

You will want to explain each rhetorical choice for each of your sources, give descriptions or examples, and explain why the author(s) made that particular choice. Your thesis for this paper, however, shouldn’t focus on which is more effective, but rather why the choices are so different -- again, this will likely have to do with audience.

Global concerns

There are several organizational strategies that could work for this assignment, but broadly speaking you can choose to organize by article or by rhetorical feature. To organize by article, you would first address the rhetorical decisions in one article, then move to the next, and end with your comparison. Another strategy would be to address one rhetorical strategy at a time, and switch back and forth between articles. In outline form, the two options would look like this

  • By article
    • Introduction
    • Rhetorical feature #1 for scholarly article
    • Rhetorical feature #2 for scholarly article
    • Rhetorical feature #3 for scholarly article
    • Rhetorical feature #4 for scholarly article
    • Rhetorical feature #1 for popular article
    • Rhetorical feature #2 for popular article
    • Rhetorical feature #3 for popular article
    • Rhetorical feature #4 for popular article
    • Comparison/conclusion

 

  • By Rhetorical Feature
    • Rhetorical Feature #1
      • Scholarly article
      • Popular article
      • Comparison
    • Rhetorical Feature #2
      • Scholarly article
      • Popular article
      • Comparison
    • Rhetorical Feature #3
      • Scholarly article
      • Popular article
      • Comparison
    • Rhetorical Feature #4
      • Scholarly article
      • Popular article
      • Comparison
    • Conclusion

Local Concerns

Your writing should adhere to MLA citation style, as well as the expectations of Standard Written English. The paper should be in 12-point, Times New Roman font, and be double-spaced with one-inch margins on all sides and no extra space between paragraphs.

Article Pair Options

Readings & Resources

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