+1 (218) 451-4151

Researching Rhetorically Post #3: Interactive

Researching Rhetorically Post #3: Interactive

Now that you’ve found an opinion/persuasive piece related to or about the movement you are interested in, and an informative text about the same topic, you will focus on finding another text that is in conversation with the previous two.

STEP 1: Next, find a text in conversation with your first two that that allows for reader/viewer interaction via feedback, online comments, etc. You can be creative here. For example, you could look at a blog, a series of tweets, a podcast, Instagram posts, online videos, interviews, artwork, ads, etc. as long as the text provides space for interaction from readers/viewers (like comments, sharing, or liking).

Importantly, again, try to pick a source (or series of sources–if you use something like tweets) that isn’t just broadly about the same general topic as the one you used for the last discussion, but one that debates the same question or concern that your previous sources debated/discussed.

NOTE: Try to find a source with information that surprises you or enhances your understanding of the conversation in some way. This will help you write a better analysis.

STEP 2: Once you’ve identified a source to work with, read the text(s) and then write a rhetorical summary. To help you write a rhetorical summary, see Guiding Questions for Rhetorical Summaries below. Because your source is so different from the previous sources you used, your answers will probably be very different.

Note: there’s a new question below: don’t forget to answer it!

Guiding Questions For Researching Rhetorically:

Please use specific examples from the text to support your analysis. Here are some questions to consider.

  • First, identify the author (first name and last name) and title of the piece and where/when it was published. Then identify the core idea of the author’s argument, along with information on what they’re arguing and how they’re making their argument. (If it’s an informative piece, identify what the main goal of the document is and what they are using to support that goal. For example, what are they trying to explain? Why? How?) Your summary should remain an objective report of the article/text, without your commentary or opinion of the author’s argument/information.
  • Who is the audience for the text and what was the author’s purpose? Remember that the audience cannot be “everyone”. (For example, does the audience belong to a particular age group? To a specific geographical location? A political affiliation? A specific career or degree of knowledge? Look for clues in the text as to whom the writer thinks is reading.) What is the writer responding to? What do you know about the author/place of publication?
  • How does the writer use evidence/information? Is the evidence/information reliable? Why or why not?
  • What is the level of bias or degree of advocacy in the medium where this article was published? For example, a newspaper or website might believe something very strongly, to the point that they are very selective in the information they share, or they might be trying to be “neutral”. If you look into the newspaper/website/etc, you might get clues. What might you say are the medium’s values? For example, for an article, you might read the Wikipedia page to learn more about the magazine or newspaper in which it is published. For a social media post, you might click on the profile and see if the other posts indicate a bias. For a website, you might look at the “about page” or read other perspectives on this website. Try to understand if this author is advocating a specific position (or is “neutral”) and/or if the place where this source was published advocates a position (or is “neutral”).
  • Look at the WAY the author makes the argument. What stylistic choices does the author make? What content choices? What choices regarding images, layout, etc? How do such choices relate to their rhetorical purpose/s? For example, how do their choices help develop their ethos? How do the choices support their argument? How do their choices help them connect with the audience?
  • How does the interactive nature of this text add to, challenge, and/or support the main message of the text? For example, what can we learn about this particular conversation by looking at the interactions taking place online that we might not have otherwise understood?
  • What did you learn from this source that you did not know from the previous sources? In what ways does this source build on or contradict the other sources? How is the source entering the conversation in similar or different ways from your previous sources?