Developing a Reflection Essay for this project requires analysis of written work in a discipline. Students should focus on their major, or a major they might be interested in, to complete this analysis. In order to analyze, we must consider concepts about writing and how they help us understand what is written and how information is presented.
First, revisit this PowerPoint. (Links to an external site.) (Once you get to the web page, scroll down below the works cited to the PowerPoint). You might also revisit the Writing Situation. Consider the rhetorical situation in your own writing or in your life – apply it to a movie you’ve seen, to the web site you just accessed for the rhetorical situation PowerPoint, and to something you’ve written for school or some other purpose.
Complete this reflection exercise as you think about the rhetorical situation for each. Explain the rhetorical situation for each in about 250 words:
What are the audiences for each of those examples? List all audiences for each.
How would you define the genre of each – what are its conventions. A good way to think about the conventions of a genre is to consider what the audiences for each expect from each genre? Start with the movie, then the web site, then your own sample writing – what conventions of each are expected by a reader or “consumer” of each genre?For example, a horror movie’s conventions might be blood and gore, suspense, and characters who always go somewhere they should not. It’s purpose is to scare and entertain by scaring. It’s audience is broad, and is comprised of movie-goers who enjoy the genre – what can you assume about the audience?
Now think about your research essay. What might be its purpose? Movies are straightforward – they are generally intended to entertain, although documentaries are meant to inform or educate. Research essays might be more difficult to consider, but they have a purpose or a role. What was your essay’s role or purpose?
What other concepts of writing can you identify from the Rhetorical Situation PowerPoint that you can link to your Research Essay? Explain how any additional concepts might be important and how they might also be defined in connection to your research essay.
Look back to Project 1 and the exercises you did for that project – what writing concepts can you identify from across the semester that you might consider important to understanding your own writing?
Why do you think understanding the rhetorical situation might be important to know when you’re writing something?
In your major, or a discipline you choose for this project, conduct some quick research to find a few sources or publications that are somewhat representative of the discipline. A scholarly journal article that is appropriate to the major, a web resource, a report or professional document of some kind, are all things you might find depending on the major field, or the discipline. Review each publication you find and consider the rhetorical situation – what are the elements you can find in the publication that tell you about the rhetorical situation?
Who is the intended audience? Is there more than one? Describe all the audiences you can identify for this publication.
What is the purpose of the communication the publication is conveying? In other words, is there a message intended for the audience (or multiple messages)?
What is the genre, and why is the genre appropriate for communicating whatever the publication is intending?
What other writing concepts can you identify in each publication and discuss?
How does understanding these concepts and analyzing them help you understand the writing in a publication?
In reflecting on the writing concepts, and on each publication you’ve found, what are the connections you can make across them all? What are the similarities and differences you can identify? Do you see similarities in audiences, or genres, for example? Are there differences you might point out between a purpose for one and purpose for another publication? Reflect on all the similarities and differences you can find.
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