Rhetorical analysis questions

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Reference no: EM131119768

View the following YouTube video and answer the questions below from your handout, "Rhetorical Analysis Questions".  This exercise will help you practice summarizing, analyzing, and evaluating a text while using rhetorical terms and concepts.  In other words, this will serve as a helpful review of 1101 basics.  It will also help you practice analyzing sources, which you will need to do in all three of your writing projects this term.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WzgVMp7-Lo

There are 30 questions below. You may answer any 20/30 for full credit. (You may have to watch the video more than once, and taking notes while watching is recommended.)

1) Summarize (list the main ideas of) the text from a neutral point of view.

2) Respond "with the grain": talk about what points you agree with-or can relate to- while adding your own support and examples.

3) Respond "against the grain": talk about what points you disagree with-or have trouble relating to-while rebutting (contradicting) the author's ideas with counter-reasoning and counterexamples (examples that either disprove the author's points or that show alternative perspectives).

4) Talk about the author's angle of vision. What points has the writer deliberately emphasized and which ones have been left out? Are these sound rhetorical choices (choices related to effective communication)? Explain.

5) Google the author or look at any biographical material contained in the text. Based on this material, how credible is the author (in other words, how strong is the author's appeal to ethos)? What, if anything, could the author do to improve his/her appeal to ethos with regard to biographical considerations?

6) Talk about any biases the author shows or that might be expected based on the author's biography (age, education level, cultural background, political background, religious background, chosen field of study, etc.). How do they affect the text with regard to ethos (credibility of speaker/writer), pathos (ability to influence an audience according to their values/emotions) or logos (logic of the text itself)? Again, what, if anything, could the author do to improve his/her appeals to ethos/pathos/logos with regard to biographical considerations?

7) What other factors in this text affect the author's credibility/ethos (vocabulary, style, clarity of purpose, awareness of audience, etc.)? What, if anything, could the author do to improve his/her appeal to ethos with regard to these considerations?

8) How well has the author created a reasonable, logically structured piece (one that appeals to logos)? Explain.

9) How reputable, relevant, current, sufficient, and representative are the evidence/examples? If research is included, which ones are primary sources and which are secondary sources? What kinds of additional evidence/examples could be added to make this text stronger?

10) How well does the writer appeal to readers' emotions, sympathies, and values (pathos)? Explain. What are other ways pathos could be appealed to that you can think of?

11) What is the genre of this text? What are the conventions/expectations of this genre, including considerations related to both form (font size and type, spacing, use of images vs. text, online vs. printed format, etc.) and content (thesis-driven? narrative-driven? poetic/technical/formal/informal/other type of language, etc.)? Which conventions typical of this genre does the author follow? Any that are not followed? Overall, how successful is the author with regard to producing a text that works well for this particular genre and purpose? Explain.

12) How do the author's language choices contribute to the impact of the text? Does the author use any "jargon" words from the field of study under examination to add to his/her credibility?

13) Who is the intended audience? How do you know this? How successfully does the writer reach the target audience? Explain.

14) What other audiences could have been targeted and how might that have changed this text?

15) What is the writer's purpose? How well does he/she achieve this purpose?

16) Do you disagree with any of the vocabulary or grammar choices? What changes would you make if you were the writer/director/author?

17) What is the author's main idea, major claim or thesis statement? Is it stated clearly, or should it be articulated more directly? Is it in the best location within the piece to serve its purpose, or should it be moved; if so, where? How well does the title give us an idea of the main point of the piece? Can you think of a better-or improved-title?

18) Does the author present counterarguments? Are they convincing or how could they be improved? Are there any opposing views that are missing that need to be addressed?

19) What is the author's tone (attitude towards the subject matter) (examples: lighthearted, serious, sarcastic, measured, overwrought)? Is this the best choice? If not, what might work better? If this text was presented in a humorous manner, could it also have been done effectively as a serious text? If so, how? If a serious text, could it have been done effectively with humor? Explain.

20) How did reading this piece affect your previous ideas about the topic?

21) Why do you think the instructor/student selected this text to share with the class?

22) List some of your own biases as a reader that might color how you respond to this-or any-text on this particular topic. (Note: "bias" need not necessarily be construed as something negative.)

23) Does the text seem to work inductively (the author started with a research question and then gathered evidence in an attempt to answer it, with no preconceived hypothesis) or deductively (the author started with a hypothesis and then tried to find evidence to support it)? Which strategy did or would work better here?

24) What other conclusions in addition to the ones the author makes might be drawn from this text?

25) Are there any logical fallacies present in this text? What are they and how might they be corrected?

26) Label the various parts of the text-chapters, subtitles, front matter, back matter, introductions, sections, etc. How do the parts function in relation to the whole? [This process is known as analysis of the text, which is different from summary (identifying the main ideas of a text), reader response (reacting with your own thoughts/opinions), and evaluation (judging or rating the quality of the text as a piece of rhetoric).]

27) What are some other texts in this genre (or by the same author or related to the same topic) that could be compared/contrasted with this one? List a few quick similarities and differences among them. Are the other examples you came up with more effective rhetorically, less effective, or about equal in regards to effectiveness?

28) Contextualize the issue explored in this text. Look up some facts on-or tell us what you already know about-the topic's history, what's going on with this topic currently, or what might be going on with this topic in the future.

29) Think about transfer: how might what you have learned or been presented in this text (or the critical analysis thereof) be applied to other learning, writing, or thinking situations in your future studies? (Examples: maybe you learned a new method of appealing to an audience's emotions/values (pathos); maybe evaluating the author's effectiveness with regard to counterargument will help you think about your own use of counterargument in future writings; maybe the text used a strategy that is different from strategies you have used previously in your writing, giving you ideas for future use.)

30) What questions do you still have about the text itself, its creator, or its main topic? Where might you turn to research these questions further? What questions/comments would you like to discuss with other critical thinkers after reading this text?

Reference no: EM131119768

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