discourse community

Project Description:

ra: discourse community document rhetorical

choose two published (preferably in a trade magazine or an academic journal) articles that discuss an issue relevant to your discourse community. make sure that the articles are clear and coherent, and that you have some knowledge of the subject before you start, since that will make your analysis more relevant and engaging. selecting articles that offer differing perspectives on the issue is also important.

perform a rhetorical analysis of the articles and compose an essay in which you present that analysis.

what, you ask, is a rhetorical analysis? i'm glad you asked. in a rhetorical analysis, you look closely and critically at a document of some kind. the point is to more clearly understand the documents (in this case, articles) and what the authors intended.

to find that clarity, we look at five aspects of the document:

1. what is the author's purpose?

o why did the author create this document? what is it for? also, did the author succeed or fail in achieving that purpose? how or why?

2. what is the context of the document?

o what forces or ideas (cultural, political, situational, etc) contributed to the author's point of view, purpose, or other aspects of the document? are there narrative or historical elements that inform your reading of the paper? for example, if your discourse community happened to be children's literature authors, and you chose two articles about diversity in children's literature, it would be very important to note that one was from 1974 and one was from last week, or that one was written by a children's literature expert or professional, while the other was written by a person who had no personal experience of children's literature.

3. what is the voice or tone of the document?

o is it argumentative? informative? is the author making a plea for something or trying to explain? is he or she analyzing or evaluating? those are only a few possible choices. what are specific points in the document where the author does something or says something that suggests the tone for you?

4. what is the genre of the document?

o is it an article? an essay in a scholarly journal? a blog post, or a fundraising letter? why do you think the author chose this particular genre? how does it serve his or her purpose? how does it serve the discourse community?

5. what is the audience for this document?

o to whom is this information or plea directed? what choices has the author made to try to resonate with a particular audience? what clues exist in the document that tell you more about the audience, or about the author's connection to that audience? are both the author and the audience part of the discourse community?

you can do a rhetorical analysis of two articles in a lot of different ways -- compare and contrast, more evaluative, etc. you can go through each of the five items and see how each article approaches it, or you can do a more wide-ranging overview, or you can do more of a side by side comparison. you can discuss one article and then say, however, this other article does these things like this. also, there are different ways you might choose to structure it, in terms of sections, etc.

rhetorical situation

produce an analysis for an audience of incoming freshmen (academic) or new hire/recent graduates (professional) who are new to the discourse community as a tool to explore different genres and how they can benefit discourse communities.

task details

your analysis should be 2-3 pages long, not including cover/references/works cited pages, and in either mla or apa

my discourse community is youth soccer
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