WRD 104: Composition & Rhetoric II Rotating Header Image

Contextual Analyses feedback

There were some consistent patterns in the feedback I gave on 2nd drafts, so I thought I’d inlude it here:

  • Build your essay around the contextual points you want to make, and don’t let your sources organize your paper
  • Move up and down the “ladder of abstraction” — from generalization to varying levels of specific detail back to generalization
  • Integrate, summarize, analyze, explain, and evaluate your sources, putting them into conversation with each other, rather than merely reporting them.  For example, “David Brooks, a regular Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times argues that …” is there anything about Brooks’s ethos, ideology, or role as a public intellectual that can help you situate his argument rhetorically, and thus help you synthesize it or compare/contrast it with other sources? Don’t forget to use your good rhetorical summary & analysis skills here: what’s the argument? why does he make it? why now? for whom? in what kind of publication does it appear, who reads that publication, and what does that tell you about the argument? 
  • Make clear early in your essay  either implicitly or explicitly what kind of research project this is:  by analyzing the rhetoric of the climate change debate, and the [cultural, ideological, social, economic] values of those who study and write about it, we can learn a lot more about this timely issue … or something like that. Alerting your readers to your method and your framework positions you and your work as putting the issue into context — it helps readers follow what you’re doing.