Rhetorical Analysis of a Written Textual Source

Word count: 1000-2000 words

Overview: you’ll write a thesis-driven analysis of the strength of an argument made in a text, or source, related to our theme of conspiracies/conspiracy theories. It will be a WRITTEN (not visual) source.You will be evaluating whether the source is credible enough to use as a source for your final research paper (which will explore the ethics of discussing a particular conspiracy theory).

You will pick your own written text to write about. There is not a required length for the written text you pick, but you need to make sure it has enough content for you to be able to fulfill the essay's requirements.

You will include at leastone outside source aside from the main source you are analyzing that will help serve as Evidence to support a point from one of yourbody paragraphs. This source must also bewritten, not visual. Bring readers into the context of the reading. In what larger conversation is the author participating? What ethical problems or questions appear in this text? Why are they important? What’s at stake? Introduce the text to the reader, briefly summarize its main idea, and make a claim (thesis) for the author’s rhetorical strategies. A strong claim is both contestable – reasonable people might disagree – and predictive – it will set up expectations for your reader.

Your mission is to answer the question: what is the information this text is providing, can we trust it, and why? You might evaluate how persuasive the text is in the course of evaluating how credible it is, but your primary objective is to evaluate credibility, not persuasiveness.

? Develop your main points around specific rhetorical strategies. Consider how the author constructs the argument, not whether or not you agree. Analysis relies on objective judgments.(This means you should not use "I" in your paper–as in "I think this text is credible because….")

Remember also that rhetoric encompasses any tools available for persuasion. You might consider how the author’s attempts to be persuasive affect the text’s overall credibility. For example, would it be useful to talk about the argument in terms of ethos, logos, and/or pathos? Or on purpose, audience, and/or genre?

? Support your main points with concrete examples (evidence) from the text. To develop and support your own points, you will need to include specific examples in the form of paraphrase or short direct quotations.


Your introduction will present a hook that interests the reader in the topic your text explores, provide some contextualizing information about the text (what is it? Who wrote it? When? Why?) and about the conspiracy/conspiracy theory it's related to, and summarize the purpose/argument of your text. You will conclude the introduction with your own thesis statement about whether your text is credible and the reasons why.

(You can write about reasons the text is both credible and not credible…the thesis just has to make it clear which one it ultimately is."While the text might seem credible because of [reason a], it's ultimately not credible because of [reasons b and c].")

Your second paragraph will provide a summary of the text, presenting the information the text presents in the order it presents it, without getting too general or too detailed.

You will have a minimum of 3 body paragraphs after your summary paragraph, even if you will meet the minimum word count with just the intro, summary, 2 body paragraphs and the conclusion. Your body paragraphs will consist of the MEAL plan. (Note that this is one more body paragraph than Essay 1!)

Your conclusion will summarize the content of your paper (think one line-summaries for each body paragraph), and will present how this text might be used in an argument about the conspiracy/conspiracy theory you'll write about in your research paper.

Your paper will be in MLA format: You will include a new page entitled "Works Cited":

Gives the formal citation for your article in MLA (Works Cited) format. You can find the general guidelines of and models for MLA citations by consulting: the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL). The Works Cited citations do NOT count as part of the paper's word count. Like the first essay, this text should have at least two sources in its Works Cited—the main written text you’re analyzing and at least one outside source you’re using to support your argument. </pstyle="font-family:></pstyle="font-family:>

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