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The purpose of rhetorical analysis is to discover how a text persuades its readers; the purpose of process and causal analysis is to discover and explain how a situation or issue works. In either case, analysis involves examining, selecting, and interpreting.
We discuss these three forms of analysis in some detail below because each has useful applications in academic writing. In a humanities course such as literature, drama, languages, the classics--Greek and Latin or a related sub-discipline like cultural studies, media studies, or communication studies, you might be asked to analyze the rhetoric of a text.
In a science course you might be asked to perform a process analysis, and social science courses may ask you to engage in causal analysis.
These forms of analysis are not linked exclusively with specific disciplines, but as you learn more about analysis, you will see why different disciplines tend to make particular use of one type.
Rhetorical Analysis To analyze the rhetoric of a text is to figure out how it persuades its readers--not what it is attempting to persuade them of, but how it goes about accomplishing that task. Nor is rhetorical analysis directly concerned with whether the text's assertions are correct.
Thus Kenneth Burke, one of the great American rhetoricians of the twentieth century, asserts that analyzing Hitler's rhetoric is a worthwhile task. It doesn't matter that you might violently disagree with Hitler's motives or his arguments, says Burke; in conducting a rhetorical analysis of his texts, you can learn a lot about the means by which people are persuaded.
Hitler was able to persuade a great number of people to join him in a cause that is today widely denounced. How did he do it? This is the compelling question of rhetorical analysis.
It is a useful question for you to learn how to answer; with the ability to understand how you are persuaded, you are less vulnerable to manipulation. Although few of your classes will assign you to write rhetorical analyses, learning to conduct this type of inquiry and write this type of paper can make appreciable contributions to critical thinking skills that you can then apply to your academic studies.
Rhetorical analysis--being able to figure out how arguments work--can help you to understand how the various academic disciplines work. Conducting a rhetorical analysis of a linguistics text, for example, helps you understand how the discipline of linguistics asks and answers questions--by what means members of that discipline tend to form beliefs.
You may be asked to write a form of rhetorical analysis known as explication or close reading in literature classes, and, as we explain in "African American Women Writers," an ability to explicate a text is the first step in writing an effective paper. Prewriting and organizing your material A reader's summary is a good first step; it aids your understanding of the text.
The reader's summary gives you preliminary--but essential--information. Once you have drafted your reader's summary which, in a task of rhetorical analysis, is a form of prewritingyou should ask yourself three preliminary questions: Questions to ask as you perform a rhetorical analysis Now you are ready to begin your rhetorical analysis, collecting material that will lead you to your own thesis and that will become part of your essay.
This analysis is best achieved by asking a whole series of questions, beginning with the following: What is the context of this text?
Where was it published, and when? Who is the intended audience for this text? Sometimes that question can be answered from the context, and sometimes there are clues in the text that tell you who the writer imagined his or her readers to be.
Does the text demonstrate a respect for its audience? What stance does it adopt toward that audience--one of teacher, colleague, supplicant? Is the text superior to the audience?
Is it the equal of its audience? Is it afraid of or hostile towards its audience? Does it welcome the audience into the discussion, or exclude them from it?
By what means does the text seek to persuade its readers of the thesis? By appealing to their emotions, their fears? By recounting personal experience, observation, or research? By building the author's own credibility as an authority on the subject or as a generally knowledgeable person?
By adducing empirical data--statistics, tables, graphs, and the like? See the discussion of ethos, logos, and pathos on pp. How does the text establish that this evidence actually supports the argument--or does it assume that you, the reader, automatically agree that this evidence is valid and sufficient?
Whom does the text portray as the enemies of its argument? Whom does it portray as its friends? To what extent does the text consider counterevidence--alternative points of view?
Are these given serious consideration, or are they "shot down" without a trial? To what extent does the text acknowledge the complexity of the issue--or does it try to make it seem that the issue is a simple one, with only one "right" answer?What is "Writing in the Disciplines?" WID instructors such as the ones in the Academic Writing Program work to help students recognize that writing has social consequences for artists, for accountants, for scientists, or for CEOs.
An academic discipline or academic field is a branch of knowledge. It incorporates expertise, people, projects, communities, challenges, studies, inquiry, and research areas that are strongly associated with a given scholastic subject area or college department.
It presents writing from a range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, cultivating students’ awareness of the subtle differences in genre.
This new edition has been revised throughout and contains many new exercises, updated examples, a new section on research proposals, and wider disciplinary coverage. Examples of Writing Styles Expository / Persuasive In Savage Inequalities, Jonathan Kozol examines public education in our country and explains the negative role that socio-economic background.
" Academic language is the language needed by students to understand and communicate in the academic disciplines. Academic language includes such things as specialized vocabulary, conventional text structures within a field (e.g., essays, lab reports) and other language-related activities typical of classrooms, (e.g., expressing disagreement.
This sections contains various academic fields. It contains examples, cases and scientific knowledge about different disciplines.