Writing Project 2: Comparative Analysis of Rhetorical Approaches Taken When Constructing Arguments for Expert and Non-Expert Audiences
Academics, researchers, scholars, and scientists are generally viewed as experts, people who possess extended training and education and/or intense experience through practice. As experts, they regularly produce arguments for groups of people who are also experts, others who also possess specialized knowledge or training. Jean Twenge, a faculty member in SDSU’s Psychology department, is a perfect example of such a person. Over her 20+ year career, she has researched generational differences and published her findings in over 100 articles in peer-reviewed publications. Within the academic community, Twenge is viewed as an expert.
However, the transmission of knowledge from experts to broader, non-expert populations has proved challenging. Many people have recognized this as a problem because experts base their careers on addressing issues that everyday people do or should care about.
For instance, Anthony Fauci is an immunologist who has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since the mid-1980s. Though the science behind his research with rheumatology, HIV/AIDS, and Ebola virus is beyond my understanding, I know his work with these viruses impacts the lives of millions of people in this nation. Presently, Fauci is tackling the coronavirus pandemic. When people realized around early March that the coronavirus pandemic was going to persist in the U.S.A., Fauci asserted that wearing face masks or shields consistently would reduce coronavirus transmission. However, as we witness daily on social media and our own personal observations, some Americans are slow to embrace this expert’s recommendation. Why is this happening? And more broadly, why are experts’ views often overlooked or discounted in American society?
I’m going to propose that we approach addressing this question from a rhetorical perspective. To do this, we have to accept a few ground rules.
· First, we will work from the assumption that successful authors have a keen awareness of their target audience’s expectations.
· Second, we will contend that the expectations of expert and non-expert audiences are different, thus requiring authors (who want to be successful in delivering their message) to make different rhetorical decisions to meet these distinct audiences’ expectations.
· Third, something is happening when experts make arguments that lead to the unsuccessful delivery of their messages to non-expert audiences.
One way to approach this issue is to examine the effectiveness of arguments for expert audiences, and then turn our attention to those designed for non-expert audiences. By exploring arguments made for expert and non-expert audiences, we can reach meaningful conclusions about the rhetorical choices experts should make that could help them communicate their messages successfully to non-experts.
In completing this assignment, you have two options about which texts you will use.
Option One: Let Parker select which texts you will use.
If you take Option One, I will take care of the research component for you. Please select one of the following pairs of readings/texts to work with:
1. How might technology impact Generation Z?
a. Text # 1: “Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation?” by Jean Twenge, which is available here: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/
b. Text # 2: “Psychological Well-Being Among American Adolescents After 2012 and Links to Screen Time During the Rise of Smartphone Technology” by Jean M. Twenge, Gabrielle N. Martin, and W. Keith Campbell, which is available through the Module 2 / Readings folder on Blackboard.
2. What are microaggressions and how might they impact people’s lives?
a. Text # 1: Microaggressions, the Anti-PC Movement, and the N-Word” by The Responsible Consumer https://theresponsibleconsumer.wordpress.com/microaggressions-and-the-anti-pc-movement/#Microaggressions (only need to read the section on Microaggressions)
b. Text # 2: “Microaggressions: Intervening in Three Acts” by Amie Thurber & Robin DiAngelo, which is available through the Module 2 / Readings folder on Blackboard.
Option Two: You will do the research yourself.
Instead of using one of the two pairs of texts above, you will locate on your own one argument designed for a non-expert audience. Using the examples above, magazines like Time and the Atlantic and blogs like The Responsible Consumer and Bleacher Report are designed for people who have an interest in a topic but are non-experts. Consider using popular newspapers and magazines to find such arguments, but don’t forget other common genres (i.e., speeches, podcasts, and blogs). Stay away from reference materials like dictionaries, encyclopedias, and Wikipedia.
Also, locate at least one argument that addresses the same issue that is published for an academic/expert audience. This article should be published in a peer-reviewed publication.
Both articles/texts do not need to be authored by the same person. Again, Twenge’s two texts above show this is possible, but this is not a requirement for this assignment. I do recommend working with texts published within the last 5 years, so let’s say nothing before 2015.
Important Note: If you choose Option Two, I would encourage you to send me the URL’s of the expert-audience and non-expert-audience texts. Within a minute, I can let you know if the two texts you have selected are appropriate for this assignment.
Please scroll down to the next page!
You are asked to create a slide presentation using a popular slide application like Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Apply Keynote, or Prezi. Your slide presentation is expected to consist of 19 – 20 slides.
Here is a description for the content of each slide:
Section One: Introduction and Purpose
· Slide 1: Title slide for your presentation;
· Slide 2: Slide that announces the purpose of your presentation.
Section Two: Non-Expert Audience Text
· Slide 3: Introduce the non-expert audience text by providing the author’s name and relevant credentials, title of the text, publication medium and date, and relevant related image;
· Slide 4: Summarize the topic addressed by the author, identify the author’s central idea, and present two important supporting claims the author makes;
· Slide 5: Present one important rhetorical strategy used by the author, and demonstrate multiples uses of this strategy;
· Slide 6: Same as Slide 5 but with a second important rhetorical strategy;
· Slide 7: Same as Slide 5 but with a third important rhetorical strategy;
· Slide 8: Explain how the Slide 7 rhetorical strategy makes the author’s argument successful.
Section Three: Expert Audience Text
· Slide 9: Introduce the expert audience text by providing the author’s name and relevant credentials, title of the text, publication medium and date, and relevant related image,
· Slide 10: Summarize the topic addressed by the author, identify the author’s central idea, and present two important supporting claims the author makes;
· Slide 11: Present one important rhetorical strategy used by the author, and demonstrate multiples uses of this strategy;
· Slide 12: Same as Slide 11 but with a second important rhetorical strategy;
· Slide 13: Same as Slide 11 but with a third important rhetorical strategy;
· Slide 14: Explain how the Slide 13 rhetorical strategy makes the author’s argument successful.
Section Four: Which Combination of Rhetorical Strategies Works Best with…Your Close Friend?
· Slide 15, Present a short biography of a close friend,
· Slide 16, Using comparison, develop one reason that explains why one text will be more successful with your close friend,
· Slide 17: Using comparison, develop a second reason that explains why one text will be more successful with your close friend,
· Slide 18: Consider the implications of your comparative rhetorical analysis for American society today (and moving forward through the rest of 2020).
Section Five: Works Cited & Image Credits
· Slide 19: Works Cited and image credits (this may be multiple slides depending on how many entries there are)
1. The initial draft (which is a partially complete draft) should be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, 20 July 2020.
2. The peer assessment is expected to be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, 23 July 2020.
3. The revised, final draft will be due by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, 27 July 2020.
Course Learning Objectives emphasized in this assignment:
1. Analyze and evaluate complex print, digital, and multimodal texts that engage significant academic, professional, or civic issues.
2. Apply rhetorical principles appropriate to different purposes and goals, within specific disciplinary, professional and civic communities.
3. Research and contribute to specific areas of inquiry by evaluating, synthesizing, and integrating strategies and sources appropriate to genre.
4. Adapt and employ conventions to communicate with diverse audiences who are members of or affected by a specific area or discipline.
5. Compose a variety of texts, working individually and collaboratively, through processes of drafting, critiquing, reflecting, and editing.