Paper 2: Rhetorically-Informed Argument

This is your second training paper. (You can find it as an attachment at the bottom of this page.) For this module, I want you to do what you did for the last paper (Ideas Paper) plus a little bit more.

 1. First, read the prompt for this essay sample, paying close attention to requirements.

 2. Read the paper completely. Feel free to make marks on the paper where there are sections you'd like to discuss.  You might put a small dash or check mark next to a moment in the text you want to return to later. 

 3. Remembering that it's important to begin sessions with what the writer's doing well, find (and post here) three things in the paper that you'd want to praise.

 4. Then identify and post three things in the paper that you want to address during the session that will help the student revise the paper. Since you want to avoid overwhelming students with "what's wrong" with their paper, you'll want to consider which three things are most important to cover and stick with those.

 5. In addition to these same issues that you dealt with in paper one, please speak about the global issues that you're seeing in this paper. What are the higher order concerns? For instance, what do you think is the most compelling issue to be addressed in this paper? What did you find most interesting? Are there minor issues that you'd want to touch on briefly but not over-emphasize?

 6. One essential element in this paper — and various other argument papers you will encounter in the Writing Center — is the writer's use of rhetorical appeals (refer to the <a href="training-rhetorical-appeals" title="rhetorical appeals training activity">rhetorical appeals training activity</a> to deepen your understanding of this concept). Does the writer make appeals to logos (logic and facts), pathos (emotion), and ethos (credibility)? Is one appeal used  more often than others, used ineffectively, and/or entirely missing? Do the appeals the writer has chosen help to make the argument more persuasive? It is possible that your responses to question 6 will connect with your responses to question 5. In other words, a misuse of rhetorical appeals in an argument paper is a global issue/higher order concern that you will most likely need to address in a session.

So, your task is to construct a post that addresses all of these issues and thinks strategically about how you'd like to organize the session. If you're struggling with the vocabulary to describe what you're seeing, take note of that and discuss it in your post.


More than anything, your goal should be to articulate those 6 points (3 positive and 3 "needs improvement" areas) and to formulate an analysis of the paper, pushing yourself a bit further than you might have for the Ideas Paper.


Again, if your post doesn't contain these elements, you may be asked to revise. 


Final Thoughts


As always, you should refrain from trying to "fix" the student's paper and instead consider how best to move the student into the revision process. Consider using the writing center equivalent of I statements: "As a reader, I like how you did...", or "as a reader, I was confused by what came next in your essay. I expected X, but you did Y instead." Try to continue using these I statements when addressing misuse of rhetorical appeals: “As a reader, I was confused by your rhetorical choice. Do you think this would persuade your audience?” or “As one of your audience members, I was thinking to myself 'how might this make other audience members feel'?”


Refer once again to The Longman Guide pgs. 33-38 to assist you with this process (paying close attention to the section on higher order concerns). Pages 83-86 may also help to spark some ideas about your analysis of and response to the paper. 


After you've drafted your post, be sure to read and respond to at least two of your colleagues' posts on this topic. 


Note: If you haven't written two responses, you will not be given credit for this training module.