This essay is the capstone of your semester-long research project. It should be researched thoroughly, argued soundly, and written clearly. The centerpiece of the essay should be your textual analysis of your rhetorical text; toward that end, you should build upon (revise and revamp as necessary) your initial Textual Analysis and Contextual Analysis assignments. In general, the essay expands upon the work you have done in the Textual Analysis by developing a complete piece of rhetorical criticism. The essay should include the following parts:
1. Introduction: The introduction should provide a thought-provoking opening narrative that grabs the reader’s attention; justify the significance of the topic and text; articulate clearly (i.e., “In this essay, I argue…”) the essay’s thesis statement; offer a preview statement that tells how the remainder of the essay will develop.
2. Contextual Analysis: A thorough, polished, argumentative distillation of the relevant historical/cultural context as it relates to your chosen text – revised in accordance with the feedback you have received on the Contextual Analysis assignment.
3. Textual Analysis: A thorough, polished, argumentative analysis of your text – revised in accordance with the feedback you have received on the Textual Analysis assignment.
a. An inclusion of theoretical frameworks – If your analysis is built around a specific theory/concept, it may be productive for you to begin this section with a brief explanation to the reader how you’re approaching that theory/concept. For example, if you were focusing on the role of “metaphor” in your text, it would be wise to provide a brief discussion on the functions of metaphor—particularly the aspects of metaphor that you’re emphasizing in the analysis.
4. Conclusion: Contrary to popular belief, conclusions should do much more than simply summarize the preceding pages of an essay. The conclusion should develop the insights from the analysis by reflecting upon the essay’s significant implications. Those implications could be historical, social, political, or theoretical. For example, if you were to analyze one of MLK’s lesser known speeches, your analysis might provide newfound historical insights about MLK’s rhetorical legacy. Alternately, if you were analyzing a contemporary text about transgender controversies, your analysis might yield social insights about gender/identity politics.
***The essay should cite a minimum of 10 sources (in addition to your text), the majority of which should be scholarly in nature (book, journal article, credible news report, etc.).
Final Paper Presentation (5-7 minutes): At the end of the semester, students will be asked to compose, record, and upload a slideshow presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) with audio commentary on their Final Draft Essay. Presentations will be timed, polished and be comparable in style to academic/scholarly presentations.
Students will not have time to discuss every aspect of the paper and will need to be strategic when choosing what information to include and omit from the presentation.
Successful presentations will address the following questions:
1. What text did you choose and how/why is it significant (and for whom?)?
2. What is your argumentative thesis?
3. What were the major tenets of your analysis?
4. As a direct result of your analysis, what were the major critical takeaways of the project?
***NOTE: This final paper presentation is a required component of the class (students must complete this presentation in order to receive credit for the course).
Peer Evaluation of Final Paper Presentation (2-3 pages): In order to facilitate the opportunity to receive feedback from your peers on your Final Draft Essay research, each student will be assigned to evaluate another classmate’s Final Paper Presentation. Once presentations have been uploaded in the D2L dropbox, I will redistribute the files such that you are able to access and assess that presentation. Peer evaluations will take place during the last full week of class. Students will then upload their assessments into the D2L dropbox and I will pass them along to the classmate being evaluated.
Successful evaluations will address the following:
1. The clarity and significance of the research question(s) and argumentative thesis.
2. The overall significance of the project for implicated audiences.
3. The clarity of the student’s textual analysis
4. The importance and clarity of the critical takeaways of the student’s project.
***Evaluations should be geared toward helping the student produce a stronger Final Draft Essay. In other words, successful evaluations will engage the merits and weaknesses of the final project, rather than the overall quality of the presentation itself.
Further instructions, rubrics and due-dates for assignments can be found on D2L