Comparative Rhetorical Analysis

Paper Length: 4-5 pages with MLA headings and format in 12-point Times New Roman.  You will need a works cited page with at least two sources (but you could have more): a citation for the mainstream article about the study and a citation for the actual scholarly study.

For this assignment, you will compare how a news story summarizes the findings of a study to the actual study that the news story is writing about. .

You will read both the news story and the scholarly study.  Then, write a comparative rhetorical analysis to determine how effectively the news story represents the actual study.  This will require close, critical reading of both pieces.  You may find that the two don’t compare well, and you’ll need to articulate how, where and why these differences occur.  Or, you may find that the news story accurately summarizes, paraphrases and/or quotes the original study, and you’ll demonstrate how, where and why the two articles reflect each other well.  Often, you’ll find both successes and problems when comparing the two pieces of writing.

This paper tests the following skills: 1) Summarizing the purpose and effectiveness of two articles, 2) Critically reading an original study from a scholarly article, 3) Evaluating weaknesses and success by comparing the two articles to each other 4) Paraphrasing difficult passages from a scholarly article.

Your paper will be 4-5 pages long in MLA format plus an additional works cited page.  Within this assignment, you will paraphrase a paragraph or section from the scholarly article that you found most difficult to read.  If that fits into the flow of your essay, great, but if you’d like to separate that into its own section, distinct from the essay, that’s fine, too.

 Some points of advice:

 -The goal isn’t to find flaws, though that may end up being the theme of your particular essay.  When writing critically, you can have positive criticism, negative criticism or mixed criticism.  The point is not the type of criticism you’re writing, but how effectively you demonstrate why you’re making that criticism.

-Start by highlighting the things you find interesting, curious, questionable or difficult.  Build a list of points that you’d like to investigate, starting with what you think is most important and moving to least important.  In the end, you may have more points to write about than you end up using, and that’s fine.  But make sure that you’re evaluating several key aspects in your comparison.

-Consider any graphics or images being used in the news story and the scholarly study.  These may become part of your comparative analysis as well.  Should the news story have added visual imagery to make things clearer?  Were the graphics in the scholarly study helpful or difficult to decipher?  Why?  Or Why not?

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