Brief Description: This assignment asks students to research, analyze, and advance an argument about conventions of scholarly discourse in their disciplines.
Contributed by UCCS Rhetoric and Writing Program, UC-Colorado Springs
Writing for Academic Aims
According to linguist Robin Lakoff, in order to make an argument within a discipline, students need to have more than just a command of facts, theories, and methodologies. In addition to all of the content-type knowledge, students also need to consider layers of important discursive knowledge including which sources to cite and how to cite them, what style of writing is appropriate, which questions are legitimate to ask, and the historical/political situations within their fields.
What makes this so difficult for students, according to Lakoff, is that professors do not communicate such information outright.
For Paper 2, your task is to analyze the way that academics write in your specific area of study. To do this, you will need to choose an article from a scholarly journal in your major area (ask your interviewee for recommendations). Once you have selected and carefully studied the article, analyze the rhetorical strategies that the author(s) employed.
Your thesis will be a claim about how scholars communicate in your discipline and why they might communicate in this particular way, given the aims of the discipline.
When you analyze the rhetorical strategies of the article, consider both the article itself and its context. Here are some questions to help you do that:
For this assignment, you will address other undergraduates in your discipline. Your insight is potentially valuable to them, so work to make your essay as clear and accessible as possible.
The main source in this assignment is the journal article that you select. However, you will also be interviewing a professor about what it means to write in a specific discipline, and you will be reading articles, like Lakoff’s, which might provide informative context for your claims. You are free to draw from both the interview and class readings in your analysis. Additionally, you may choose to use outside sources to provide context for the argument you are analyzing and shed light on the conventions of the discipline. Outside research is not required.
Your essay should:
Article to Class: Wednesday, March 30
Paper 2.1 due in conferences with instructor, TBA
Paper 2.2 due Saturday, 4/16 in via email