Project #1: Comparative Analysis and Argument
Note: Some of these instructions are modified from our course text, Successful College Composition.
This assignment builds on what you learned in RWS 200 and other introductory composition courses. It has two parts to it: 1) An analysis and evaluation of two texts, and 2) A brief argument supporting your own position on the topic. Remember that these two parts of the assignment should form a cohesive essay.
Begin your assignment by creating an introduction and thesis statement that overviews your project and position on this topic.
Next, analyze and evaluate “The Case for Torture” by Levin and “The Case Against Torture” by Solomon, both linked to on page 133 of our text.
Think about the rhetorical situation, the purpose of the articles, and the various rhetorical strategies used in these two arguments. Next, explain elements of context embedded in the arguments—the clues that suggest what the arguments are responding to, both in the sense of what has been written before it and in the sense that it is written for an audience in a particular time and place—and to evaluate how effectively the arguments persuade the audience within this specific context.
Finally, decide which one you think is the most convincing to its target audience, based on your analysis of the authors’ use of ethos, pathos, and logos, along with other rhetorical devices and strategies. Writing a comparative analysis means more than simply summarizing the different arguments. Instead, you will be making an argument about the two texts, using as support specific examples from the articles you select. For instance, you may claim that one argument is more effective than another because of the reliability and quantity of its support (i.e., logos). You may also make claims about the credentials or biases of the authors and their testimony or their writing strategies, including their definitions of key terms, overall organization, and tone.
In your rhetorical comparative analysis essay, you are expected to:
- Explain your project (not the authors’ of your texts projects) for the paper using metadiscourse.
- Discuss the rhetorical situation of each article, paying particular attention to the authors’ intended audience and emphasizing the context in which the arguments are responding.
- Identify the major claims, explaining how they relate to the overall arguments.
- Compare each argument by evaluating each author’s use of ethos, pathos, logos, and other rhetorical strategies. You may also look at the authors’ use of evidence, tone, organization, and other writing strategies.
- Explore the significance of your analysis (why does this matter?).
- Use an effective structure that carefully guides your reader from one idea to the next, thoroughly editing your writing so it is comprehensible and appropriate for an academic audience.
Next, use this analysis and evaluation to support and develop your own position on the topic.
- Using your evaluation and analysis of the two texts from Part 1, develop your own position for or against this issue.
- Make your appeals in support of your position by using sound, credible evidence. This evidence should be drawn from the articles evaluated above, but you may also use outside sources to strengthen your argument. If you choose to do this, use a balance of facts and opinions from a wide range of sources, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and personal anecdotes. Each piece of evidence should be fully explained and clearly stated. See Chapters 1.3 and 4.7 for information on how to correctly incorporate outside sources into your writing.
- Make sure that your style and tone are appropriate for your subject and audience. Tailor your language and word choice to these two factors, while still being true to your own voice.
- Finally, write a conclusion that effectively summarizes your main argument and reinforces your thesis. Include a brief summary of your analysis from Part 1 and explain how this informed the position you took in Part 2.
- Your essay must be 4-5 pages long (not including title pages or references pages)
- Please use Times New Roman, 12 point font, double spaced
- You may use MLA or APA format—choose the format you are most familiar with.
- Does the essay incorporate all components from Parts 1 and 2 of the instructions?
- Is the essay clear, coherent, and well organized?
- Is the analysis of the two arguments well developed, objective, and rhetorically based? Does it address all elements listed in the assignment instructions?
- Is the argument clear,well-supported, and persuasive? Does it avoid bias and logical fallacies?
- Does the essay clearly show the relationship between the analysis and the development of the argument?
- Is the essay revised, edited, and proofread? Is the writing clear?
- Does the essay follow either APA or MLA documentation and formatting guidelines? Have the two essays used for analysis been listed on the references or works cited page? Have in-text citations been used correctly and appropriately?