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Critical Inquiry. research analysis argument See discussion in Knowing Words chapter 2. PWR goals. analyze texts in a variety of genres , understanding how content, style, structure and format vary across a range of reading and writing situations . Teaching Analysis.

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critical inquiry
Critical Inquiry
  • research
  • analysis
  • argument
  • See discussion in Knowing Words chapter 2
pwr goals
PWR goals

analyze texts in a variety of genres, understanding how content, style, structure and format vary across a range of reading and writing situations

teaching analysis
Teaching Analysis

Dictionary definitions of analysis invoke an act of dissection—pulling something apart to see what it's made of, to see how it is composed. To analyze is to determine how the parts make the whole or how the whole fits into a bigger whole.

Jackson (10-11)

teaching analysis1
Teaching Analysis

Gerald Graff has argued that the intellectual life is the analytical life.

Clueless in Academe

analysis transfer
Analysis & Transfer

In essence we promise students that what they learn from us will go with them to other contexts and give them power in their personal, professional, and public lives — power, more specifically, to analyze texts . . . to determine their merits and demerits. Are we delivering on this promise? Are we teaching the analytical life? Or is the analytical essay a "school genre," as David Smit argues, that often does not "really convey any information to anyone who needs the information, nor really try to persuade anyone of any particular viewpoint."

Brian Jackson “Teaching the Analytical Life”

teaching analysis2
Teaching Analysis
  • 92% of FYW programs and instructors surveyed assign “analysis”

Brian Jackson’s (BYU) 2010 survey of 138 writing programs

teaching analysis3
Teaching Analysis

Jackson (14)

teaching analysis4
Teaching Analysis

Jackson (15)

teaching analysis5
Teaching Analysis

Jackson (16)

teaching analysis6
Teaching Analysis
  • Summary – finding the main ideas in a source or article
  • Compare & contrast
  • Rubrics
  • Guided questions
  • Annotated bibliographies
teaching analysis7
Teaching Analysis

Things only get interesting when they are


teaching analysis8
Teaching Analysis
  • Fission – breaking dissimilar things apart to find the commonalities
                • Marleen Barr Genre Fission
  • “same” things – break them down until you find the differences
      • Same conclusion – different rationale, facts, methodology, philosophy
teaching analysis9
Teaching Analysis
  • Approaching a problem from a variety of angles or disciplines
  • Asking different kinds and/or qualities of questions
  • Finding or organizing information into patterns or “shapes”
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Teaching Analysis
  • The more information you have, the more important it is to conceptualize it – to give it a shape.
  • Show your students a variety of tools they can use to arrange their information in ways they can use.
analysis tools
Analysis: tools

mapping: from invention to organization

analysis tools1
Analysis: tools

characterize / find a shape for information


Majority/minority views?

Multi-sided problem?


analysis tools2
Analysis: tools

use a matrix to organize & visualize

Venn diagrams

Vector based charts

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Electronic notes

teaching analysis stakeholders
Teaching Analysis: stakeholders

You borrowed your parent’s car and ran into a light pole. Who is going to care about this?

teaching analysis11
Teaching Analysis

Talk them through questions like:

Who cares? What do they care about? Why?

teaching analysis questions
Teaching Analysis: questions
  • What kinds of questions do different disciplines ask about an object?
analysis argument
Analysis Argument

“I wonder if you people aren't a bit too — well, strong, on the virtues of analysis. I mean, once you've taken it all apart, fine, I'll be first to applaud your industry. But other than a lot of bits and pieces lying about, what have you said?“

Roger Mexico, in Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (88)

pwr goals1
PWR goals

construct effective and ethical arguments using appropriate reasons and evidence to support your positions while responding to multiple points of view


Teaching Argument

“To teach students to argue knowledgeably,

thoughtfully, and ethically is to equip

them to participate effectively in the formal

institutions of a large democracy as well as

in smaller organizations, such as religious

groups, school boards, or community action


(Timothy Barnett, Teaching Argument in the Composition Course)


Teaching Argument

Toulmin? Rogerian? Stasis theory?

Enthymenes? Syllogisms?

Students can be overwhelmed with categories. Knowing Words (chapter 5) presents a basic approach to argument based on Toulmin and Rogerian



Teaching Argument

  • To write an effective argument, students need
  • to:
  • Identify the basic components and context
  • of an argument
  • Analyze/evaluate an argument
  • Apply this knowledge to their own
  • arguments

Teaching Argument

  • Identify basic components/context:
  • Exercises & activities that provide background information/history/context, range of perspectives
  • Stakeholder analysis – discussions of social, political & economic motivations/beliefs/values of various
  • groups
  • Identify key questions/issues

Teaching Argument

  • Analyze/Evaluate:
  • Rhetorical analysis of sample arguments (see worksheet #2)

Teaching Argument

  • Apply to their own argument:
  • Students use rhetorical framework to build an argument
  • related to their topics (see worksheet #3)
  • Note: Break the menu of questions into smaller tasks
  • for homework assignments, inclass work,
  • and individual projects.

Teaching Argument

  • What’s your claim?
  • What are your reasons? (proofs)
  • Who’s your intended audience?
  • What beliefs/assumptions/ideas do they probably have about this issue?
  • What do you anticipate your audience will say to your argument and how can you respond? (counterargument)
  • What do you want your audience to do after reading your argument? (call to action)
  • What are the potential ethical issues in composing your argument?

Teaching Argument

  • What types of evidence do you need?
  • (logic, emotion, credibility)
  • What style is appropriate for this audience?
    • (voice, tone, diction, etc.)
  • What structure will best support your argument? (outline/do a visual of your claim, reasons, and
  • counterargument)

Teaching Argument

Classical Rhetoric: Enthymeme - A Teaching Tool for Analyzing

Arguments in Popular Media

Observation - This man has perjured himself in the past.

Generalization - Those who perjure themselves cannot be trusted.

Inference - This man is not to be trusted.

Generally, an enthymeme is a truncated argument – either the

generalization or the observation is unstated.

For example:

The bill will promote the use of quotas in the workplace.

(Quotas give unearned opportunities to minorities - unstated)

Whites’ opportunities will be given to minorities if the bill passes.


Teaching Argument

Key concept:

Whatever the theoretical framework and however you identify

the basic parts of an argument, students should learn that an

argument is part of a larger conversation. They should see that

understanding the rhetorical situation (the purposes,

audiences and context) plays a significant role in making

effective choices in content, style, and structure when writing

their own argument.

teaching rhetorical analysis
Teaching Rhetorical Analysis
  • Students already do rhetorical analysis every day (mag cover exercise)
  • It’s about persuasion: “What makes you change your mind?” (KW)
  • Provide a framework for understanding the rhetorical situation:

Purposes (message, motive, and moment)

Audiences (primary, secondary, etc.)

Choices (appeals – strategies: content, structure, style, format, etc.)

Ethics and Effects (power, consequences: intended and unintended)

  • Questions about context: When, where, who? (circumstances around the text)
  • Questions about the text: What? Why? To whom? How?
  • Questions about consequences: Effects/ Results? Ethics?
teaching rhetorical analysis1
Teaching Rhetorical Analysis
  • What are our texts? Symbols (words, images, logos, colors, objects – clothing, cars, etc.)
  • Language is slippery… (range of meanings)
  • Cultural context (colors, objects – Red Cross / Red Crescent)
  • Symbols accrue meaning (Nike swoosh)
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Teaching Rhetorical Analysis

Daryn Cagle political cartoon site, Cagle Post - searchable