For your first major assignment, you’ll select a visual text (i.e. an advertisement, a promotional poster, etc.) for a product, service, or organization connected to your field or projected profession and write a thesis-driven evaluative argument in which you examine the rhetorical strategies of the site. For example, if you’re a pre-pharmacy major, you might select a visual text from a drug company, a national pharmacy chain, or even from the website for the National Pharmacists Association. Each of these visual texts are making a claim: “(You should) buy this” or “(You should) do that” or “(You should) join us.” The purpose of this essay is to evaluate how effectively your text persuades viewers or potential customers to “do this” or “do that” by analyzing the rhetorical elements in the site. A successful essay will: 1. Bring readers into the context of the visual text by briefly summarizing the text’s content and it will state a thesis for the text’s rhetorical effectiveness as it relates to one of the text’s primary claims. A strong thesis is both contestable (reasonable people might disagree) and predictive (it will set up expectations for the direction of your essay). 2. Develop your main points that support your thesis. Consider how the text makes its argument, whether it’s using its chosen rhetorical tools persuasively, and not whether you agree or disagree with the content: Analysis relies on your objective judgments. Also, your analysis of the efficacy of the rhetorical features and explanation of why they are or are not effective in supporting the text’s claim is of paramount importance. This analysis is the critical thinking that this course is prioritizing. 3. Support your main points with concrete examples (evidence) from the text. To develop and support your own points, you will need to relate and/or describe the rhetorical features to which you are referring.
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