September, 23, 2013
• Why write?
• Who is the reader?
• Personal = writer-based = egocentric
• Rhetorical = audience-based = altruistic
Personal Motivation for Writing
Rhetorical Motivation for Writing
• Knowledge / Insight
• Issues / Controversy
• Questions /Answers
• Problems / Solutions
• Perspectives / Objectivity
• Response / Clarification
• Advocacy / Defence
• Relevance / Meaning
Who is the Reader?
• What is the nature and scope of the audience as a discourse community?
• What is the size of the audience?
• What is the level of familiarity between writer and audience?
• What is the expectation of the audience?
• What is the level of interest within the audience?
• What is the knowledge of the audience?
• What is the bias of the audience?
• What impact does the writer hope to have on the audience?
Types of Written Discourse
• Creative writing
• Expressive writing
• Journalistic writing
• Professional writing
• Academic writing
Works of fiction
• short story
• play Expressive Writing
Non-fictional accounts or stories
• personal experience
• personal impression
• emotional response
Factual reporting or commentary for
• general public consumption
• internet site
Informative communication especially geared to the needs and practices of the workplace
• executive summary
• memorandum or other correspondence,
Formal, non-fictional discourse (usually in book or essay form) based on authoritative
sources and designed to inform and to stimulate an intelligent
• focused critical perspective
• specialized research
• systematic presentation
• documentation to acknowledge sources
Modes of Academic Discourse
Presents the physical attributes, parts, or setting of a topic, often through a spatial order
of development, for the purpose of conveying a personal impression
Presents an event, an idea, or a process in a chronological order of development for the
purpose of conveying a sense of a progression of action
Explains a particular perspective on a specific topic for the purpose of conveying a
clearer understanding of its complexities
Attempts to persuade the audience that the writer=s point of view on a controversial or
debatable issue, perspective, problem, or question is valid (if the assumption is that it
may not be) or is the better alternative
Forms of Exposition andArgument • Personal response
• Critical analysis
• Critical review
• Research essay / paper
Expresses an informed opinion about a specific topic, based mostly on previous
knowledge and experience
Reaches a new or unique conclusion about a specific topic based on information and
perspectives derived from various authoritative sources
Systematically investigates the complexities of a specific topic for the purpose of
conveying a clearer understanding, a definite judgment, or an interesting interpretation
Systematically evaluates a substantial work such as book, film, play, internet site, musical
composition, or video game for the purpose of conveying a clearer understanding, a
judgment, or an interesting interpretation
Research Essay / Paper
Asynthesis or critical analysis of a specific topic based on substantial and authoritative
research, usually from specialized sources
Methods of Presentation
• Comparison and Contrast
• Division and Classification
• Cause and Effect
Explains or argues a point of view on a specific topic by systematically focusing on its
progression from the earliest to the latest points in time
What is it? How has it evolved?
Explains or argues a point of view on a specific topic by focusing on its development by
area – side to side, top to bottom (or vice versa) – or direction – east to west, north to
south (or vice versa), clockwise or counter-clockwise
What is it? How does it appear?
Comparison and Contrast
Explains or argues a point of view by focusing on similarities and/or differences between
two or more aspects of a specific topic, using either a point-by-point or holistic pattern of
What is it? How does it relate to something else? Division and Classification
Explains or argues a point of view by dividing a complex topic into parts, groups, or
stages for the purpose of analysis or evaluation in terms of distinguishable classes or
What is it? How do parts relate to a whole?
Explains or argues a point of view on a specific topic relating to the intricacies of a word,
concept, or principle which is subject to various interpretations or meanings
What is it? What does it mean?
Explains or argues a point of view on a specific topic that focuses on clarifying
methodology of a complex action or development for the purposes of revealing its
essential characteristics or qualities
How does it work? How does it serve a purpose?
Cause and Effect
Explains or argues a point of view on a specific topic that relates the antecedents or
causes of an event or development to its consequences, effects, or outcomes
Why is it so? What is the result, significance, or implication?
September, 30, 2013
• To be critical is an essential quality of academic writing
• In a popular context, to be critical is generally assumed to mean “to find fault with” – to
• In an academic context, to be critical means either to find fault or to praise, to a
comparable extent – a balance of the negative and positive in order to inform fully
• Critical = Evaluation or Judgement
Definition of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the effective use of cognitive skills and strategies to engage systematically in
purposeful evaluation and judgement in the process of reaching a rational decision.
Critical thinking involves:
• the reasoned identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making
• analysis of the form and content of evidence in order to reach a conclusion and to
communicate it clearly and accurately
• a strategy for determining how to persuade others, and whether to be persuaded by others
• asks pertinent questions, reflecting a sense of intellectual curiosity or skepticism
• assesses statements rather than merely accepting them at face value
• is interested in solving problems and thus examines them closely
• tries to be well-informed
• reserves judgment until all facts have been gathered and considered
• listens carefully to others and is able to give feedback
• is open-minded and mindful of alternatives
• is able to reject information that is incorrect or irrelevant or to adjust opinions when new
facts are found • is able to admit to a lack of understanding or information
• is able to define clearly a set of criteria for analyzing ideas
• judges the credibility of sources fairly and intelligently
• looks for evidence to support arguments
• is able to identify and to judge the quality of an argument, including the acceptability of
its premises and conclusions
• can effectively develop and defend a reasonable position
• cautiously draws conclusions when warranted
Asking the Right Questions
• Critical thinkers tend to be less concerned with finding the “right” answers than with
asking the “right” questions. The level of questions asked influences the depth of thinking
that occurs in response.
• Common questions tend to generate a factual response that can routinely be memorized.
• Critical questions are more thought-provoking, requiring responders to go beyond the
facts and use knowledge (recognizing assumptions, implications, and consequences) to
• Critical thinking questions tend to generate more questions in both the questioner and
responder, thereby producing even more critical thinking and ultimately better arguments.
The Essence of Argument
• In common usage, "argument" tends to denote a verbal dispute or disagreement.
• In academic writing, an "argument" is a statement made in the attempt to convince or
persuade people who hold a different view, and/or people who have not yet made up their
minds, about which view is more acceptable.
• If we want "the other side" to consider our side fairly (if we want them to be open to the
possibility that our point of view is just as, if not more, acceptable than theirs), logic,
courtesy, and practicality all demand that we also consider the other side (or other sides)
fairly, and that we are open to the possibility that their point of view is just as, if not
more, acceptable than ours.
• If we are not willing to listen to the other side, why should the other side listen to us?
An argument is a connected series of statements or propositions, some of which are intended to
provide support, justification, or evidence for the validity or soundness of another statement or
proposition.Arguments consist of one or more premises and a conc