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Paper 3: Rhetorical Analysis and Comparison

For a research paper, especially for one trying to understand a public debate, it’s important to show relations between competing ideas and points of view. We typically do this through comparison and evaluation. Author A has one point of view, Author B another on the same or a related subject. In a persuasive context, we can use both of these points of view to inform the audience about the larger context of a debate, to stress important differences or relationships and weight of evidence, to examine the depth of different positions, and to draw attention to our own positions in relation to existing research or analyses. There are two significant goals in this analysis:

1. Given a comparison of competing ideas or points of view, how does the use of support specifically compare? On what type of support does the author concentrate in order to make their case?

2.  Is there a sense that one author is more effective than another in making their case?

Analysis 3 is a 600 minimum word comparative analysis of 2 articles on your topic of study for the final research paper. It provides an opportunity for you to synthesize and critically evaluate two points of view on the topic under debate  This analytical essay should briefly inform the audience about the differing positions on the subject in the form of summary, identify and describe how the articles relate to one another, explore the authors’ effective or ineffective use of evidence and persuasive appeals and how they apply their evidence and appeals in support of their own critical thinking and positions.

In this essay, I would suggest that you stick with the boilerplate methods of introducing and summarizing authors, and avoid introducing your own take on the topic. Rather, concentrate on the positions of the authors.

One method of starting this essay is to begin with a generalization and then go directly to specifics, like: “Experts disagree on the significance or impacts of climate change. Dr. John Remarkable and Professor Demonstrably Wrong come to different conclusions on the subject. . . ” And then you proceed with the summary and then the comparative analysis.

This essay is another opportunity to demonstrate your learning in the Course Abilities:

Course/Discipline Abilities

1. Completes college-level research tasks, demonstrating proficient use of online, database, and library facilities

Of course, this is a “research task.”  It asks for more sophistication than Analysis 1 and Analysis 2 in that now you are also relating and evaluating two sources.

3.Applies advanced methods of evaluation and critical inquiry to college-level writing assignments

Note that in this comparative analysis you are still evaluating your sources against the standards we’ve been talking about.  But you are also threading in your own position with an eye on critical standards.

4. Clearly expresses ideas in writing through the effective use of standard English and applies documentation rules consistently

General Education

Written Communication: Students will be prepared to develop written texts of varying lengths and styles that communicate effectively and appropriately across a variety of settings.


Demonstrates:  Writes articulate texts using appropriate evidence and appeals as determined by the rhetorical situation.

Does Not Demonstrate:  Writes texts lacking appropriate evidence and appeals as determined by the rhetorical situation.


1. MLA 8 submission

2. Length: 800 word minimum

3. 2 Works Cited entries

4. In-class submission

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