With multiple pieces of writing, we can compare the different rhetorical concepts and how they might be evident in each. We can then use those comparisons to think about what we know about each piece of writing in its writing situation, and decide how we might use that knowledge to approach our own writing.
For example, in assignment P1.2 we looked at two commencement addresses, a very specific genre of writing. If we compare the two speeches, there are both similarities and differences in their audiences, purposes, and contexts. In this assignment, we place two texts on similar subjects (the effectiveness of anti-littering signs) side-by-side and examine the similarities and differences in their audiences, purposes, genres, and contexts.
- “Do Not Litter” Signs Can Be Counterproductive (Links to an external site.) by Tom Jacobs (alternate link: textdownload)
- Can Messages on Trash Cans Reduce Litter? by The Lab @ DC (alternate link: text)
In about 250 to 500 words, respond to the following:
- In a sentence or two, summarize each article separately. Focus on the authors main points and specific claims about anti-littering signs.
- What do we know about the genres of each piece of writing?
- While both articles contain information about littering and signage, what was the purpose of each article in conveying that information? How did those differing purposes affect how each article presented that information?
- Who is each article written for? Based on where each is published, what can you say about who is most likely to read each article? How does understanding the probable audiences for each add to your knowledge about the writing situation or context for each article?
- Each article includes different kinds of evidence to prove their claims about the ineffectiveness of anti-littering signs. Identify one key piece of evidence in each article and explain how that evidence supports the author’s claims. (Supporting with evidence is something you’ll do in Project 1 and beyond).
- How might you use information from both articles to build on your understanding about writing and what makes it effective? In your response, organize your knowledge around the concepts of genre, audience, purpose, and context to help you articulate what you know — say as much as you can about each concept and what it means for writing in general or its importance for you as a writer to understand