Rhetorical Analysis of a Website

When you write an argument, you are faced with a number of rhetorical choices; you have to decide which arguments will be most effective in persuading your audience and what kind of language is most appropriate for them. If you decided to convert your written argument into an electronic argument (i.e. a website or other web document), you would be faced with a multitude of additional rhetorical choices. You would have to consider what images might work best with your argument. You must decide what color scheme would best complement your tone and style. You should ask yourself if you should include links to other sites and what those sites suggest about your own ethos. In this assignment, you will examine a website and the choices made by its creator; in other words, you will be writing a rhetorical analysis of a website. While analyzing the website, you must create an argument to show how the creator’s visual design choices affect the author’s ability to effectively reach his/her audience. In your essay, you might focus your claim around one of the following questions (these are examples and should not limit what you might argue): • What is the purpose of the website and did it succeed in achieving its goals? What elements in the design and text either helped it succeed or kept it from doing so? • Does the website claim to be for one audience but really speak to another? Is this a failure on the part of the website? • Does the website include content that contradicts or undermines its overall claim? How does this affect the website’s ability to achieve the author’s purpose? You should not pick just any website for this assignment. You must pick a website that advocates a particular point of view; rather than a social networking or shopping website, you should choose a website that is clear in its purpose to persuade. In addition, remember that you are looking at a whole website NOT just a single article. Therefore, a news website or a content hub is not an appropriate choice of website for this paper. For this assignment, you should NOT respond to the website’s viewpoint with your opinions on the topic; rather, you should analyze the choices made by the creator that affect his/her presentation of the argument and ability to achieve his/her purpose. A successful essay will • Include an introduction that captures the readers’ attention and a thesis that clearly defines your claim(s) about the website. Remember—your thesis MUST NOT share your views on the issue discussed in the website; rather, it should communicate an argument about the author’s rhetorical choices. • Include a paragraph that clarifies the context (where it appeared, what cultural values shaped it, etc.) and argument (what it hopes to persuade its audience) of the website. • Build several paragraphs that examine specific elements of the website that work together to either construct or undermine the author’s stance. See Chapter 2 in Read, Reason, Write for different elements of textual analysis. See class PowerPoints on eCampus for additional ideas. • Include a conclusion that restates your overall interpretation/evaluation and considers the broader implications; in other words, what did you learn overall about electronic arguments? • Defend your interpretation with relevant and sufficient evidence. use of other sources to provide the necessary support even though it is not required. • Cite all information from the website or gathered from other sources. You must include a Works Cited page with at least the website. • Adhere to the conventions of academic writing including correctness of grammar and proper MLA formatting. This is the website to write about: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/

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