|WRITING 121 HOME | ANALYSIS | ARGUMENT | PAPER THREE | COURSE RESOURCES | LIFE AT OSU | ENGLISH DEPARTMENT|
As you'll see below, different instructors take different approaches to analysis. The key is to help students delve into a text, "listen" to it, think about it, and pull meaning from it. The main types of analysis can be broken into "rhetorical," "critical," and "social" categories, and each category can be understood in a variety of ways.
Types of Analysis: This tends to be where instructors differ. Some have students analyze essays in the textbooks; others have students bring in their own sources. Some focus more on understanding a text's purpose, while others concentrate on deconstructing a text's argument. Still others have students look at media--magazine ads, television shows, etc. But all of these can be loosely divided into three categories: rhetorical analysis, critical analysis, and social analysis, as Andrea Lunsford explains in The Presence of Others. Here is a handout that explains different types of analysis. You can teach one of them, all three, or some other combination.
Analysis Paper Topics: Some GTAs introduce students to several major types of analysis, then let students choose what they'd like to write about. Here's an example of paper topics in each main area.
Analysis Paper Assignment: Obviously, the kind of paper you assign will depend on what types of analysis you decide to teach, and how you choose to teach it. It's useful to give students an assignment sheet that clearly outlines your expectations. Here are some samples: Textual Analysis, General Analysis Guidelines, Critical Analysis, Critical or Rhetorical Analysis. Also, check out the Visual Interpretation section under Paper Three for some ideas about incorporating the analysis of visual images into the analysis unit.
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Lessons and Lectures
Three Types of Analysis: An abridged student version of the worksheet under "Paper Assignments" that explains three basic types of analysis. In using this, it may be useful to have students brainstorm ideas about when they perform critical, rhetorical, and social analyses in their everyday lives.
Thesis Statement for Critical Analysis: These lecture notes give an example of how, and how not to, write a thesis statement for a critical analysis of a work of literature. With some modification, this could easily be adapted to apply to the essays currently in the textbooks. Some instructors also assign a story for students to read and discuss as an entrance to critical analysis. The one to which the worksheet refers is called "Do What You Can" and is available online here.
Going Greek: Many GTAs introduce the concept of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in the argument unit; others introduce it earlier on, in the analysis unit. Do whatever works best for you. Here are some brief lecture notes for Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. You may find it useful to go a little deeper into Aristotelian Appeals as well. This is particularly true if you are teaching rhetorical analysis, since you'll want students to be able to understand when authors are making these kinds of appeals.
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Activities and Handouts
Another Way To Conceptualize Analysis: This handout breaks analysis into three slightly different categories--the "persuasive document," the "informative document," and the "instructional document." You can use this as a lecture, as small individual or group assignments, or even as the basis for the major paper for this unit.
The Rhetorical Precis: A great exercise for breaking a text into its key components--a useful skill for students to learn. It works well to try this in groups first, then to have students try a few on their own. Here's another, more detailed version.
People v. Caufield Analysis Activity: Note that this is identical to the "Caufield Debate Activity" on the Argument page. Adapted from an old Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial case, the Caufield activity gives students two "witnesses" and a "fact situation" and asks them to argue for different interpretations. It can be adapted to analysis rather than argument by asking students to look at the witness statements critically and rhetorically. The questions at the end also prove helpful. Here's an instructor cheat sheet, which is helpful when you need to jump-start discussion.
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Student Samples: Once students start to identify examples of different kinds of analyses in the world around them, they need fewer examples. After you've taught the course once, you can start to build up (with students' permission and the names changed, of course) your own bank of student essays, which are particularly helpful to students when your comments are included. You can have them photocopied, or place them on reserve in the library for students to peruse at their leisure. Here are two samples, but they may be a little obselete, as they refer to a book no longer used:
Rhetorical Analysis of Todd Oppenheimer's "The Computer Delusion"
Another Rhetorical Analysis of Todd Oppenheimer's "The Computer Delusion"
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Critical Analysis: Here's a bank of websites that focus on critical analysis. Much of this can be applied to more general textual analysis:
Guidelines for Writing a Critical Analysis
Handout for Critical Analysis
Basic Guide to Critical Analysis
Rhetorical Analysis: These websites focus more on summary and rhetorical analysis:
Descriptions of Rhetorical Analysis, including questions to ask when writing one
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter From Birmingham Jail," broken down into "ethos," "pathos," and "logos" sections.
Rhetorical Analysis Worksheet, designed to be used as a student reads a text
A Short Handbook on Rhetorical Analysis, with lots of great resources
Guidelines for Writing a Rhetorical Analysis of a Speech
More Suggestions for writing a rhetorical analysis
Other Sites: As you find new sites that seem useful to you, feel free to let the Composition Coordinator know, so they can be added to the site!
Overview of Analysis, generally
Analyzing a Radio Broadcast
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Analyzing an Event: Another possibility for the analysis paper is to have students analyze the meaning of a particular event. Here's an assignment sheet for an approach that requires a student to analyze an event in his or her life and analyze it in terms of a larger overarching theme, such as family, memory, home, or displacement. Here's a writing group worksheet tailored to the assignment.
TV analysis: Another approach is to have students analyze a type of media, such as a television show. This can be seen as a kind of "social analysis." Here's a guideline sheet for an "Analyzing a TV show" assignment.
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