Purpose: To provide an opportunity to explore rhetorical concepts and hypotheses by engaging in research. To provide you an opportunity to understand rhetorical theory historically. To recognize how different interpretations create knowledge development.
Instruction: A Trace is an overview of how a rhetoric is understood by different scholars from different times or different perspectives. It discusses how our understanding of a concept has evolved over time or how people have used it over time. A trace might also examine the way a concept was used rhetorically.
Rhetoric does not work to simplify things because that stops learning. Rhetoric complicates things. This is actually true of all sciences; the more we learn, the more there is to learn. For example, the term “climate change” is a simple term for an extremely complicated concern. The term is also neutral – neither bad or good, just a change. It isn’t until we get into the multitude of issues that are part of “climate change” (until we complicate it) that we learn enough to do something about it.
**Here, your job is to trace the different ways that four scholars have addressed, considered, or complicated a concept – what has each scholar said that is important to the concept and how has that concept grown because of that?
***Now, having said that, there are some great responses that discussed how concepts were used, or responses that discussed the scholars who used them. As long as your focus is on your concept, how you present it is up to you. The guidelines for this assignment are basic to allow for your creativity; just remember to cover concept, support, explanation and sources.
- Do enough research that your chosen scholars are saying things you can connect. Don’t just go for four scholars on a topic. There are too many ideas about what a concept is for that to work. Plus, it’s bad research.
- *Once you have four scholars you can work with, a) determine how each addressed your concept, b) how that approach is different from the previous scholar, and c) what the difference adds to the theory and knowledge surrounding your concept. This is the heart of what your trace is doing.
- Integrate quotes or paraphrases into your trace to connect your scholars and research to your chosen concept and point; do not add a cite at the end of a paragraph.
- Introduce and cite your sources correctly. This keeps your ideas and thoughts separate from the thoughts and ideas you have cited. Do not merge what you’ve read with what you have to say. Do not cite at the end of a paragraph. This is plagiarism even if you have sources at the end. *This is a junior level writing class and papers that do not document in-text and cite will fail, no exceptions.
- Explain how your evidence supports your claim(s). If you say something, you probably have to explain it. If you don’t want to explain it, you probably have to take it out.
- Focus If it’s not about your concept, it does not belong no matter how interesting it is.
- Be explicit Good writing does not ask the audience to fill in the blanks (unless you’re Hemingway, but he was a hack). Do not let your audiences fill in the blanks. We do it for them so we can be sure they arrive at the “correct” conclusion. That’s persuasion. Explain. Explain. Explain.
Cite in APA and cite correctly. Use firstname.lastname@example.org as a guide. It’s cumbersome but free and all the rules for documentation are there.
Be sure that the sources on the reference or works cited page match the sources used in the paper – and give credit to the sources in the paper. Failure to do will fail the paper.
Format: Traces should be approximately 6 pages, double spaced with one-inch margins, excluding the title page and reference pages. Number pages.
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