Revising with Rhetorical Appeals
LEARNING GOALS: By completing this assignment, you will:
use peer review as a writing process activity for revision
revise your writing using to incorporate the three rhetorical appeals
enhance your use of development strategies for a piece of writing
demonstrate your understanding of the rhetorical appeals
improve your use of common formats and conventions (e.g., structure, tone, mechanics,
citation) for writing
TASK: Your job is to perform a substantial revision of one of your first three major writing
assignments, using your classmates' feedback and the rhetorical concepts you have learned
so far as guides to enhance your writing. Your ultimate goal is to make your revision into
the absolute best piece of writing you can manage. This revision should be closer to
achieving its goals and engaging its readers than anything else you have written this
To complete this assignment, you will need first to select the major writing assignment that
you will revise. Then, you will give and receive peer review feedback in this unit's Peer
Review assignment. Your classmates' responses to your work should be your starting place.
If they have done a good job, your classmates will give you plenty to work with! You
should also use all relevant feedback from your instructor as a guide to revision.
This assignment requires significant revision. That means that it will not be enough to
simply edit your punctuation, run spellcheck, add a quotation or two, and come up with a
new title. So, if you aren't simply editing your prose, what should you be doing in revision?
This is where the rhetorical concepts that you've learned in class so far will help. Let's
recap. You have learned about:
The rhetorical triangle: writer, audience, and subject
Connections between genre and social context
Making arguments using claims & reasons why
Thinking of argumentative writing as a conversation
The three appeals: ethos (credibility, trustworthiness), pathos (appeals to
emotion), logos (appeals with logic & reasoning)
Each of these concepts can help guide you thinking in revision. For instance, you might
consider the audience you are invoking in your writing. What can you count on your
audience to know or believe already? What might you have to explain to them further?
Likewise, you might think about genre. Is your writing closer to a narrative? If so, you
might want to take a close look at your use of tactile details, dialogue, scene-setting, and
characterization -- the tools of narrative. If your writing is an argument, you may want to
focus on using claims and reasons why, and on anticipating your readers' objections and
any alternate perspectives on your issue.
Finally, you might think about your goal or purpose in your writing. Ultimately, what sort of
reaction are you hoping to get from any potential readers? What is the message you want
to send? What aspects of your subject need to be explored?
Let these questions guide your work. You will gain many more ideas about where to focus
your revision in this unit's mini-lectures, as well as in your work on your Writer's Journal.
Good luck revising!
COVER LETTER: When you submit this assignment, include a brief cover letter (no more
than 300 words) that answers the following questions:
What are the most significant changes you have made to this writing assignment?
Why did you make these changes?
What peer feedback was most helpful? Why?
What instructor feedback did you incorporate into your revision?
How has this piece of writing evolved from its original purpose or goal? Would you say
that the message is the same, or has it changed in some way?
Include your cover letter as a comment on your upload -- not as a separate document. Your
cover letter will not count for or against your grade, but will help your instructor respond
best to your writing.
LENGTH, DESIGN, & FORMATTING: At this point in your writing process, the length of
your writing is less important than its effect: you want your writing assignment to achieve
its goals, whatever length that takes. In many cases, this revision will be significantly longer
than the original assignment -- although length is not necessarily a sign of quality. As
always, make sure to fully explore your subject, using development strategies that help you
support, clarify, and extend your focus.
Use MLA guidelines for document design. This includes using 1-inch margins, doublespaced type, a page number in the upper right corner, and a Works Cited page.
Remember, titles are rhetorical: make sure that your revision has a title that helps the piece
achieve its goals.
To allow your instructor the ability to post marginal commentary, you must submit this
assignment as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file. You can save files in these formats with most word
processors, including Web-based programs like Google DocsLinks to an external site., Word
OnlineLinks to an external site., and Open OfficeLinks to an external site.. If you are using a
web-based file storage system like Google Drive or DropboxLinks to an external site., be
sure to learn exactly how to transfer files from your storage system to Canvas.
A NOTE ABOUT SOURCES: Whenever you use sources, cite them using MLA in-text and
end-of-text guidelines for citation. This includes placing the quoted material in quotation
marks, clearly indicating the author of the work, and providing a page number for the
quotation, if applicable.Include a Works Cited page with an entry for each source that you
referred to in the main text. Use MLA guidelines to create your Works Cited page. For
examples and discussion of how to work with sources in writing, see the Easy
Writer chapters on "Integrating Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism" and "MLA Style."
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