A Glossary for Writers
--A Collection of Rhetorical, Process, and Product Terms--
Generally, the process of examining a whole with regard to its parts, particularly with an eye toward determining their nature and interrelationships. In a writing class, for example, analysis might involve the examination of a text to determine its rhetorical context, its discourse conventions, its constituent parts, and so on. Or it might involve the examination of a series of drafts to learn more about a writer’s process. Either of these uses might be helpful in creating, for example, a reflective introduction to a portfolio.
A rhetorical strategy designed to engage the audience with an issue in order to accomplish a desired result. Appeals may be based on logic (see “Logos”), emotion (see “Pathos”), or character (see “Ethos”).
A statement of belief, something the writer holds to be true. It is important to avoid making assertions without considering whether they are shared by the audience. The less likely that the audience may share the assertion, the more careful the author will have to be to support it with evidence the audience will accept.
The person or group for whom a text is intended.
A critical step in the process of deciding upon an appeal, building an argument, and/or shaping a text; the consideration of the audience’s age, background, gender, economic status, knowledge, beliefs, biases, culture, concerns, etc.
The way things are usually done; perhaps less stringent than a rule, but still a major consideration in the production of a text. Conventions may affect decisions as broad as the organization of a text or as narrow as the punctuation of a sentence. Various genres have conventions, so do particular forums and so on.
The process of reviewing a text for the purpose of addressing grammatical and mechanical considerations.
A group of “knowledgeable peers” whose ideas shape and are shaped by each other’s thinking , speaking, and writing. Discourse communities may share in the production of knowledge. They may also share a common specialized vocabulary and set of discourse conventions.
A single, early iteration of a text, generally used for the discovery of possible ideas, issues, audiences, purposes, and so on.
The process of identifying for the audience the sources of information and evidence used in a text. Ethical and responsible writers and speakers routinely document all outside sources within the body of the text and in a separate listing.
Draft for Editing
A late draft of a text; respondents are asked to consider meaning-preserving issues such as grammar and mechanics.
Draft for Evaluation
A relatively late draft of a text; one that is ready to be submitted for evaluation by an instructor.
Draft for Response
A relatively early draft of a text; respondents are asked to help the author create meaning and knowledge by offering their own perspectives on the issue and the text as well as responding to questions posed by the author.
A rhetorical appeal based on character--the authority and knowledge of a credible source. An author may need to establish his/her ethos (his/her position as an authority) to help convince the audience of the credibility of his/her text.
The “proof” a speaker uses to support an assertion. Evidence may include personal experience, anecdotes, expert testimony, comparisons or analogies, facts, statistics, examples, charts/diagrams/graphs, concrete details, quotations, reasons, and/or definitions.
The pressing need or desire that drives a communication situation. The writer’s motivation for writing; the audience’s motivation for reading.
Final Analytical Essay
A text produced at the end of the semester for inclusion in the portfolio. The final analytical essay looks critically at the body of work produced in the class as well as the processes used to produce that body of work.
The “site of publication”; where the message/text is made public.
A critical step in the shaping of a message/text. The consideration of the forum’s audience, conventions, biases, and so on for the purpose of shaping a text.
The process of selecting a topic or issue, determining a perspective, and identifying appropriate kinds of evidence and appeals to be used in the presentation of the issue to a particular audience for a particular purpose.
The opportune moment for a communication to take place; the occasion or “teachable moment.”
A rhetorical appeal based on logic or reasoning.
A rhetorical appeal based on feelings or emotions.
A collection of artifacts that demonstrate student learning and growth, often used as an assessment tool in writing classes.
Portfolio Draft (Draft for Publication)
A final iteration of a text for purposes of the course; one prepared especially for inclusion in the portfolio.
The writer/speaker’s goal. What s/he hopes to accomplish through the text.
The meta-cognitive process of thinking about the thinking and writing about the writing that went into the production of a text. Reflection is an important part of most experienced writers’ processes; in writing classes, writers are often called upon to reflect upon their work in the course as part of the portfolio. This kind of reflection can prove to be a valuable learning experience.
The process of accumulating evidence through first-hand observation and investigation. Primary research tools include the examination of texts, observations, surveys, interviews, laboratory experiments, and so on.
The process of accumulating evidence found in previously published work. Secondary research tools include books, magazines, newspapers, government documents, reports, websites, television or radio broadcasts, and so on.
The process of providing substantive feedback to an author or speaker. Ideally, such feedback is designed to provide the author/speaker with additional information or evidence or a new or different perspective on a text or issue—one that s/he may not have previously considered.
Literally, the process of “re-seeing” a text for the purpose of making it more suitable for the rhetorical situation within which it exists. Global revision consists of making changes that affect the text as a whole.
Literally, the process of “re-seeing” a text of the purpose of preserving meaning, achieving clarity, enhancing style, or addressing other concerns at the section, paragraph, sentence, or word level.
Approaches to revising texts. Specific revision strategies include addition, deletion, substitution, transposition (re-organization), or transformation (a change in audience, purpose, forum, format, genre, etc.)
The conditions that shape a text, including, for example, its topic, audience, purpose, occasion, and forum.
The organization or arrangement of ideas within a text. While most print texts have a clear beginning, middle, and end, the specific organizational pattern of any individual text should be determined by the demands of the rhetorical situation. In other words, ideas should be arranged in a way that will anticipate and meet the needs of the audience while allowing for the effective and efficient accomplishment of the author’s purpose. Certain conventions of forum or genre may also play a role in determining an appropriate structure for a text.
The manner in which writers express their ideas. Style may refer to the choice and arrangement of words, the use of figures of speech, and so on. Writers may be said to have their own idiosyncratic styles, but rhetorical appropriateness and effectiveness are also important considerations.
Broadly, any written, spoken, or visual artifact which can be analyzed with the intent of coming to a better understanding of its nature (e.g. an article, a speech, a picture, a movie, a song, etc.) .
A reflection of the writer/speaker’s attitude toward the issue as reflected in the text. Some examples of tones include: seriousness, passion, humor, satire or sarcasm, righteousness, mocking, objective, detached, didactic, dogmatic, questioning, superior, idealistic, and so on. Once again, the key is to strike a tone that is appropriate for a given rhetorical situation.
A brief analysis of the student’s work during the course of a single unit. An examination of the text produced during a single unit as well as the processes used to produce the text.