Using the artifact(s) you will work with all second half of the semester, you are asked to choose any method we have discussed this year that is appropriate for your artifact.
In this part of the assignment, write a proposal in which you: one, describe or provide a summary of and rationale for your artifact(s); two, explain the reasoning behind the method approach(es*) you are considering; three, consider any difficulties you may have securing information on your artifact; and four, explain the types of research questions you are interested in exploring (along with any anticipated main argument you have at this point).
(* = A method offers a framework and units of analysis that centers your analysis. If you mix a few methods, you should thoroughly outline your approach and explain why a mixed methods approach is helpful and not simply stretching analysis.)
Context Research Section:
In the course slides file for August 30, after discussing Modern Times, it lists four parts of rhetorical criticism:
1) Identify characteristics (i.e., a close reading of the details of your artifact’s communication strategies);
2) Examine the artifact in relation to its context(s);
3) Decide on a suitable method; and 4) Evaluate the artifact via the method’s procedures. Write-Ups One and Two were designed to help you decide on Step 3, and Paper One asked you to move from Step 1 to Step 4.
Write-Ups 3–5 continue this process for your Final Paper.
This portion of the assignment has you focus on Step 2: Researching what is important and influential about your artifact(s)’s contexts.
Rhetoric studies public communication. In other words, all rhetorical artifacts we study in this course circulate in society and engage audiences in some way. What elements of the artifact’s larger context are important, why, and how? Identify such elements as target (or conflicting) audiences, political and economic factors, and underlying issues or values at stake.
What circumstances inform the artifact(s)’s construction, reception, circulation, and so on?
As you research such questions, this paper requires you to draw upon at least four sources that offer relevant information about these aspects. When you give contextual background to an artifact, you will cite sources as to where you are receiving information.
For instance, if you are analyzing Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), a newspaper article on how the film surpassed Avatar (2009) as the top-grossing domestic film of all time will help you make a claim of its significance as a sustained cultural phenomenon.