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Citation Guide | Parts of the Paper

Guide to The Rhetorical Critical Essay

To write the rhetorical critical essay, you should:

FFind an original speech or other rhetorical document to analyze (do not use a document from the packet that we will discuss in class)

$Read the document carefully, making note of elements of argumentation, arrangement and language as you go

@Invent a preliminary thesis based on the arguments and rhetorical strategies you find in your speech or document

&Research your topic, including such areas as the speech situation, purposes of the speaker, any established theory or concept you will use as an analytical tool, as necessary to explain your thesis

"Revise your preliminary thesis if necessary and outline your paper

@As you write, document everything but maintain your own authorial voice throughout.

vMost successful papers will take the form of 1) an introduction including a thesis statement and synopsis, 2) a brief account of the speech situation or context, 4) an extended analysis of the arguments in the speech relevant to the thesis, and 5) a conclusion that briefly summarizes what you have already said. Your citations and bibliography should follow a standard form for research papers such as the MLA Guide.v

Common Errors in Rhetorical Critical Essays

MErrors of style, substance and arrangement

1. Lacks thesis statement or clear argument.
2. Lacks single clear organizational principle.
3. Speech chosen is trivial or unrelated to designated half of course.
4. Lacks substantive analysis of the speech.
5. Includes historical research but lacks rhetorical analysis of the language of the speech; or the reverse.
6. Relies too much on secondary sources, especially if it relies on only one book or article.
7. Does not make enough use of secondary sources.
8. Does not employ enough direct quotes of speech.
9. Employs too many direct quotes of speech or other sources.
10. Contains errors of fact or unsustained assertions.
11. Style is overly familiar, colloquial, journalistic, exaggerated or opiniated.
12. Contains frequent errors of spelling and grammar.

M Citation Errors

1. Lacks title
2. Lacks page numbers
3. Lacks reference list.
4. Reference list does not include full citation of speech or document being analyzed.
5. Does not cite sources at the end of the sentence or paragraph where they are used.
6. Does not sufficiently separate quotes from surrounding text by quotation marks or indents.
7. Does not cite page number of work cited.
8. Cites editor of volume instead of author of speech or article.
9. Does not follow consistent bibliographic form.
10. References lack crucial information (check list: author, title, [title of book or journal, editor], place of publication, year of publication, [pages used].)
11. Does not indent longer quotes (e.g. over two sentences or four lines; known as "block quotes").