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College Writing and Rhetoric
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College Writing and Rhetoric


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Second lecture on writing for composition 101 Spring 2011. Covers a general overview of the importance of writing, introduces Aristotle's rhetoric and ethos.

Second lecture on writing for composition 101 Spring 2011. Covers a general overview of the importance of writing, introduces Aristotle's rhetoric and ethos.

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  • 1. College Board. (2000). Writing a ticket to work...or a ticket out: A survey of business leaders . Retrieved December 3, 2009, from
  • 2. Writing in College
    • In what ways and to what extent is the writing you do in college different than the writing you did in high school?
    • How can the writing you do in college prepare you for the next steps in your professional life?
      • Focus on content areas
      • Learn the genres that matter
      • Grants, scholarships, applications, resume building
  • 3.  
  • 4. Persuasive Communication
    • Rhetoric: The ability in any particular case to see the available means of persuasion (Aristotle, The Rhetoric).
      • An ability
        • Can be developed
          • More options to accomplish your goals
      • Multiple means of persuasion
        • Be clear about your purpose
        • Know your audience
        • Use ethos, logos, and pathos
  • 5. Purpose
    • What do I want my audience to know?
    • What do I want my audience to feel?
    • What do I want my audience to do?
  • 6. Writing as discovery
    • Our ideas change as we write
    • We gain content knowledge
    • Our purpose can become clearer as we write and revise
  • 7. Questions to help you develop your audience awareness
    • What do your readers know already about your issue?
    • What do they need to know?
    • What would they like to know?
    • What common background knowledge and experience do your readers share?
    • What are the values of the social groups they belong to?
    • What actions can they take in response to your writing?
    • What opinions do they already have about your subject?
    • Are audience members interested, hostile, distracted, friendly, or bored?
    • What other characteristics of your audience could impact your writing?
  • 8. Means of Persuasion
    • Ethos
    • Logos
    • Pathos
  • 9. Ethos = credibility
    • What counts as credibility differs among groups of people
    • O'Keefe (1990) defined credibility as "judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator"
    • credibility is in the eye of the beholder
  • 10.  
  • 11.  
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  • 13.  
  • 14.  
  • 15.  
  • 16.
    • The two most important elements in establishing credibility are expertise and trustworthiness
  • 17. Credibility is subject to change over time
  • 18.  
  • 19.  
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  • 21. What will compromise your credibility in the short and long term?
  • 22.
    • A single spelling error on a resume of cover letter could seriously undermine your competitiveness in applying for an internship or job.
  • 23. Two kinds of credibility
  • 24.  
  • 25. Extrinsic: what people know about you before they read your work or hear you speak
  • 26. Intrinsic: what we do within a communication setting through our actions.
  • 27. Putting ethos to work in your writing
    • Know your material
    • Cite evidence (Reinard, J.C. (1988) Human Communication Research , 15 ,3-59).
    • Share your interest, experience, and expertise
    • Have your reader’s best interest in mind
    • Identify similarities with your reader
    • If you lack extrinsic credibility increase your reader’s involvement with the topic, which will help focus them on the topic more than the messenger (Petty and Cacioppa, 1986) .