Frequently Asked Questions

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Students ask great questions by email, so in the interest of sharing, I will assemble questions and responses here over the course of the semester.

Reading Responses

What's the format, purpose, and audience for reading responses, and how do we handle citations?

Here are some answers to your questions. Some additional information can be found in Principles of Reading Responses and Principles for Posting to Your Weblog.

In terms of format, you're writing a response to the reading in which you try to address the prompt as directly as possible, drawing from what's discussed in the reading. You may not have to cite the text directly, but it's certainly not a bad idea to quote from it if there's something in particular you want to focus on. If you do quote directly, you would provide a page number (in parentheses) and just make sure it's clear in your response what you're citing. (See pp. 351-352 in Writing 2e for guidance on this.) MLA is the normal citation style. However, you're writing about something in the course textbook, so in this more informal type of writing, you wouldn't need to provide a "Works Cited" page or anything like that. (There are examples on pp. 351-352 also.)

You should aim for at least 200 words (that's about 2 paragraphs normally).

Purpose and audience: you're writing to share your thoughts about the prompt (in this case, what you understand about the rhetorical situation after reading that section from the text). Your audience: that would be your peers and me--other people who've read what you've read and have an interest in what you say.

Where's the most concise discussion of "The Rhetorical Situation" in Writing 2e?

The four elements of the rhetorical situation are threaded throughout the reading, but they're most directly presented in the rhetorical triangle on page 3. The checklist on page 9 focus on more specific elements of that, such as audience (the Reader), purpose (the Writer) and subject (the Text). All together, the idea is to understand that in any communication situation there are lots of ways to describe what's involved (who's saying what to whom and why, where, when, etc.)