Objective: Demonstrate detailed research skills to support an argument. What does this mean? You need to use research to show why a specific commercial is or is not convincing. We live in a world of persuasion. From whom to vote for, what to wear, how to sit, and what to buy, we are exposed to the workings of rhetoric on a constant basis. Throughout this class, we have learned how to identify and analyze the many parts of rhetoric. From the appeals (logos/ethos/pathos) to the many nuances of Gaze, we have explored how others have attempted to persuade us and those around us; however, it is often not enough to simply study, we must learn to study closely.
In a 10 page research paper, you are going to have one distinct task: Prove that a commercial, a piece of persuasion, is in fact effective or ineffective to its target audience. Utilize scholarly research to support your claims of why this piece of persuasion is effective or not by using at least eight (8) academic sources to support your argument. Do not simply tell me that yes, it is or is not persuasive. You may show me how this work is at least equal to or more successful than another similar work of persuasion. How did this piece utilize the appeals more effectively? How did it achieve identification in a stronger way? How is its use of gaze more powerful? Do not tell me that it is; show me. The commercial that you choose must be real, it must be for an actual product, and this commercial must have been in general circulation. You may use commercials from the past or even in different languages so long as you translate any written or spoken text for your reader. You will need to have a strong thesis with this paper, one that clearly argues that your chosen piece of rhetoric is in fact persuasive and why it is persuasive or not. As this is a research paper, there are things to consider. You must have a works cited page accurately detailing in MLA format what sources you use. You need to be familiar with utilizing a library.
Remember: Online only sources like websites, Wikipedia, etc, are not academic sources and therefore do not count towards the minimum requirements. I recommend looking through articles and books on the topic of persuasion from other academic schools of thought, namely: Psychology, History, Sociology, Art History, and Cinema Studies. Do not spend more than 1 page describing your piece of persuasion; focus on showing me how it is persuasive, not describing the best commercial ever.
Remember: A research paper is similar but not the same as an essay. You are trying to prove your thesis correct, but you have to do so through the use of many varied sources, not only through your own deductions and reasoning. If you do not own one, you can find an MLA format guide on the internet. You are attempting to show a mastery of rhetoric, so do not stay focused on only a handful of rhetorical techniques. This means if your paper only talks about ethos/pathos/logos, it will not be successful.
Note: This essay is due on Wednesday, December 13th but you turn it in up until December 17th without any grade penalty. Any student using this grace period will not receive written comments from me though. It is your choice: You can get a few extra days to work on this major assignment, or you can get more detailed feedback.