rhetoric in practice proposal

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Rhetoric-in-Practice Project


This project shifts the rhetorical situation from analyzing a message from the position of an audience member (trying to build a deep understanding of the meaning of the text, the context in which the sender created it, and the audiences to which it speaks) to one in which you yourself are a creator, producing a text that is relevant to the class theme or texts.

This project imitates what you’ll be asked to do often in both your college career and afterwards—discern what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how best to do so. The Rhetoric-in-Practice assignment is intended to give you a deeper appreciation of what it means to make specific rhetorical choices to serve your message and an opportunity to reflect on how those choices affect the message you are sending and the audience that you reach with it.

In this way, the RIP is a culmination of the work you’ve done in this class with respect to your understanding of both genre and rhetoric.


  • Develop clear cogent analyses and convincing arguments about rhetorical choices.
  • Identify and articulate genre expectations, situating the text at hand within a larger conversation in a particular rhetorical situation, with a particular audience.
  • Select credible and pertinent material from readings and outside texts to support a point or argument, and illustrate awareness of viewpoints and competing arguments.
  • Situate, integrate, and contextualize different types of evidence effectively while distinguishing the writer’s voice from those of sources.
  • Demonstrate effective organization and style – for a particular purpose, within a particular genre, to a particular audience.
  • Connect rhetorical choices from class readings to your own project, applying these principles to your own purposes effectively and appropriately.
  • Rewrite and edit language, style, tone, and sentence structure according to genre and audience expectations.
  • Practice applying citation conventions systematically in your own work.
  • Plan and execute a revision process that does not rely only on direction from the instructor, developing ownership of both process and product to revise purposefully.


The RIP assignment has two parts: project and essay.

Project: You will craft a text having selected a purpose and audience that addresses the class theme (or responds to one of the class texts). You will then select an appropriate genre for this project, and demonstrate your rhetorical know-how by selecting appropriate rhetorical choices for this situation. In other words, your created text will operate within a clear rhetorical framework—with a clear context, belonging to an identifiable genre, and with a clear purpose and audience—that addresses the class theme (or responds to one of the class texts). The only limitation on genre is that it is text-based and it cannot be a short story. Discuss with your instructor if he or she has other limitations.

  • Message and Purpose: First, what’s your message going to be? What do you want to portray about either your class text or class theme? Think about this specifically and complexly—what are the new insights you can bring to the table? What are arguments that you can make?
  • Audience: Once you decide your message, whom do you want to target? Why? And what are going to be the expectations of this audience? What might be difficult in addressing them? Think specifically about who they are and what their expectations will be. How will that affect your appeals to them?
  • Context: What’s the historical and cultural context of this project? Is this taking place right now? Where and when? How does that influence the project? See the AGWR 39B chapter for more details about exploring context.
  • Genre: After you think through all of these possibilities, now you can start to decide on a genre for your project. The RIP project should involve a text-based genre, but is only limited by your imagination. Part of this project’s goal is for you to explore a genre that you’re not familiar with, so you should pick something that can challenge you in terms of making a complex argument in a different format. There can be multi-modal components to the project, but there should be a significant amount of text should be the primary component. Research various genres online for what might be most compelling to you—for instance, perhaps you’re interested in a short video, but instead can write a film treatment or pitch document for it. Consider your past RIP exercises as a starting point for your final genre project.

*The only genre you may NOT write is a short story.

Essay: You will also write a rhetorical analysis of your own work that analyzes the rhetorical choices you made. The essay should build on your work in the RA essay and indicate how you’re applying your rhetorical know-how. You’ll include secondary sources that demonstrate, among other things, your understanding of your chosen genre and your understanding of the texts/ideas you’ve studied throughout the quarter.

*The companion essay is worth as much as the project itself. Together, the RIP Project and Essay should be comparable in length and substance to the RA (1800+ words).


Because this is a project that may take time, the planning for the RIP project starts with the RIP exercises you’ve been doing since week 1. These exercises should show that you’re engaged with the work of planning all parts of the project (purpose, audience, genre, and context). Your instructor will coach you about projects that do not have a clear purpose or audience, seem to misunderstand the chosen genre or are likely to be too ambitious, but you need to show ownership of your own process and product.

Multiple drafts, peer review and revision are required elements of the assignment. The RIP project’s length depends on the purpose, audience and genre, but it should be equal to your Rhetorical Analysis in complexity.

  • The RIP essay can be multi-modal if necessary and should be between 500-800 words long.
  • A minimum of three (3) sources must be cited in the essay, though the working bibliography with annotations may have 10 or more sources that you read in the process.

Fairy Tale RIP: Write your own fairy-tale related text, with your choice of purpose, message, point of view, audience, context, and genre conventions. You may choose to include visual elements, but your project should be predominantly written text.

Some examples:

  • A review of a recent fairy tale film, story collection, retelling, musical, etc.
  • A newspaper opinion piece addressed to a specific segment of the public (a real-world audience, or a fictional fairy-tale audience), making an argument about some aspect of fairy tales and modern life.
  • A fairy tale-themed magazine issue or feature article (on travel, food, beauty, home, other lifestyle topics)
  • A film treatment for a fairy tale movie, presenting a detailed outline of the planned plot, characters, and at least four key scenes
  • A business proposal, investment prospectus, or brochure
  • An advertisement campaign or public service announcement
  • A satire
  • Other genres or genre mashups? A “Guide to the Fairy Tale Apocalypse”?

Feel free to choose (almost) any predominantly-written genre you like. If you have trouble generating ideas or figuring out a fairy tale-themed angle, consider the kinds of texts you will create in your future profession.

Look for models of what you want to create yourself. Models are absolutely key to doing well on the RIP project and essay. If you cannot find several credible models you can imitate, then you have not yet found a viable idea for your RIP project.

Difficult Genres to Avoid (for various reasons):

  • You MAY NOT write a short story or some other prose fiction. Explore a less-familiar genre.
  • Comic books and other elaborately visual projects require a lot of work to generate enough writing to meet the requirements of the assignment. Also consider: can you draw? Or do you have and know how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.?
  • Songs or music videos (can you sing? do you know how to edit video?)
  • Children’s books are notoriously difficult to pull off well. Children younger than yourself are surprisingly hard to write for; a young audience will require serious research on specific demographics and child psychology, education, cognitive development, etc. in order to succeed.

Working Bibliography

  • Begin with any sources from the RA that you find inspirational for the RIP. Expand your current annotations to include your reasons for using these sources in the RIP.
  • Find real-world primary sources that model specific genre conventions and rhetorical effects that you want to recreate in your RIP project. Write annotations explaining the conventions and/or rhetorical elements you plan to imitate and/or find inspiring.
  • Research your chosen audience, context, publication or other venue, and other relevant details. Find secondary sources that help you clarify your rhetorical choices and use of genre conventions.
  • Include any other critical sources you find inspirational and write annotations explaining their relevance to your project.

Your RIP Working Bibliography, including all additional sources and annotations, should appear in your Works Cited page for each draft of your RIP companion essay. Each annotation should contain the following information, written in your own words:

  • Brief description and analysis of the author’s ethos, credentials and background (Google this info; 1-2 sentences);
  • Summary of the author’s main argument and key supporting evidence OR description of the relevant rhetorical effects;
  • Explanation of reasons why you’re inspired to use this particular source;
  • Explanation of how you will use this source in/for your RIP project.

Additional Guidelines:

  • Your RIP should take inspiration from real-world models of your chosen genre, form, audience, and context. Choose what you like, but don’t just invent what you think they are. Do some research and make informed rhetorical choices. Refer to the WR39B chapter in the AGWR for useful information on how to approach this final assignment.
  • You are only required to formally submit two drafts of your RIP project and essay, but you should plan to write many more drafts than that. Hang on to each draft and consider discussing them in your companion essay and your ePortfolio Introduction.

RIP Proposal

A proposal (or prospectus) is a written document used often in academic and business settings that describes the major features of a specific project with the goal of informing readers (publishers, investors, etc.) and attracting their patronage.

Before embarking on the RIP, write a proposal that outlines your basic plan for your project, describes relevant contextual and generic information, and summarizes your rhetorical goals. Your primary purpose here is to write something that will help you develop your understanding of your project.

You may write your proposal in an exploratory style, but you should be as detailed and specific as possible. Write something that you can refer back to as you develop and revise various aspects of your project. The plan you outline in your RIP proposal isn’t set in stone, either—feel free to tinker with it as necessary.

Answer ALL the questions below to help you structure your proposal. Please use first-person language; your proposal should be at least 500 words long—it will probably be longer.

  • What genre (and subgenre?) will your RIP project belong to? What conventions (at least four) will you include? How do you plan to portray/reinterpret/subvert these conventions?
  • What will be your project’s primary message and rhetorical purpose? Explain how you chose these. Why are your message and purpose important or interesting? What new or significant insights are you bringing to our class community?
  • Who is your intended audience? Describe their demographic information. What are their primary activities and interests? What important values and opinions does this audience hold? (Here, it is ESPECIALLY important to do some research!)
  • Why have you chosen this audience? How do you anticipate your intended audience will respond to your project? What evidence makes you think so? What difficulties do you anticipate in reaching your intended audience? How do you think any unintended audiences might respond to your project?
  • What social, cultural, and/or historical context will frame your RIP project? Describe where and when you intend your project to appear. How will context influence your project? How will your project speak to and/or reflect its context?
  • How will you present yourself as a rhetor? If applicable, what persona will you adopt? If applicable, how will you attempt to “erase” yourself from your project? Either way, how will convey the authority and/or credibility of your project?
  • What writing style will you adopt in your project? What kind of voice will you try to create? Consider your word choices, sentence structures, and tone.
  • Will you include visual elements in your project? If so, what elements will you include and how will you find/make them? If not, describe how you plan to design, lay out and format your final project. (Your final project should look like a real-world example of your chosen genre.)
  • At the end of the proposal, please include your current working bibliography. Include all the sources you’ve found so far and intend to rely on for your project. Each source should be correctly cited in MLA format and include an annotation.

Upload your proposal + working bibiography here in a Word document for in-class peer review.


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