Rhetoric and discourse both refer to verbal or written exchange and expression. While rhetoric is mainly persuasive, discourse is broader and often encourages further discussion and examination of different views. Essentially, discourse is the communication of thoughts and formal discussion of a subject by words.
In considering discourse, ask:
Assignments in this course may involve researching and analyzing how a particular societal issue is understood through discourse. The purpose of these assignments is to help you learn more about how we use discourse differently and how discourse shapes our understanding of particular issues.
Things to consider when you analyze discourse:
Please remember that the focus of the assignment is ANALYZING DISCOURSE, not the topic. You should focus on WHO is writing and speaking, WHY they are doing so, and HOW the resulting discourse impacts or has impacted the issue.
The table below illustrates the difference between research questions for the discourse analysis paper vs. the argumentative paper.
|Topic||Argument on the Topic||Analysis of Discourse|
|Cars and pollution||Should US automakers spend more money and research to make cars less harmful to the environment?||