In an essay, provide an analysis of the specific rhetorical
features of a lay or academic article on a scientific or technical
topic. In particular, your analysis should comment explicitly on
what the rhetorical features of this article tell you about knowledge,
communities, and research and writing practices in the fields of
science and technology.
In your analysis, be sure to discuss at least some
of the following elements, though not necessarily in this order:
Who is the audience of the article? What is the purpose
of the article? In what context(s) does the article circulate? What
assumptions do the authors of the article make—for instance,
assumptions about their audience, about science/technology, about
knowledge, about writing?
How is the article structured? What are the lengths of
sections and/or paragraphs? What is the content of the introduction
and conclusion? What types of evidence are presented?
Consider the style, syntax, length, voice, and other features
of sentences in the article.
Consider the diction and use of jargon in the article.
Consider peripheral elements in the article such as its
title, the number of authors, additional information about the authors,
and the incorporation of information from outside sources. Consider
as well the design of the article (e.g., font, layout, use of white
space), as well as the number, type, and function of any graphics
in the article.
Your essay should be double-spaced, with standard
font and margins, and a title. It should be no less than 5 pages
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday,
The purpose of this assignment is for you to describe the specific
topic on which you’ll write your journal article for this
course. The Research Proposal gives you an opportunity to begin
planning, researching, and writing the article, as well as to get
feedback on your plans at an early stage, both from me and from
You can certainly change your mind—about the
topic as a whole or about smaller details of the project—as
you work on the journal article assignment. A proposal is a working
document, subject to modification as you continue researching and
writing. However, your Research Proposal should nevertheless be
detailed and richly descriptive. The strongest proposals are ones
that persuade readers that the project is not only feasible but
also worthwhile; they convey a sense of the author as someone who
is prepared, capable, enthusiastic about taking on the work that
Use the following sections to organize your Research
Describe the topic of your article as well as its goal or aim. In
other words, discuss what you’re writing about and why this
topic is important. Describe also the major sections or points that
you will want to cover in your article. If you have an outline written—even
a fairly sketchy one—include it in this section.
Provide a detailed description of the primary intended audience
for your article. What is their level of expertise? What interest
do they have in the topic? To what use might they put the information
they learn from your article? What might this audience want to know
that will NOT be included in your article? (In other words, what
are the limits of your article?) Indicate as well a description
of any secondary audiences for whom your article might be useful.
Describe the type of sources you will need to gather for your article
as well as your plan of action for gathering these sources. Provide
bibliographic information and annotations for at least three specific
sources that you plan to use in your article.
4. Publication Venue
Although you do NOT have to send your journal article out for publication,
you DO have to write the article as if it could be published in
a specific journal. That is, you have to adapt the organization,
style, format, citation format, use of graphics, and other features
of the article to the distinctive requirements of a specific journal.
In this section, therefore, indicate which journal(s) you’re
considering as the target publication venue for your article, and
describe in as much detail as you can the distinctive features of
content and format for articles in this journal. Append to the end
of this section (that is, to the end of the Proposal) an article
from the journal that will serve as your model.
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on on Tuesday,
JOB APPLICATION PACKAGE
Your job application package should contain three items:
1. a description and analysis of the position for which you’re
2. a résumé or CV specifically targeted to this position
3. a cover letter specifically targeted to this position.
Description and analysis of the position
It is essential to have a firm understanding of the position for
which you’re applying; such an understanding will help you
orient your résumé and cover letter to the specific
requirements of the position.
In one paragraph, describe the position as well as
the organization or company that is offering the position. In another
one or two paragraphs, offer an analysis of the position, focusing
in particular on those qualities that you believe would be especially
valued in an applicant. For instance, what skills or prior experience
do you think the employers are most interested in seeing in applicants
for the position? What would be most impressive in terms of an applicant’s
Keep in mind that, as with any analysis, you need
to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence. In this case,
the evidence you’re working with is the job description as
well as any relevant information you have about the organization
or company offering the position.
Résumé or CV
The résumé should include contact information and
relevant details of your educational training, professional training,
special accomplishments, and skills. While following the format
for a standard résumé, you should also try to tailor
its information and organization to suit the position for which
you’re applying. The goal is to show that you are qualified
for a particular type of job or internship.
Your format may be traditional or innovative as long
as the information is highly accessible and is organized in a way
that highlights the most important items (from the employer’s
perspective). If possible, stick to one page. Use a CV if you’re
applying for an academic position; otherwise use a résumé.
The cover letter is often the first item seen by a prospective employer
and it is frequently the document that makes the strongest impression.
If a reader is unimpressed with your cover letter, he or she will
most likely not continue to the rest of your application packet.
In general, the opening of your letter should establish
why you are writing to your reader. The body of the letter develops
your major qualifications for the position, supported with specific
evidence. Your cover letter should highlight and draw attention
to details contained within your résumé.
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, May
This is the capstone assignment for the course, toward which most
of the reading and writing assignments are oriented. On a topic
of your choice and targeted toward a specific publishing venue,
your journal article should address a scientific issue or problem
that you consider interesting and important.
For this assignment you can choose to write either
a lay article or an expert article—that is, either an article
for a lay audience or an article for an expert audience. There is,
of course, considerable range within these two groups. Both lay
and expert audiences can be more or less sophisticated, interested,
and informed, and so you’ll need to have a clear sense of
the particular lay or expert audience you’re targeting.
The article should include graphics and citations
where appropriate. Moreover, the article should be written and formatted
according to the conventions of the journal that is its targeted
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, June