Chapter 1: Introduction
What to expect
Often when writers hear the assignment name, they think of a controversial topic that they have an opinion on. However, writers will benefit from a more nuanced view of the word “argument.” In writing studies, the word “argument” is used differently than in everyday speech. According to Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca in The New Rhetoric, argumentation includes logic, audience engagement, and persuasion. These characteristics may be included in the everyday understanding of the word “argument,” but according to Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s view, an argument is much more than choosing one side of a two-sided argument.
It might be simpler for writers to view this assignment as an observational field notes essay. Writers should choose a context that they are familiar with and interested in learning more about. Then, they need to list the kinds of reading, writing, communication, and/or learning that take place in that context to begin thinking about what kinds of details to include in the essay. The essay should be focused on one context (not three different social media platforms, communication in three sports, or communication at work, home, and school). The goal of the essay is to get the writers focused on specific instances of literacy in action in their own lives.