A First Pass at Considering Arguments on Web Sites

see AnExampleOfNotesConsideringArgumentOnAWebsite

The method for this project similar to what we’ve been doing in the exercises: close observational notes of the rhetorical artifacts in context, leading to more extensive summary and consideration. This page gives you the guide for focusing your attention, and asks you to draw on the Longaker and Walker text for concepts concerning argument and practical reasoning in chap 3.

In this project, which will occupy us for a few weeks, we'll be looking at a number of web pages on two different websites to see how the rhetors manage arguments. In particular, we'll be keeping an eye on how the sites use presentational enthymemes (L&W pp 54ff), and practical reasoning overall. But, more broadly, we're here to see what we can see: What's interesting in how arguments operate or are managed in websites, and more generally in hypertext.

You will want to review AnExampleOfNotesConsideringArgumentOnAWebsite, where I develop some tentative ideas of how the rhetors are managing the argument using the Facts and Figures page.

This requires close work, close consideration - but don’t worry about writing an essay or coming to conclusions. These are notes that you make that track your understanding of the work you’re looking at. Go for detail.

BSU's Major Claim

The major claim that the BSU site is making is "BSU is your best decision for a university." If L&W are on to something, we should be able to see each page as supporting or engaging in that claim in some way. That's the premise we'll start with, anyway.

Right now, we're not considering the global navigation - that is the nav bar near the top of the page - nor the local navigation - the navigation sidebar to the left of the text on the page. The local navigation changes according to the page that's being displayed.

What we're aiming for is a consideration of how the rhetor manages the argument on the piratical page you're viewing.

How to Proceed

1. Go to your wiki name page and start a new page titled ArgumentInTwoWebSites - followed by your initials.

2. On that page, create another page titled, FirstPassBSU - your initials.

3. Choose a web page from the following

These are all from the About section of the current BSU website. The trickiest page is the About page itself as it is laid out differently than the other pages and so makes a slightly different visual argument than the others.

In your consideration in the notes you take, focus on the central text section of the page: the material in the white area inside the grey frame on each page. We're not so concerned about the overall design of the page, nor the global and local navigation

4. Consider your chosen page using the advice below. As before, you may copy and paste the heads below into your page to help guide your consideration. Use the heads and cut the extra text when you use them.

=== The Webpage ===
=== The Exigence ===
=== Design and the Argument ===
=== Pronoun Style ===
=== The Kinds of Discourse === 
=== Stases ===
=== Embedded Text Links ===
=== Artistic and Inartistic Reasons and Evidence on the page ===
=== Summary: Managing the Argument ===


Elements to Consider in Notes


The webpage

Just include the link here. But keep the page open on your desktop so you can look at it as you work! Print it out if that helps you keep it in front of you.

The Exigence

Consider the exigence that this page seems to address for both the implied rhetor and intended reader (refer to those terms on Longaker, p. xx). The exigence is inferred from the implied rhetor and intended reader - as well as the position of the page on the website, and how it is positioned to be encountered. Consider how the intended reader got to the page.

Design and the Argument

Lede

Lede. Rhymes with need. The opening paragraph of a story or article. It's a journalistic device or element to help an actual decide whether to become an intended reader by signaling what the article is about. We're considering how the lede works to manage the argument. Most of the BSU pages seem to use a lede, displayed in a larger font than the rest of the text on the page. Our focus is on how the lede is operating rhetorically It may create an exigency, it may cap the argument, it may state a claim, it may ... do other things. Watch for them.
This is a first pass description of the page itself. Walk yourself through how THIS page is organized SPECIFICALLY: list the page title, the headings, sub-headings if any, images, ... Work from top to bottom. Describing will make sure you are seeing the elements you need to work with.

You are welcome to copy and paste SELECTED parts of the text into your wiki page so you can focus on that section more closely and to illustrate what you're seeing.

To summarize this section, consider how, overall, the design of the page is being used to manage the argument.

Pronoun Style

We're not doing much with style yet, but the pages we're looking at change the use of pronoun between second-person YOU, and third person, WE and OUR. How is the rhetor handling the use of person on page you're analyzing? All second? all third? Switching?

Consider the use of person in how the rhetor is managing the argument.

The Kinds of Discourse

The kind of discourse: epideictic, judicial, deliberative? Images: Same thing. We've seen different kinds of text used in the same tweet, and you might find the same thing happening here. Make note of what you see, and from that evidence, consider how the rhetor uses the kinds of text in prose and in images to manage the argument.

Consider Stases

In the same vein, identity the stasis or stases for the page. L&W, pp 76ff. The stases is the crucial point at issue ON THE PAGE YOU'RE ANALYZING. Look at the text, the layout, the images, the links. The rhetor may be using multiple elements to indicate the stasis.

Now focus on the embedded text links. You touched on them above, but now follow the links on the page, and notice

The rhetor can create anticipation of that a link leads to with a comment, and can frame how the page will be read in various ways. Placing a link in a bullet item under a specific heading might signal that the link is a cap, for instance. We don't know until we look.

Once you explore the links, compose your notes concerning how the rhetor's use and position of links, and the page each link leads to, are managing the argument. We can't predict how the pages are linked, so this is a matter of careful inference on your part. It seems that these linked pages can function in a number of traditional ways. (See L&W, pp 56 - 62).

Artistic and Inartistic Reasons and Evidence on the page

For this section of your notes, consider whether the rhetor is using artistic and inartistic evidence, both ON THE PAGE YOU'RE ANALYZING, and in the pages the links lead to. See my example. Consider, too, in what elements they are being used in: text, layout, heads, images, links. See L&W pp 48 - 49.

Summary: Managing the Argument

Draw on your notes to compose a couple of extensive paragraphs in which you consider how the rhetor manages the argument on this page OVERALL. Include here a consideration of how you now see the rhetor using kairos, how the rhetor's specific placement of links, phrasing, the content they lead to ...

But overall, address how the presentation of the argument as something that works page by page through links guides the intended reader to form the enthymeme the rhetor is aiming at.



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