Final Pass at Arguments on Web Sites

Don't skim this page! It is not the same as the page for the first pass. The content is significantly different.

There is instructional material on this page, as well - material that isn't in the L&M text that is tailored for what we're doing.

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.

Out final move is to take our consideration of the BSU webpages to another university site to see how else the arguments can be managed. Your object in this final pass is to consider how SCSU manages its arguments on some of its web pages. We're aiming to consider HOW the two institutions control the rhetorical space of the page and the related pages to make their argument. We're watching for PATTERNS of similarities and differences in such things as how the rhetors manage the classical and inartistic pisteis, how they manage the presentational enthymemes, and how these elements play out on specific pages.

The primary claims

First to note is that the argument has changed.

In visual comparison: SCSU's is all caps, sans, full stop, black against white ground, and boxed. BSU is all caps, chalk-like font, with an underline and an !, white against green ground.

How to Proceed

1. On your ArgumentInTwoWebSites, create another page titled FinalPass - followed by your initials.

2. Start at the SCSU About Us page - as a parallel page to the BSU About page. Work with that page the At a Glance page.

In the notes you take, focus on the central text section of the page. We're not so concerned about the overall design of the page, nor the global and local navigation

4. Consider the About Us page and the At a Glance page using the framework 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 Webpages ===
=== The Exigence ===
=== Design and the Argument ===
=== Pronouns ===
=== The Kinds of Discourse === 
=== Embedded Text Links ===
=== Enthymemes ===
=== Classical Pisteis: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos ===
=== Inartistic Reasoning and Evidence ===
=== Characterizing the Implied Readers ===
==== Summaries: Managing the Arguments ====
=== How SCSU manages the arguments ===
=== SCSU in relation to BSU ===

Elements to Consider in Your Notes

The webpages

Just include the links 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 specific exigence each page address for both the implied rhetor and intended reader (refer to those terms on Longaker, p. xx). You infer the exigence 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 is supposed to get to the page.

Don't short the exigence! Everything else on the pages tends to go back to the exigence. BUT don't think you have to start with the exigence, either. Sketch it out as notes first, but return to this section to develop the exigence as you work with the arguments.

Design and the Argument

This is a first pass description of the page itself. Walk yourself through how THIS page is organized SPECIFICALLY:

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.


Consider the use of person in how the rhetor is managing the argument. How are students addressed - if they are being addressed - in second person (you), third person (they, students), as a group, as not present? How does the rhetor refer to SCSU, as well? Pronoun use tends to cap ethos and signals the relationship the rhetor is establish between the rhetor and the implied reader.

The Kinds of Discourse

The kind of discourse: epideictic, judicial, deliberative? Images: Consider the same ideas. 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.

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 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).


List the enthymemes you can infer from the pages. (pp 54-62). There are plenty to see but seeing them demands your inference. Enthymemes don't necessarily stand out as enthymemes and the rhetors don't tend to label them. You don't need to distinguish between ideational and presentational, but the presentational enthymemes are probably a little easier to infer. Just a list here is fine. (We have seen enthymemes in our discussions. Have a look at the debriefings for this project.)

Classical Pisteis: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

For this pass, pay special attention to how the rhetor manage the argument using the classical pistes. Look to how the page is laid out, the level of formality and the register of the language, the selection and placement of the images, the heading, the topics, the link text, the organization of the pages ... (L&W pp 45-48) (Note on register: L&W pp 142 - 144. "Different fields of discourse [use] distinctive vocabularies and phraseology" (143). Levels of formality also fall under register. Register is way of managing the classical pisteis. It appears especially as ethos.)

Inartistic Reasoning and Evidence

Then consider how the rhetor is using inartistic evidence. Consider, too, in what elements they are being used in: text, layout, heads, images, links. See L&W pp 48 - 49.

Characterizing the Implied Readers

Before you move into the summaries, make some notes in which you draw on what you have noted so far to characterize the implied readers of the BOTH the BSU web pages and the SCSU web pages. The implied reader is, remember, the reader we infer from how the argument is presented, most especially the enthymemes at work on the pages. Consider, for instance, what this implied reader values, how she sees the world, what she assumes about the specific university, about the value of attending a university, her educational background, her aspirations, ... This consideration will help you draw together a lot of the notes you have taken.

Summaries: Managing the Argument

Two summaries this time. This is where you draw some comparisons between how BSU manages their argument with respect to how they define the exigence and how SCSU manages their argument with respect to their exigence. Your summaries do not need to address which is better or more effective. We're looking at how these agents use the web and the elements of web pages to make their arguments.

How SCSU manages the arguments

1. Draw on your notes to compose a couple of extensive paragraphs in which you consider how the rhetor manages the argument the two SCSU pages you analyzed 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.

SCSU in relation to BSU

2. In a few more extensive paragraphs, consider how SCSU manages their argument in relation to how BSU manages theirs. Differences? Similarities? Explanations? You have a lot to draw on in making this final consideration, so use that material. At this point, you're watching mainly for patterns of relations rather than single incidences.

There are no comments on this page.
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki