Activity 18: Considering Your Task and Your Rhetorical Situation – The Writing Task

Up until this point, you have been paying careful attention to a single text, working hard to understand thewriter’s argument, including how he develops and supports that argument. But Andrew Lam is just onevoice in the conversation—and in fact, the argument he makes about consumer culture and garbageproduction participates in several ongoing conversations about these and related issues. Now it is yourturn to respond to these issues by joining a conversation of your choice.

Writers respond to rhetorical situations by taking rhetorical action. That is, they target specific audiencesand occasions and use their words to change how others think, act, or feel. For this assignment, you willtake rhetorical action in two ways: research and advocacy. You will first research, interpret, andsynthesize multiple sources that deepen your audience’s understanding of the issue. The research optionwill thus be a reading-based argument essay that may respond directly to Lam’s article as one of thesources.

Be mindful of what you research because after your essay is complete, you will use the information youhave gathered to create an advocacy project. You will develop a communication plan and artifacts (e.g.,PSAs, emails, posters, digital stories, tweets, policy recommendations, infographics, etc.) directed atchanging your audience’s response to the issue. You will present your advocacy project to the class. Butyou do not need to stop there. You can implement a change in your school or community, such asadopting “The Last Straw” program (a program aimed at eliminating single-use plastics), creating aschool composting program, or persuading school administrators and raising funds to install campushydration stations that encourage the use of refillable water bottles.

BOTH steps of this assignment are required to include the following:

· Citations from multiple sources (for the advocacy option, these may appear in the artifacts asfootnotes, in-text citations, links, references, expert testimony—whatever is most appropriate for thegenre selected)

· A works-cited list

· Reading-based argumentation

· An answer to a question at issue

· Appropriate and effective use of genre conventions

See below for additional directions for step one.

Step #1: Research Project

Write a 1,000 to 1,500-word research paper responding to a question at issue related to the topics ofconsumer culture and waste management. Begin by designing and conducting a research projectinvestigating your question. Consider the work that others have done to address this issue. Gather,analyze, and evaluate evidence from multiple sources. Look for significant trends in your data. Presentyour findings through a well-organized essay crafted for an academic audience.

In addition to reading scholarly sources (i.e., sources vetted through a peer-review process and publishedby academic presses), you may also conduct research by doing any of the following:

· Obtain a food scale and weigh your food waste after each meal. Record your data in aspreadsheet. Analyze trends in your data and draw conclusions using evidence-based reasoning.Include graphs or charts of your data in your research essay.

· Conduct field research at a grocery store on any of the following: product packaging; productorigin; product expiration dates; consumer use of plastic, paper, or reusable bags; waste management,etc. Include photographs in your research essay.

· Conduct field research at a waste management facility. Take a tour or attend a class if possible.Many waste management facilities offer educational programs to the public, including classes inhome composting.

Pairing UpResearch is usually conducted by a community of scientists working together. If you prefer to engage in agroup experience, you may work with 1-2 other people for both the research and advocacy portion of theassignment. However, you will need to fill out a group contract and get teacher approval. Once you havecontracted to work with a group, you can not switch out of the group.