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Ms. Vilhotti, Instructor  
   
 

Collaborative oral presentation: rhetorical analysis of a scientific article

 

Purposes:           

  • To increase understanding of writing conventions in the natural sciences and the disciplinary philosophy behind them.
  • To understand why scholars write the way they do.

Audience: Your fellow classmates

Basics:   PowerPoint presentation. 5 – 10 slides mandatory (some conventions may need only one slide and others may need multiple slides).

Due date: Tuesday, September 4. 9:10 am.

Vocabulary  Clarification:  

  • Convention Type: The broad categories in which specific conventions fit. Ex: Language, Structure, Reference.
  • Convention: a specific element or pattern in the text. Ex: subheadings, hedge wording, sparse quotation.

Project  You will be split into groups that each focus on one of the writing convention types described in Linton et al. (Structure, Reference and Language). Each group will analyze the article " ”Do acoustic features of lion, Panthera leo, roars reflect sex and male condition?”
by D. Pfefferle et al.

You must:

  • Provide at least one example from the article for each convention (except the language group).
  • Link the conventions to the underlying principles of scientific inquiry and literature (K&S, Linton et al. and the notes of Scientific Realism* are helpful guides for this assignment). *See Hanouts section for notes on Scientific Realism.

Structure group: (8 people) Analyze the conventions of structure in the Pfefferle article..       

You must discuss the significance of the following topics and answer the following questions:

  • Analyze the different sections of the scientific report (Abstract, Introduction, Materials/ Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion). What is each section’s purpose?
  • Desxribe, analyze, and discuss the significance of the overall order of the paper.
  • Does the article depart from any standard scientific structural conventions? If so, why might this be the case? [If it does not depart from any of them – you do not need to create a slide for this question.]

Note: You do not need to discuss the References section of the report.

Reference group: (6 people) Analyze the conventions of reference in the report. You must discuss the significance of the following topics and answer the following questions:

  • In-text citations. When are they used? Do they accompany a paraphrase or quotation? Why or why not? In which style are they? (Pay attention to the information included in the citation and its order).
  • References section. Why is it titled References?
  • The actual references/full citations. In which style are they? (Pay attention to the information included in the citation and its order)
  • Does the article depart from any standard scientific conventions of reference? Why might this be the case? [If it does not depart from any of them – you do not need to create a slide for this question.]

Language group: (8 people) Analyze the conventions of language in the report.

You must discuss the significance of the following topics and answer the following questions:

  • Voice. Is it passive or active? What does this mean? How is this choice of voice significant?
  •  Word Choice. Is language a medium through which the author imparts information or is the language part of the meaning itself? Explain.
  •  Hedge Wording. How often does it occur? Is it enough to constitute a trend in the text? How so? Is this typical of science writing?
  • Methods of Disagreement [If the author does not disagree with any previous studies, you do not need to create a slide.]
  • Table. Are any tables used? How do they differ from a written description?
  • Mention whether the article departs from any scientific linguistic conventions and discuss why this might be.