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Academic Writing Rhetorical Analysis Assignment

In a famous study, Richard Braddock decided to compare textbook advice about writing, specifically about topic sentences, and compare that advice to published writing (primarily magazines). Despite textbook advice to always begin paragraphs with topic sentences, Braddock found that “only 13% of the expository paragraphs of contemporary professional writers begin with a topic sentence.” This kind of research is important because the oversimplified advice in textbooks can sometimes be understood to be “rules” about writing, and following these rules may cause writers to overlook other options or approaches that might better fit the needs of their particular writing situations.

This assignment is inspired by Braddock’s work and is designed to help you think about the writing approaches people in your field make when faced with particular writing situations. In this essay, you will choose a piece of writing advice and see how that advice matches a published article in your field.

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