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ENG 120: Visual Rhetorical Analysis and Ethnography Research

About this Guide



Welcome to the English 120 Course Research Guide!

The purpose of this guide is to provide information and resources for navigating the assignments in the ENG 120 course at the Pleasantville Campus: Essay #2: Visual Cultural Rhetorical Analysis and Essay #3: Digital Observations and Writing the Ethnography. Descriptions of the assignments are below.


Essay #2: Visual Cultural Rhetorical Analysis

In the Rhetorical Analysis of a Cultural Artifact assignment, each student will look back at their select discourse community and conduct a rhetorical analysis of a cultural artifact relevant to that group, organization, or association. A cultural artifact is defined as any object made, modified, or used by people.

Some examples of cultural artifacts are:

  • sports jersey
  • high heels
  • toys/action figures
  • gaming mouse

In conducting this work, students will again engage with their community in order to determine values but also function as tools that shape how students see and understand themselves, how they interact and engage with communities, and why they have elected to build relationships with specific groups of people.

Research Goals:

  • Select a discourse community with which you are a member or interact.
  • Select a cultural artifact relevant to discourse community.
  • Review the artifact through three distinct lenses: culturally, visually, and symbolically.


Essay #3: Digital Observations and Ethnography

In the Digital Observations and Writing the Ethnography assignment, students are asked not only to write about their community but to also interact with and critically observe it. This assignment serves as an introduction to qualitative research and is designed to help students effectively integrate primary and secondary research into their writing. Through this work, students will learn to trust themselves as thinkers, writers and not researchers. Rather than defer to what has already been said on a topic, students will explore in order to understand research as extending from their interests and the world around new rather than perpetuating the misguided position that research is a passive act.

Research Goals:

  • Select a professor-approved cultural community to observe in digital spaces.
  • Conduct various site visits focused on observations of behavior.
  • Complete field notes focused on identifying behavior patterns, with clear use of evidence (observations), and analysis.
  • Organize your essay with a nuanced thesis, subtopics incorporating observational evidence, and secondary sources in conversation with your claims.