Project 4: Re-Mixing Research (the infographic)

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Introduction/Rationale

This project will exercise your knowledge of genre analysis, rhetorical analysis and composing for specific audiences, as it asks you to rhetorically and graphically represent the data from your Project 3 researched argument in an infographic that you will design. An infographic is a visual representation of an evidence-based argument.  We will spend some time working with sample infographics to get a sense of the genre conventions and to analyze various rhetors’ rhetorical choices in composing them. You will then work through your own rhetorical decision-making process to prioritize your data, and compose an infographic representing that data. In addition to creating your infographic, you will compose a short reflective piece that describes your composing process and gives a sense of your rhetorical choices. We will then present our infographics and reflections to each other in class.

This assignment, which involves both individual and group work, has three main goals:

  1. to practice using rhetorical concepts such as audience awareness and visual rhetoric to translate your researched argument into a visual argument
  2. to practice reflection writing to articulate your rhetorical and visual design choices
  3. to give you practice composing in the genre of infographics.

As your instructor, I will use this assignment to assess your achievement across all three of these goals.

Assignment Prompt

The Infographic

In contrast to Project 3, where your audience was definitely a scholarly/academic audience, here you will begin to translate that same information and argument to a more general/less academic audience (think of the difference between scholarly and popular publications). Think about how you would compose an infographic that was going to be published in USA Today, Essence, Vibe, or in your favorite magazine or website. Using the tool of genre analysis, you will need to develop an understanding of the genre features unique to infographics. You will also want to consider the readings we work through on visual analysis carefully and thoughtfully. Then, using what you’ve learned, you will design your own infographic (using Piktochart or another design platform). You should work to develop a clear sense of your argument—communicated visually—as well as a clear “flow” of evidence to support it. You will also want to develop a strong sense of ethos, in order to persuade your more general, popular-press audience that your argument is credible.

Your infographic should:

  • Effectively communicate your data to your audience
  • Clearly and effectively follow the major conventions of the genre
  • Compose a compelling narrative with a sustained argument
  • Use credible, quality primary and secondary research to develop the argument
  • Maintain a clear focus on the established audience
  • Organize your infographic in a clear, coherent and logical manner

The Reflection

—This reflection should describe your own rhetorical decision‐making process as you were drafting your infographic. You will compose a 500-1000 word reflective piece, using reflection strategies that we’ve been talking about all semester, such as reflection-in-the-moment, constructive reflection, and reflecting on connections between this project/piece and the bigger picture. Your reflection piece should address some of the questions below:

  • What became important to you as you worked?
  • Were there material or time constraints that factored in to your writing process?
  • How did you decide on a starting point based on your audience and the message you wanted to send?
  • As you think back on this draft, write about your individual choices in terms of visual argument (color, layout, size of images and text, font choice, white space, balance, emphasis, etc.). Why did you make each choice?
  • As you look at your draft now, were those choices effective? Why or why not?
  • As you worked on your infographic, how did you decide to prioritize your data, and compose an infographic representing that data? How do these priorities reflect your purpose as a rhetor?
  • How do you see yourself using rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos and logos) in your infographic? What is the evidence of this?
  • What has become most important to you in this composing process? Why?
  • What can you tell about yourself as a rhetor from completing this project?

The Presentation

Your presentation will be simple and fairly straightforward. You will be presenting your infographic to the class. You will want to describe your argument and its implications (what is at stake? why should your popular audience care?). You will also want to talk about your visual design choices and your rhetorical choices in presenting this argument, and your growth as a rhetor/communicator through this process. Since your audience for this presentation is your class, and is familiar with the assignment, you can consider this a “friendly,” casual presentation (no suits required!). However, you will want to be thoughtful in preparation, and clear and organized in presentation, out of respect for your colleagues.

 Project Minimum Requirements

  • 2-4 blocks (term Piktochart uses for large “pages” or sections of an infographic)
  • 500-1000 word Reflective Piece
  • In-class presentation of infographic and reflection