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Copy of T.R.A.P.S.

Rhetorical Analysis of a Writing Prompt
by

Debra Kendall

on 28 October 2014

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Transcript of Copy of T.R.A.P.S.

T.R.A.P.S.
You can avoid the TRAPS
of a writing prompt!

Topic/
Central Claim
What is the topic/
central claim called
for in the prompt?
Do I have choices to make
with regard to this topic
or claim?
Will I need to focus the topic
or claim in order to write a
good essay?
What arguments can I
make for this topic?
What do I know about this topic?
Role
What is my role as
the writer in achieving
the purpose?
Have I been assigned
a specific role?
Examples:
Applicant
Expert
Teacher
What if no specific role is assigned?
What does the prompt
tell me about:
the level of expertise I should demonstrate
the approach I should take?
the stance I should assume
Audience
Who is the
intended audience?
What do I know
about this audience?
If the audience is not identified, what can I infer about it?
How might the expectations of this audience
affect my choices as a writer?
Purpose/Mode
What is the purpose or mode for the writing task?
Is the purpose stated or must it be inferred?
What is the writing supposed to accomplish?
What does the goal suggest about the mode or combination of modes I should use?
Strategies
What strategies will be most effective?
What does the purpose or mode suggest about possible strategies?
Analysis
Compare & Contrast
Classification
Examples
Cause & Effect
Definitions
What strategies will be most effective?
Are there any strategies that are specified as required?
Note that an argument rests on a claim, though some prompts specify a particular topic on which the claim needs to be based.
The purpose designated by the prompt--to explain, to describe, to argue, and so on--will usually dictate the mode of writing to be used.
Full transcript