Being an effective policy communicator involves more than just speaking effectively and convincingly on a policy issue. It also involves becoming a critical consumer of the policy arguments advanced by others. To that end, this assignment asks you to closely critique the policy argumentation in your peers’ speeches.
Summary:The assignment has two stages.
First, you will analyze the reasoning used throughout a peer’s speech.
Second, you will evaluate the verifiability, transparency, and fairness of a peer’s evidence.
Focus:You should select one classmate’s speech to assess. However, you can make reference to other speeches in class—for example, to contrast how another peer made a similar argument.
Length: Each section should be between 350 to 500 words, for a full reflection totaling between 700 to 1000 words. (About 3 to 4.5 pages in double-spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font.)
Part I: Analyzing Reasoning
Select a peer speech that somehow defied your expectations. This could be a speech that overcame your initial skepticism to change your mind on a few points. Or you might have expected to fully agree with the speech, only to find its arguments unconvincing. Your goal here is to account for this reaction by engaging closely with the reasoning used throughout the speech. You don’t need to address all of the questions below, but you should consider at least 2 or 3 in shaping your response:
Identify an inductive argument the speaker used. Did they provide enough cases to identify a pattern or trend? Could they reasonably draw the conclusion they did from their evidence?
Identify a deductive argument used by the speaker. What principle, established idea, or shared value did the speaker identify as their major premise? Did this premise support the speaker’s conclusion?
Identify an analogy used in the speech. Did the speaker convincingly demonstrate the similarities of the two situations compared? Did they acknowledge or account for relevant differences?
Identify an enthymeme used in the speech. What unstated premise(s) did the speaker rely on to make their argument? Can the speaker take for granted that audience members share this assumption?
Did the speaker define the cause(s) of the problem as having intentional, inadvertent, mechanical, or accidental causes? Did their approach to the cause(s) help justify the policy they proposed?
Did the speaker rely on any logical fallacies? If so, what type of argument was the speaker trying to make, and why did it break down? If not, where might the speaker have risked making a fallacious argument, and how did they avoid it?
As you work through this section, your focus should be more on the speech’s validity (does the speech’s reasoning logically hold together?) than on its soundness (does the reasoning cohere with reality?). For help with this section, review Keywords on Causes and Reasoning.
Part II: Evaluating Evidence
For the same speech, identify a source that played an important role in the speaker’s argument. It should be a piece of evidence that played an important role in supporting the speaker’s claims. Your question is: does this evidence hold up as trustworthy? While you do not need to talk about all of these areas, your response should consider at least 2 to 3 of the following:
What type of source was cited? Does the evidence meet standards of credibility for the type of source?
Did the speaker accurately represent the source and its contents in their speech?
Does the source meet standards of verifiability when compared to other research you can find?
Does the source meet standards of transparency in its sources, funding, methods, or conclusions?
Does the source meet standards of fairness in how it imagines its audience, portrays conflicting information, and deals with complexity or uncertainty?
Remember that your goal is not just to “fact check,” but to evaluate the evidence based on several different criteria. For further help, review the Keywords on Evidence and Conducting Research.
For each section, you will be graded on the following criteria (80 points total):
Application of Concepts: Did you incorporate concepts related to Policy Keywords to reinforce your ideas? Did you apply key course vocabulary accurately and appropriately?
Depth: Does your discussion demonstrate appropriate depth of knowledge and a nuanced understanding of the complexity of the subject? Did you incorporate good reasoning and critical thinking skill in your analysis?
Engagement: Do you thoughtfully discuss three or more classmates’ Policy speeches? Did you weave quotes/examples from their speeches into your paper? Does your reflection respond to the questions listed in the prompt?
Writing: As with all essay format assignments, the writing will be graded for its clarity—including proper mechanics, sentence structure, spelling, and coherent organization.
choose any speaker except the first one
Peer Speech Analysis: Maggie Ayers
Maggie Ayers’ speech persuades the audience into accepting that Penn State University is a noble institution that is good for study. The presenter utilizes different devices to persuade, inform and cite various courses to reinforce her message. Maggie adapts to the audience by creating a connection, which will help him introduce Penn State University, its suitability, and challenges for students.
Part I: Analyzing Reasoning
Maggie Ayers uses the inductive argument that Penn State is a beautiful and exciting university to attend. The statement offers strong support for the conclusion that Penn State University is suitable for study and holistic growth. Maggie provides enough cases that identify how the University has beautiful sceneries and amenities to explore (Miller & Poston, 2020). The shreds of evidence make one draw a reasonable conclusion.
The speaker uses deductive arguments that traveling across the campus manifest a challenge to students. This argument’s presentation combines different premises to assume that the statement is true (Miller & Poston, 2020). However, the shared value is that the speakers identify how students solve this challenge by living in east halls. The arguments support the speaker’s conclusion that Penn State University’s vastness is not only a challenge but students can also address it.
The analogy that the speaker uses is that it is an exciting and beautiful place to attend. The speaker convincingly demonstrates the facts that make Penn state university beautiful and exciting. Using the analogy, the speaker achieves the rhetorical effect on her speech and allows the audience to connect the merits and demerits of studying at Penn State University. The inferred analogy creates a clear connection between the University and the mental picture that the audience makes (Wilson, 2020). She attributes the several building and vastness of the premises to account for the analogy. Similarly, the speaker indicates the vastness makes it a challenge for students to access the University. However, the use of East Halls makes the University more accessible.
The audience and the speaker share the assumption that Penn State University is a credible university with sufficient social amenities. Using enthymeme, the speaker utilizes statements that do not have a significant premise (Miller & Poston, 2020). For example, the speaker indicates that the students will maximize the overall living experience of the campus. The problem is what the University has failed to address, thereby affecting most of the freshman class. The speaker does not seem to have a target audience. Failure to achieve audience analysis for audience-centered speakers involves the speaker not using personalized stories to capture the attention and interest of the audience. Therefore, Maggie Ayers takes the audience for granted.
The speaker defines the causes of problems as mechanical. Since it is a challenge to travel across the University, the authorities have allowed students who live in East Halls to have parking permits. The Speaker justices the policy of easing movement across the University.
Maggie Ayers avoids relying on logical fallacies. She presents facts and analyses depending on the existing information. The speaker argues that the Penn States is an excellent place to study regardless of its challenges. Avoiding logical fallacies is a critical factor in communication. It calls for the speaker to use facts, cite other sources, and analyze the problems within the context of the available information.
Part II: Evaluating Evidence
The speaker utilizes primary and secondary evidence from the Penn State University. Cognitive communication competencies rely on evidence to influence perception and identify opportunities (MacDonald, 2017). The evidence meets that standards of credibility based on its structure on Penn State University’s suitability and mechanism of addressing emerging challenges. The evidence helps in understanding the simple plans of managing the university’s sheer states, spanning to 8000 acres.
The speaker represents the source and its content in the speech. By quoting figures and analyzing how it is hard to access most parts of the University. The distance from the central part of the University is one mile. The speakers obtain these statistics from the Penn State website and other sources such as the U.S Climate website. Most of the sources are verifiable. It is easier to access the quoted materials. The sources’ transparency is credible because most of the sources have authority over the information they present.
The sources that Maggie Ayers use meet standards of fairness. The sources align to the principles that audience analysis is about knowing your audience and giving them what interests them. The fairness of the sources links the speech to the significant parts, which allow the audience to appreciate the content of the speech (Musaev, 2020). The sources indicate that understanding the purpose of speech helps the speaker achieve his goals and thus inform, entertain, and persuade the audience. The speech does not conflict with the audience by portraying conflicting information but rather address the complexity of accessibility to Penn State University from any direction or corner. The central idea was clear enough. The speaker uses a wide range of statistics and graphical illustrations. These varied and supporting materials give credence to the message of the speaker.
MacDonald, S. (2017). Introducing the model of cognitive-communication competence: A model to guide evidence-based communication interventions after brain injury. Brain injury, 31(13-14), 1760-1780.
Miller, C., & Poston, M. (2020). Deductive Reasoning. Exploring Communication in the Real World.
Musaev, A. (2020). Factors of Speech Formation and its Main Features. Mental Enlightenment Scientific-Methodological Journal, 2020(2), 17-27.
Wilson, D. C. (2020). Chapter Fifteen: Arguments from Analogy. A Guide to Good Reasoning: Cultivating Intellectual Virtues.