Tag: rhetoric

Hazardous Rhetoric

Paul Dombrowski, University of Central Florida, Spring 2009

Rhetoric and ethics are related, Aristotle noted long ago. Our rhetorical choices reflect our values and our purposes. Especially in our activities to engage the public in complex technical issues, appropriate and effective rhetorical choices are vitally important.

In my junior-senior honors course on technical communication, we examine the rhetorical techniques employed in the website of an organization concerned about a particular controversial chemical. This examination ranges broadly to include the web site’s color choices, visuals, formats, and above all language choices and associated rhetorical implications. The results of our analysis are then applied to websites about other chemicals and environmental issues in order to understand how they work both rhetorically and ethically, yielding heightened critical sensitivity in the students. Continue reading “Hazardous Rhetoric”