Writing in the Disciplines: A Reader and Rhetoric Academic for Writers

Mary Lynch Kennedy / William J. Kennedy  
Total pages
July 2011
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This rhetoric/anthology instructs college students in how to read academic texts with understanding and how to use them as sources for papers in a variety of disciplines.


In Writing in the Disciplines, Mary Kennedy and William Kennedy emphasize academic writing as ongoing conversations in multiple genres, and do so in the context of WPA Outcomes. The rhetoric chapters teach critical reading, paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting, writing process, synthesizing, analyzing, researching, and developing arguments. The anthology balances journal articles with works by public intellectuals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  



  • Covers genres that play a major role in writing courses and are frequently assigned in courses in various disciplines: response to a text, summary, abstract, prĂ©cis, critical analysis, rhetorical analysis, comparative analysis, literary analysis, process analysis, casual analysis, comparison and contrast, critique of visual argument, explanatory synthesis, literature review, thesis-driven synthesis, argument-synthesis, and research paper. 
  • Fully embraces the Outcomes recommended by the Council of Writing Program Administrators
  • Provides an anthology of readings in the humanities, the natural sciences and technology, and the social sciences, with articles representing various rhetorical approaches across academic disciplines.  The selections include both scholarly/documented and popular sources
  • Teaches students how to use reading sources as idea banks for college papers.
  • Offers extensive coverage of critical reading and the fundamental writing strategies of planning, organizing, drafting, revising, and editing. 
  • Helps develop students' abilities to think critically and reason cogently as they read, compose, and revise.
  • Activities and questions that accompany each reading encourage students to approach academic writing as a process:
    • To preview the source, set reading goals, and ponder the general topic before reading. 
    • To annotate the text and think critically while reading.
    • To reflect on the source and identify information content, genre, organization, stylistic features, and rhetorical context after reading.
    • Offers guidelines for writing a wide range of classroom genres.
    • New to this Edition

      New Readings- 23 of the 42 readings are new to this edition.  The readings embrace timely topics in the sciences such as trafficking in body parts and tissue (“Who Owns Your Body?”), robotics (“Human/Robot Interaction”), and high-tech surveillance (“Privacy and Technology”); and in the social sciences and humanities such as “The Changing American Family,” “Social Class and Inequality,” “Rock Music and Cultural Values” and “Stories of Ethnic Difference.”


      New Organization- The seventh edition conveniently presents the touchstone readings at the point of need within the context of each acacemic genre in the rhetoric portion of the text.


      Increased Emphasis on Questioning- Throughout the book the authors now stress the importance of developing a questioning frame of mind. Every chapter contains guidelines for posing and answering questions about texts. For example, in Chapter 1 alone are found Questions for Analyzing Literal Content of Texts, Questions for Analyzing the Genre of Texts, Questions for Analyzing Stylistic Features of Texts, Questions for Analyzing the Rhetorical Context of Texts, and Questions for Analyzing Writing Assignments.


      Expanded Treatment of Academic Genres-The seventh edition address academic genres in even more depth and with more examples such as Analysis and Evaluation (six forms of analysis); Synthesis (three forms of synthesis); Source-based Argument, including discussion of using different types of arguments for different purposes; and the Research Paper (three forms).


      Current Coverage of Online Research-The research chapter has been updated to include the most up-to-date advice for using online databases, subject directories, search engines, and other electronic tools.


      WPA Outcomes- An especially important goal throughout this new edition is the implementation of the “Outcomes Statement” of the Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA) as a basis for teaching reading and writing skills in undergraduate composition courses.

      Table of Contents

      Brief Contents






      Part I: Reading and Writing in the Academic Disciplines


      Chapter 1: Active Critical Reading

                  Academic Reading-Writing Process

                  Conversation with the Texts

                  Active Critical Reading

                              Keeping a Writer's Notebook


                              Preview the Text and Ask Questions that Will Help You Set Goals for Close Reading

                              Use Freewriting and Brainstorming to Recall Your Prior Knowledge and Express Your Feelings about the Reading


                  Close Reading

                              Mark, Annotate, and Elaborate on the Text

                              Take Effective Notes

                              Pose and Answer Questions about the Text

                  Reading for Genre, Organization, and Stylistic Features



                              Stylistic Features

                  Rhetorical Context of Text

                              Rhetorical Context of Your Reading

                  Analyze Writing Assignments



      Chapter 2: Responses, Paraphrases, Summaries, and Quotations

                  Write an Informal Response

                  Convert Informal Response to Response Essay




                  Altering Quotations

                  Weaving Quotations into Your Essay


      Chapter 3: Critical Analysis

      Part I: Critical Analysis

                  Focus of the Chapter

                  Adopting a Questioning Frame of Mind

                  Types of Analyses You Will Be Asked to Write

                  Importance of Genre Knowledge

                  Approaches to Analysis

                  Purpose of Critical Analysis

                  Critical Analysis and the Academic Conversation

                  *Examination of “Dry Your Eyes: Examining the Role of Robots for Childcare Applications,” by David Feil-Seifer and Maja

                      J. Mataric's Critical Analysis  of Noel Sharkey and Amanda Sharkey's, “The Crying Shame of Robot Nannies: An

                      Ethical Appraisal”

      Part II: Writing a Critical Analysis: A Detailed Demonstration of Reading-Writing Process

                  Critical Reading



                  Revising the Preliminary Draft


                  Student's Critical Analysis Essay: Final Draft


      Chapter 4: Literary Analysis and Comparative Analysis

                  Literary Analysis

                              Process of Writing a Literary Analysis

                  Comparative Analysis

                              Incorporate Comparative Analysis into Longer Essays

                              Stand-Alone Comparative Analysis of Texts

                              Process of Writing a Comparative Analysis of Texts

                              Sample Comparative Analysis Essay

                  A Brief Word About Other Types of Analysis Essays

                              Rhetorical Analysis

                              Process Analysis

                              Casual Analysis


      Chapter 5: Visual Analysis

                  Principles of Visual Analysis

                  Portfolio of Photographs

                  Overview of Visual Analysis

                  Process of Writing a Visual Analysis Essay


                              Viewing for Content

                              Viewing for Genre, Organization, and Stylistic Features

                              Viewing for Rhetorical Context


      Chapter 6: Synthesis

                  Analysis and Synthesis

                  Process of Writing Synthesis Essays

                              Examine the Assignment

                              Determine Your Rhetorical Purpose: Purposes for Synthesizing Sources

                              Ask Questions to Identify Relationships among the Sources

                              Formulate a Thesis and Review the Texts

                  Process of Writing an Exploratory Synthesis

                              Decide on Rhetorical Purpose

                              Formulate Working Thesis

                  Process of Writing a Literature Review

                              *Examination of “Adolescents' Expressed Meanings of Music In and Out of School”: Patricia Shehard Campbell, Claire Connell, and Amy Beegle's Literature Review

                              Organize the Literature Review to Focus on Ideas Rather than Sources

                  Process of Writing a Thesis-Driven Synthesis

                              Support Thesis with Evidence

                              Examination of Student's Thesis-Drive Synthesis

                  Revising Synthesis Essays


      Chapter 7: Argument

                  Nature of Academic Argument

                              Argument in a Broad Sense and Argument in a Specialized Sense

                              Specialized Argument Expressed as Statement vs. Specialized Argument Synthesized with Sources

                  Developing Support for Arguments

                  Joining the Academic Conversation

                  *Examination of “Predators or Plowshares? Arms Control of Robotic Weapons,” Robert Sparrow's Argument Synthesis

                  Process of Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay

                              Differentiate Between Issues and Topics

                              Differentiate Between Claims and Evidence

                              Differentiate Between Opinions and Reasons

                              Probe Both Sides of the Issue

                              Question the Reading Sources

                              State Your Claim

                              Support Reasons with Evidence from Reading Sources

                              Acknowledge and Respond to Competing Claims

                  Illustration of Student's Process in Writing an Argument Synthesis Essay

                              Consider Audience

                              Determine Issue, Thesis, and Competing Positions

                              Organize Argument Synthesis Essays

                              Acknowledge and Respond to Alternative views in Separate, Self-Contained Sections

                              Acknowledge and respond to Objections in a Point-by-Point Fashion

                              Revising and Editing


      Chapter 8: Writing Research Papers

                  The Research Paper: An Introduction

                  Identify a Research Topic: The Role of the Assignment

                  Illustration of a Student's Process of Writing a Research Paper

                              Select a Research Topic

                              Develop a Research Strategy

                              Set a Schedule

                              Brainstorm a Preliminary Search Vocabulary

                              Determine How You Will Find the Sources

                  Locate Sources in an Academic Library

                              Use Catalogues to Find Books

                              Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC)

                              Library of Congress and OCLC World Cat

                              Bibliographic Details for Electronic Sources

                              A Word About Electronic Retrieval Systems

                              Types of Searches

                  Conduct Research on the World Wide Web

                              Advantages and Disadvantages of the Web

                              Advantages of College Libraries

                              Find Digital Resources on the Web

                              How to Increase the Precision of Your Web Search

                  Evaluate What You Find

                              Which Articles Are the Most Important

                              How to Evaluate Web Sources

                              Evaluate Information Sources

                  Collect Information on Your Own

                  Modify Your Search Strategy

                  Excerpt Information from Sources and Cite What You Find Using a Standard Format

                  Formulate a Working Thesis

                  Planning the Research Paper

                              Select an Organizational Plan


                              Write from Your Outline



      Part II: An Anthology of Readings


      Natural Sciences and Technology

      Chapter 9: Who Owns Your Body?

                  *“Who Owns Your Body Parts?” by Kerry Howley

                  *“Donors Have No Rights to Donated Tissue” by Kristine E. Schleiter, JD, LLM

                  *“The Trouble with Organ Trafficking,” by Arthur Caplan

                  *“Why We Need a Market for Human Organs,” by Sally Satel

                  *“The Gendered Language of Gamete 'Donation',” by Caroline Rubin  


      Chapter 10: Human/Machine Interaction

                  *“Humanoid and Android Science,” by Hiroshi Ishiguro and Minoru Asada

                  *“Looking Forward to Sociable Robots,” by Glenda Shaw-Garlock

                  *“The Ethical Frontier of Robotics,” by Noel Sharkey

                  *“The Way Forward in the World of Robotics,” Kenneth W. Goodman and Norman G. Einspruch


      Chapter 11: Privacy and Technology    

                  *“I Just Called to Say I Love You,” by Jonathan Franzen

                  “Kyllo v. United States: Technology v. Individual Privacy,” by Thomas Colbridge

                  *“The Anonymity Experiment,” by Catherine Price

                  “Trading Liberties for Illusions,” by Wendy Kaminer

                  *“If Looks Could Kill,” The Economist


      Social Sciences

      Chapter 12: The Changing American Family

                  “What Is a Family,” by Pauline Irit Erera

                  “Children of Gay Fathers,” by Robert L. Barret and Bryan E. Robinson

                  “Cohabitation Instead of Marriage,” by James Q. Wilson

                  *“The Origins of the Ambivalent Acceptance of Divorce,” by Andrew J. Oberlin

                  “Absent Fathers: Why Don't We Ever Talk about the Unmarried Men?” by Rebecca M. Blank

                  *“The Ballad of a Single Mother,” by Lynn Olcott


      Chapter 13: Social Class and Inequality

                  “Born Poor and Smart,” by Angela Locke

                  *“Culture of Success,” by Brink Lindsey

                  “The War Against the Poor Instead of Programs to End Poverty,” by Herbert J.  Gans

                  *“The Inequality Challenge,” by Matt Yglesias

                  “Serving in Florida,” by Barbara Ehrenreich

                  “Middle of the Class,” The Economist

                  “When Shelter Feels Like a Prison,” by Charmion Browne



      Chapter 14: Rock Music and Cultural Values

                  “Toward an Aesthetic of Popular Music,” by Simon Frith

                  *“Music and Morality,” by Roger Scruton

                  “Redeeming the Rap Experience,” Venise Berry

                  *“Digital Music: You Are What You Listen To,” by Lane Jennings

                  *“Of Ipods and Dirty Underwear,” by James Rosen


      Chapter 15: Stories of Ethnic Difference

                  “A Different Mirror,” by Ronald Takaki

                  “Jasmine,” by Bharati Mukherjee

                  “Snapshots,” by Helena Maria Viramontes

                  “Between the Pool and the Gardenias,” Edwidge Danticat

                  “Bohemians,” by George Saunders


      Chapter 16: Three Visual Portfolios

                  Portfolio 1: Images of Families

                  Portfolio 2: Images of Inequality

                  Portfolio 3: Images of Ethnic Diversity


      Appendix: Documenting Sources



      Instructor Resources