Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts


  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    Example and Directions
    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition Source License Source Name Source URL
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen      
    Glossary Entries



    Image Caption Link Source Source License Source URL
    analysis the cognitive process and/or rhetorical mode of studying constituent parts to demonstrate an interpretation of a larger whole.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    annotated bibliography a research tool that organizes citations with a brief paragraph for each source examined.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    annotation engaged reading strategy by which a reader marks up a text with their notes, questions, new vocabulary, ideas, and emphases.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    argument a rhetorical mode in which different perspectives on a common issue are negotiated. See Aristotelian and Rogerian arguments.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    Aristotelian argument a mode of argument by which a writer attempts to convince their audience that one perspective is accurate.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    audience the intended consumers for a piece of rhetoric. Every text has at least one audience; sometimes, that audience is directly addressed, and other times we have to infer.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    authorial intent the inferred or speculated intention of a writer. Must be overlooked in the process of text wrestling analysis.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    believer a posture from which to read; reader makes efforts to appreciate, understand, and agree with the text they encounter.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    blockquote a direct quote of more than four lines which is reformatted according to stylistic guidelines.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    bootstrapping the process of finding new sources using hyperlinked subject tags in the search results of a database.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    call-to-action a persuasive writer’s directive to their audience; usually located toward the end of a text. Compare with purpose.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    characterization the process by which an author builds characters; can be accomplished directly or indirectly.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    citation mining the process of using a text’s citations, bibliography, or notes to track down other similar or related sources.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    claim of evaluation an argument determining relative value (i.e., better, best, worse, worst). Requires informed judgment based on evidence and a consistent metric.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    claim of phenomenon an argument exploring a measurable but arguable happening. Typically more straightforward than other claims, but should still be arguable and worth discussion.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    claim of policy an argument that proposes a plan of action to address an issue. Articulates a stance that requires action, often informed by understanding of both phenomenon and evaluation. Often uses the word “should.” See call-to-action.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    close reading a technique of reading that focuses attention on features of the text to construct an interpretation. (This is in contrast to interpretive methods that rely on research, historical context, biography, or speculation.)       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    complaint tradition the recurring social phenomenon in which a generation complains about the way things have changed since their earlier years. Coined by Leonard Greenbaum.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    confirmation bias a cognitive bias by which a person seeks only ideas which confirm their existing worldview, thus convincing themselves that that worldview is universal and/or truthful.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    connotation the associated meanings of a word, phrase, or idea beyond its ‘dictionary’ definition; the complex, subjective, and dynamic meanings of a word, phrase, or idea the shift based on interpretive position. Contrast with denotation.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    constraint-based writing a writing technique by which an author tries to follow a rule or set of rules in order to create more experimental or surprising content, popularized by the Oulipo school of writers.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    CRAAP Test a technique for evaluating the credibility and use-value of a source; researcher considers the Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, and Purpose of the source to determine if it is trustworthy and useful.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    credibility the degree to which a text—its content, its author, and/or its publisher—is trustworthy and accurate.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    critical/active reading also referred to in this text as “engaged reading,” a set of strategies and concepts to interrupt projection and focus on a text. See Appendix B: Engaged Reading Strategies.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    defamiliarization a method of reading, writing, and thinking that emphasizes the interruption of automatization. Established as “остранение” (“estrangement”) by Viktor Shklovsky, defamiliarization attempts to turn the everyday into the strange, eye-catching, or dramatic.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    denotation the dictionary definition of a word, phrase, or idea; the standard and objective meaning of a word, phrase, or idea which, theoretically, does not vary based on interpretive position. Contrast with connotation.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    description a rhetorical mode that emphasizes eye-catching, specific, and vivid portrayal of a subject. Often integrates imagery and thick description to this end.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    dialogue a communication between two or more people. Can include any mode of communication, including speech, texting, e-mail, Facebook post, body language, etc.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    direct quote the verbatim use of another author’s words. Can be used as evidence to support your claim, or as language to analyze/closeread to demonstrate an interpretation or insight.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    diegetic gap from “diegesis,” the temporal distance between a first-person narrator narrating and the same person acting in the plot events. I.e., the space between author-as-author and author-as-character.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    doubter a posture from which to read; reader makes efforts to challenge, critique, or undermine the text they encounter.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    dynamic character a character who noticeably changes within the scope of a narrative, typically as a result of the plot events and/or other characters. Contrast with static character.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    epiphany a character’s sudden realization of a personal or universal truth. See dynamic character.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    essay a medium, typically nonfiction, by which an author can achieve a variety of purposes. Popularized by Michel de Montaigne as a method of discovery of knowledge: in the original French, “essay” is a verb that means “to try; to test; to explore; to attempt to understand.”       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    ethnography a study of a particular culture, subculture, or group of people. Uses thick description to explore a place and its associated culture.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    ethos a rhetorical appeal based on authority, credibility, or expertise.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    evidence a part or combination of parts that lends support or proof to an arguable topic, idea, or interpretation.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    figurative language language which implies a meaning that is not to be taken literally. Common examples include metaphor, simile, personification, onomatopoeia, and hyperbole.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    flat character a character who is minimally detailed, only briefly sketched or named. Generally less central to the events and relationships portrayed in a narrative. Contrast with round character.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    fluff uneconomical writing: filler language or unnecessarily wordy phrasing. Although fluff occurs in a variety of ways, it can be generally defined as words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that do not work hard to help you achieve your rhetorical purpose.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    genre a specific category, subcategory, style, form, or medium (or combination of the above) of rhetoric. A genre may have a “generic imperative,” which is an expectation or set of expectations an audience holds for a particular genre of rhetoric; the foundational assumptions that particular genres carry       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    imagery sensory language; literal or figurative language that appeals to an audience’s imagined sense of sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    inquiry-based research research and research writing that is motivated by questions, not by answers.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    interpretation the process of consuming rhetoric to create meaning. “An interpretation” refers to a specific meaning we build as we encounter a text, focusing on certain ideas, language, or patterns.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    interpretive position the unique position from which each of us interprets a text— necessarily different for all people at any given time, and often different for the same person at different times in their life. Impacted by your purpose, posture, lens, and background.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    iterative literally, a repetition within a process. The writing process is iterative because it is non-linear and because an author often has to repeat, revisit, or reapproach different steps along the way. Analysis is iterative because it requires repeated critical encounters with a text.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    kairos the setting (time and place) or atmosphere in which an argument is actionable or ideal. Consider alongside “occasion.”       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    lens a metaphor for the conceptual framework a reader applies to an analysis. A “lens” brings certain elements into focus, allowing the reader to attend to specific parts of a text to develop an interpretation.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    logical fallacy a line of logical reasoning which follows a pattern of that makes an error in its basic structure. For example, Kanye West is on TV; Animal Planet is on TV. Therefore, Kanye West is on Animal Planet.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    logos a rhetorical appeal to logical reasoning.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    medium the channel, technology, or form through which rhetoric is constructed and communicated. Different rhetorical situations value different media, and different media value different kinds of rhetoric.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    metacognition literally, “thinking about thinking.” May also include how thinking evolves and reflection on growth.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    mode the style and techniques employed by of a piece of rhetoric to achieve its purpose. Different rhetorical situations value different modes, and different modes value different kinds of rhetoric. Compare to genre.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    mood the emotional dimension which a reader experiences while encountering a text. Compare with tone.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    motif a recurring image or phrase that helps convey a theme. Similar to a symbol, but the relationship between symbol and symbolized is more one-to-one than between motif and theme.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    multimedia / multigenre a term describing a text that combines more than one media and/or more than one genre (e.g., an essay with embedded images; a portfolio with essays, poetry, and comic strips; a mixtape with song reviews).       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    multipartial a neologism from ‘impartial,’ refers to occupying and appreciating a variety of perspectives rather than pretending to have no perspective. Rather than unbiased or neutral, multipartial writers are balanced, acknowledging and respecting many different ideas.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    narration a rhetorical mode involving the construction and relation of stories. Typically integrates description as a technique.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    narrative pacing the speed with which a story progresses through plot events. Can be influenced by reflective and descriptive writing.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    narrative scope the boundaries of a narrative in time, space, perspective, and focus.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    narrative sequence the order of events included in a narrative.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    the naysayer’s voice a voice that disagrees with the writer or speaker included within the text itself. Can be literal or imaginary. Helps author respond to criticism, transition between ideas, and manage argumentation.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    occasion the sociohistorical circumstances that prompt the production of a piece of rhetoric, determined by personal experiences, current events, language, and culture. Every text has an occasion.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    ongoing conversation an analogy for the network of discourse surrounding a topic, issue, or idea. Adopted from Kenneth Burke.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    paraphrase author reiterates a main idea, argument, or detail of a text in their own words without drastically altering the length of the passage(s) they paraphrase. Contrast with summary.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    pathos a rhetorical appeal to emotion.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    pattern a notable sequence; structure or shape; recurring image, word, or phrase found in a piece of rhetoric.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    plot the events included within the scope of a narrative.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    point-of-view the perspective from which a story is told, determining both grammar (pronouns) and perspective (speaker’s awareness of events, thoughts, and circumstances).       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    primacy effect a psychological effect experienced by most audiences: the opening statements of a text are more memorable than much of the content because they leave a ‘first impression’ in the audience’s memory. See recency effect.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    process a complex and multifaceted sequence that results in a product. As applied in “writing process,” non-linear and iterative. Contrast with product.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    product the end result of a creative process. Often shows little evidence of the process that created it.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    projection an automatized method of reading and encountering the world by which a person allows their current assumptions to determine the content and nature of their encounters. Contradicts genuine learning. See confirmation bias. Adopted from Jane Gallop.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    purpose the intended result of a piece of rhetoric. Can be stated using an infinitive verb phrase (“to entertain,” “to persuade,” “to explain”). Every text has at least one purpose, sometimes declared explicitly, and other times implied or hidden.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    recency effect a psychological effect experienced by most audiences: the concluding statements of a text are more memorable than much of the content because they are more recent in the audience’s memory. See primacy effect.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    reference a connection a text makes to another text. Can be explicit or implicit; might include allusion, allegory, quotation, or parody. Referencing text adopts some characteristics of the referenced text.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    reflection a rhetorical gesture by which an author looks back, through the diegetic gap, to demonstrate knowledge or understanding gained from the subject on which they are reflecting. May also include consideration of the impact of that past subject on the author’s future—“Looking back in order to look forward.”       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    research question/path of inquiry a question, series of questions, or inquisitive topic that guides an inquiry-based research project.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    response a mode of writing that values the reader’s experience of and reactions to a text. Should also unpack what parts of the text contribute to that experience in an effort to practice analytical thinking.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC

    the iterative process of changing a piece of writing. Literally, revision: seeing your writing with “fresh eyes” in order to improve it. Includes changes on Global, Local, and Proofreading levels. Changes might include:

    • rewriting (trying again, perhaps from a different angle or with a different focus)
    • adding (new information, new ideas, new evidence)
    • subtracting (unrelated ideas, redundant information, fluff)
    • rearranging (finding more effective vectors or sequences of organization)
    • switching out (changing words or phrases, substituting different evidence)
    • mechanical clean-up (standardizing punctuation, grammar, or formatting)
          Shane Abrams CC BY-NC

    a combination of textual strategies designed* to do something to someone. In other words, ‘rhetoric’ refers to language, video, images, or other symbols (or some combination of these) that informs, entertains, persuades, compels, or otherwise impacts an audience.

    * Note: whether or not a text is deliberately designed to achieve a purpose, it will still have an impact. See authorial intent.

          Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    rhetorical appeal a means by which a writer or speaker connects with their audience to achieve their purpose. Most commonly refers to logos, pathos, and ethos.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    rhetorical situation the circumstances in which rhetoric is produced, understood using the constituent elements of subject, occasion, audience, and purpose. Each element of the rhetorical situation carries assumptions and imperatives about the kind of rhetoric that will be well received. Rhetorical situation will also influence mode and medium.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    Rogerian argument a mode of argument by which an author seeks compromise by bringing different perspectives on an issue into conversation. Acknowledges that no one perspective is absolutely and exclusively ‘right’; values disagreement in order to make moral, political, and practical decisions.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    Rogerian arguments a mode of argument by which an author seeks compromise by bringing different perspectives on an issue into conversation. Acknowledges that no one perspective is absolutely and exclusively ‘right’; values disagreement in order to make moral, political, and practical decisions.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    round character a character who is thoroughly characterized and dimensional, detailed with attentive description of their traits and behaviors. Contrast with flat character.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    signpost a phrase or sentence that directs your reader. It can help you make connections, guide your reader’s interpretation, ease transitions, and re-orient you to your thesis. Also known as a “signal phrase.”       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    SQ3R an engaged reading strategy to improve comprehension and interrupt projection. Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    stakes the potential value or consequence of an exploration or argument; what stands to be gained from investigation of a subject or advocacy for a position. Consider also “stakeholders,” the people or institutions that stand to gain from the outcome of an investigation or argument.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    static character a character who remains the same throughout the narrative. Contrast with dynamic character.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    subject the topic, focus, argument, or idea explored in a text       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    summary a rhetorical mode in which an author reiterates the main ideas, arguments, and details of a text in their own words, condensing a longer text into a smaller version. Contrast with paraphrase.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    syllogism a line of logical reasoning similar to the transitive property (If a=b and b=c, then a=c). For example, All humans need oxygen; Kanye West is a human. Therefore, Kanye West needs oxygen.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    symbol an artifact (usually something concrete) that stands in for (represents) something else (often something abstract).       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    synthesis a cognitive and rhetorical process by which an author brings together parts of a larger whole to create a unique new product. Examples of synthesis might include an analytical essay, found poetry, or a mashup/remix.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    text any artifact through which a message is communicated. Can be written or spoken; digital, printed, or undocumented; video, image, or language. Every text is rhetorical in nature. See rhetoric.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    text wrestling a rhetorical mode in which an author analyzes a text using close reading, then presents an interpretation supported by evidence from the text.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    thesis (statement) a 1-3 sentence statement outlining the main insight(s), argument(s), or concern(s) of an essay; not necessary in every rhetorical situation; typically found at the beginning of an essay, though sometimes embedded later in the paper. Also referred to as a "So what?" statement.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    thick description economical and deliberate language which attempts to capture complex subjects (like cultures, people, or environments) in written or spoken language. Coined by anthropologists Clifford Geertz and Gilbert Ryle.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    tone the emotional register of the text. Compare with mood.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    use-value the degree to which a text is usable for your specific project. A source is not inherently good or bad, but rather useful or not useful. Use-value is influenced by many factors, including credibility. See credibility and CRAAP Test.       Shane Abrams CC BY-NC
    • Was this article helpful?