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Comparative Analysis – Understanding the Rhetorical Situation

Listening to and understanding the perspectives of others is difficult at best; however, as you become a more practiced researcher and writer you will want to understand the viewpoints on various sides of an issue so that you know your thesis is sound.

In Modules 2 and 3, you started to research many types of sources of information. As you created your research proposal and annotated bibliography in Module 3, you most likely looked at the topic from your own prevailing point of view. While this is okay to do, it will become important for you to dissect and understand all sides of the issue to include even the thoughts and opinions of your opposition. In the Module 3 discussion, you looked carefully at the main issues involved with your topic. In Module 4, you conducted an expert interview.

For this assignment, you are to synthesize the information gathered thus far to provide a balanced look at your topic and thesis. This is your chance to show your audience that you have thoroughly researched both sides of your topic as you move past the simple assumptions of being for the issue at hand or against it. This essay will show depth and complexity as you present the various sides of the topic in a balanced and academic voice.

With this assignment, you are conducting a stakeholder analysis of your topic. You are to consider the various people or institutions that have a stake in the topic you are exploring. For this essay you will consider four stakeholder entities.


You have done much of the research for this assignment already especially as connected to your research proposal and the presentations this week! Review the notes from your interview with an expert. Assess whether you have enough information to present all sides of the topic. If your research seems to lean toward one side, remember that research writing is a process. Because of the recursive nature of research writing, continue searching for, evaluating, and annotating sources until you feel you have a thorough understanding of the topic and the various stakeholders.

For each stakeholder entity, research the following:

  • Who are your stakeholders?
    • Identify at least four specific stakeholders or stakeholder groups.
  • What are their values?
  • Why do they think this issue is important?
  • What do they have to gain or lose?
  • What is their goal regarding your topic?
  • Look at this topic from their various perspectives and examine what these voices have to say.
    • How are their positions similar or different from one another?
    • Discuss how and why the answers to the questions could be interpreted in different way.
    • Note how common ground might be reached with your topic for each stakeholder.


Write an essay in which you show balanced analysis of your topic through the perspectives of the stakeholders identified.

  • Introduction: Your introduction should provide a comprehensive overview of the topic. You will provide background and context, as you note the main concerns of the issue at hand. As you conclude this introduction, map out the stakeholder you plan to identify in your paper.
  • Body: Note the stakeholders and their positions. For each stakeholder, write out at least one paragraph noting who they are, what their positions are, and why this topic is significant to their point of view and or causes.
  • Body: 2 to 3 paragraphs. Provide analysis and synthesis of the various viewpoints.
    • How are various positions noted in the body paragraphs citing single stakeholders similar and/or different?
    • What connects the stakeholders?
    • What do you see as similarities or differences?
    • What is the confounding issue that makes this topic so complex?
  • Conclusion: In your conclusion, you can bring in your own topic thesis noted in the Module 3 assignment.
    • Be sure to synthesize the information you present in your body paragraphs in tandem with your own claim.
    • Be sure to address any gaps and issues for the future as tied to your claim.

Headers Levels: You do not need to title them exactly as noted here. Note: Do not include a header for your introduction per APA.

  • Stakeholders and Their Positions (level 1 header)
  • Stakeholder Positions (level 1 header)
  • Connecting Stakeholders (level 1 header)
  • Opinion on similarities and differences (level 2 header)
  • Confounding Issues (level 1 header)
  • Conclusion (level 1 header)

Required elements to turn in with submission:

  • Draft
  • Appendix – following references:
  • Feedback from Smarthinking tutors
    • Pattern of error log (template found in the Module 5 folder)
    • Turnitin score and commentary


  • Length: 1,000-1,100 words
  • 5-7 sources
  • Include some quotations from your sources.
  • Paraphrase 5 to 7 other main ideas
  • Use third person (Links to an external site.).
  • Assert your academic voice.
  • Format essay and citations/references per APA style.

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