Although there are rhetoric scholars who use qualitative and/or quantitative methods, when one talks about rhetorical methods, one is almost invariably talking about rhetorical criticism. Criticism has been and can be defined in many ways, but for rhetorical scholars, criticism has three main components. First, it involves a description. For instance, if a rhetorical critic were to critique Ronald Reagan’s Challenger eulogy, he or she might describe its subject matter (a farewell to and celebration of the astronauts who perished in the space shuttle explosion in 1986), its medium (television), and its form (the elements of the eulogy and how those elements were put together). Second, criticism requires an interpretation. Here, the critic is trying to answer the question: what is this text ...
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