Reading and Composing Scientific Reports

What: A short rhetorical analysis
When: First draft due Thursday 3 July; final draft due Monday 7 July

Please consider the following two reports written by a radiologist for a family doctor. These reports concern the same mammogram:

Report A

Mammogram shows a density in the upper outer quadrant of the RIGHT breast associated with microcalcifications which was not present on the previous mammogram of 2 years ago. This is moderately suspicious. The left breast is without evidence of changes compared to the last mammogram.

Report B

In comparison to previous mammogram the breasts again show dense fibroglandular tissue. The left breast is unchanged. The right breast shows a density with microcalcifications that was not present on previous mammogram. Spot compression views and possible ultrasound is recommended to better define this new area of abnormality. Repeat mammogram in 4–6 months is a consideration as well as biopsy if clinically indicated.

Your Assignment

Compose a 500–750 word rhetorical analysis that answers the following questions:

  1. Define precisely the rhetorical situation, the context and function of the report, and the needs of the user in this situation.
  2. Based on your previous answer, compare and contrast carefully the two reports in terms of structure, information hierarchy and information quantity/quality. Use the following questions to guide your analysis:
    1. What are the main differences between the two reports? (Be sure to consider the hierarchy of information and the nature of the information.
    2. Do both reports offer the adequate information to the user? Make sure to define the notion of adequate information in this specific context.
    3. What is the most relevant information for the user? How is this information presented to the user?
    4. Do the reports give information that is not relevant to the care of the patient?
    5. What do the reports suggest in terms of possible treatment?
  3. Based on the nature of the rhetorical situation and of the context, which report seems to be the best? Carefully justify your answer by referring to the reports and to your previous answers.
  4. What does the contrast of these two reports show in regard to:
    1. The role and responsibility of the communicator (in general).
    2. The importance and nature of communication in the workplace (in general)
  5. How do you see what you have learned through contrasting these two reports being
    useful for the communication practices in your (future) career?

(Use the preceding questions to help you structure your response essay, but DO NOT write your response as a bulleted list of questions and answers).

Creative Commons License
This assignment description was written and developed by Laurence José and is distributed
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