Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Larson, Charles U.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication Studies


Rhetoric; Oratory


This thesis fills a void in the field of rhetorical study. Although there are a significant number of rhetorical models for critics to use for argumentative discourse outside the realm of interactive argument, there are no models for the critic who wishes to study interactive argumentative discourse or exchanges of arguments. Furthermore, a lack of models exists for the critic who wishes to study ordinary argument, or exchanges of argumentative discourse with persuasion as the primary goal of the advocates. Thus, a rhetorical model that objectively evaluates ordinary argumentative discourse would improve decision-making skills of the advocates and/or listeners, answer questions that could not otherwise be answered objectively, and improve skills of advocacy. A four step model is created to objectively evaluate ordinary argumentative discourse. Theoretical foundation for this model is established through analysis of argument and advocacy in the writings of Cicero, Quintilian, and Stephen Toulmin. This analysis is integrated into the field of ordinary argumentative discourse. The four step model entails an identification of the goals of the advocates, an establishment of the criteria that will evaluate the arguments of the advocates, an evaluation of the arguments made by the advocates to determine the extent to which they meet the goals of the advocates, and, if necessary, an analysis of the clash of arguments by the advocates. The model is tested on a transcript of an ordinary argument concerning media coverage of the Persian Gulf conflict of early 1991. This transcript is taken from a cable television program on the Cable News Network called "Crossfire." The thesis ends with a call for continued research on ordinary argument and further testing of the new rhetorical model.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [89]-93)


vi, 104 pages




Northern Illinois University

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