EN0PW-Persuasive Writing

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Mr Gareth Mills

Email: g.m.mills@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module develops students’ ability to write in a range of non-fictional genres of writing, such as letters, reports, reviews, newspaper and journal articles and online material, all of which have in common their practical purpose. We will concentrate on the composition of short pieces of writing in these forms while introducing students to themes associated with the study of formal rhetoric. We will engage with the long-running debate about the role of language in persuasion, for good or ill.


In this module, students analyse the grammatical tools and literary techniques that enable writers in non-fictional genres to persuade and inform their readers and/or listeners (while meeting their word limit). By asking students to consider the arguments and proofs used in newspaper and online reporting, we will encourage them to think more critically about the information on which we rely as citizens of a democracy. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

• write short documents with the clarity and elegance of style best suited to ‘persuasive writing’. 

• recognise the techniques used in non-fictional writing, such as reviews, newspaper articles, reports, and oral presentations.

• think about the styles of writing that are used in a wide variety of careers (journalism, administration, marketing, public sector).

• consider the political and cultural uses of language, in oral or written forms.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

Teaching in the autumn and spring terms will consist of fortnightly lectures alternating with fortnightly two-hour seminars. Each lecture will introduce the topic and explain the elements of writing style that best facilitate the purposes of the form of writing under discussion. The kinds of documents to be featured will include reviews, letters, reports, forms, speeches and public debates. The learning resources necessary for the completion of the formative and summative assignments will be provided on Blackboard. Seminar discussions will build on the students’ written exercises and encourage more thorough analysis of the task and of the students’ writing techniques. 

Global context:

Students will be studying the importance of persuasive writing, and the ways to create such writing, in a global society.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures introduce the topic and set the exercise. Seminars allow for discussion and peer review of drafts of the exercise. Teaching in the summer term takes the form of a workshop and drop-in sessions. Time is allocated for individual tutorials to discuss progress.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 10 10
Tutorials 1 1
Project Supervision 1 1 2
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study: 63 63 36
Total hours by term 80 80 40
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module is assessed 100% on a written assignment resulting from an independent research project, to be submitted in Week Two of the Summer Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will produce short pieces work for peer review online and will also produce work in seminars (or in preparation for seminars) that will be discussed in the seminar.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:


    Re-examination assessment in August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):



    1. Required text books


    1. Specialist equipment or materials


    1. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear


    1. Printing and binding


    1. Computers and devices with a particular specification


    1. Travel, accommodation and subsistence


    Last updated: 19 September 2019


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