Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Summer 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Professional Writing (MAPW)



First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Giddens

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Lou Odom


This study examines the potential role of visuals in a first-year composition classroom. Essential theoretical questions include whether visual images have rhetorical power, and specifically, whether they can sustain an argument. If we suppose that visual images, like verbal texts, can be arranged to create or extend an argument, then the inclusion of visuals in a writing classroom becomes a question not of if but of how. Study findings and recommendations are relevant for first-year writing instructors, administrators, and others involved in the design and delivery of first-year writing programs.