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Purposes: of the Rhetorical Analysis (RA) assignment

· To develop your understanding of rhetoric by investigating how a writer constructed a professional document or text in your major field

· To practice analytical thinking and clear writing
Step 1:

As a preliminary step, before you actually write your paper, you should try to answer the following questions about the document you are analyzing: · What do you think was the author’s purpose in producing this writing? · Who was the intended audience? · What genre does it represent? · What style and tone did the author use? (formal, informal) · What rhetorical appeals did the writer use? (ethos, pathos, and logo)

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Logos = Logic (Appeal to the mind/intellect, to reason)

The use of logic, rationality, and critical reasoning to persuade. Logos can be thought of as the text of the argument, and how well a writer has argued his/her point.
Pathos = Emotion (Appeal to the heart/emotion)

The use of emotion and affect to persuade. Pathos appeals to the heart and to one’s emotions and sympathetic imagination. Pathos can be thought of as the role of the audience in the argument.
Ethos = Ethics and Credibility (Appeal that establishes the writer’s/speaker’s believability, qualifications, and character)

Ethos can be thought of as the writer in the argument, how credible his/her argument is. Ethos seeks to persuade the reader through appeals to ethics and character that the writer/speaker can be trusted and believed due to his/her noble character or ethical ways in which he/she is presenting ideas.

· What strategies were used to develop ideas? (description, narration, process analysis, compare and contrast, cause and effect, etc.)
· How is the text organized, and why do you think the author chose this particular organizational pattern? Is there a particular format that is used? · Why do you think the author included or omitted particular information? · What kinds of evidence did the author include to support his/her point of view, and how was that evidence used?

Step 2: Decide which appeals and strategies you will focus on in your paper.

A writer might use many appeals and strategies, but some are more important than others in achieving the writer’s purpose. So you need to be selective; choose those that you think are the most important (or most interesting) and write about them in your body paragraphs.

Follow this Rhetorical Analysis Outline


a. What is the purpose of the Rhetorical Analysis (RA) assignment?

b. Why/how do writers use rhetorical writing strategies to achieve their purpose? Provide a general/brief explanation of this.

c. Introduce the document you are analyzing:

1- What is the full title of the document?

2- Who is the author?
3- Under what circumstances was the document written? (You may have to guess based on the content and the purpose.)

4- When was it written?

5- Who was the intended audience? Describe the discourse community the document was written for.

6- What is the author’s purpose in producing this piece of writing? What did he/she want to achieve? What do you think the author wanted the reader to think or do after reading this document? (to inform, to persuade, etc.)

d. Preview Statement:

Indicate the rhetorical strategies you will discuss in the rest of this RA. Strategies include style, tone, use of rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, or logos), organization (narration, description, exemplification, analysis of cause and effect, comparison, contrast, etc.), transitions/flow, presentation/format (look at p. 16 of your Course Reader, “Framework for Analyzing Genres and Rhetorical Strategies.”)

II. ANALYSIS OF RHETORICAL STRATEGIES (details of the strategies mentioned in “d” above)

You will begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, and the paragraph will have a unified focus. You should write one paragraph on each of the rhetorical strategies you mentioned in the introduction. Here is how you should develop your paragraphs:

a. Define the rhetorical strategy you will be discussing in that paragraph. (You can quote or paraphrase from your course readings)

b. Quote or paraphrase 2-3 examples from the document that illustrate the use of the strategy

c. Explain how or why the examples illustrate the strategy and how it contributed to the author’s purpose


a. Summarize briefly the main points of the analysis 

b. Explain the significance of your analysis as you consider the following:

1. What conclusions can you draw about the role in general of rhetorical strategies in producing clear communication through writing?

2. What strategies were successful for the author’s intended audience and purpose? Give examples and explain why.

3. What changes would you recommend to the author to better achieve his/her purpose?