Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Essay #2: Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Topic Choices
A rhetorical analysis is a systematic examination of the strategies a writer employs to
achieve his or her purpose. Considering the rhetorical situation of any piece of writing
requires analyzing the writer, purpose, audience, topic, and context of the writing. Two
reporters can cover the same event in different ways, depending on their background,
biases, writing style, tone, etc. A rhetorical analysis calls for the person analyzing the
writing to explore what makes each article unique and to evaluate its effectiveness.
The subject of your rhetorical analysis essay should be a scholarly, peer-reviewed
journal article accessed through EBSCO or ProQuest (check the e-databases and e-
journals on the Library website), or it can be a lengthy article or essay assigned as
reading in another course. Your article should be at least 3-5 pages in length and
preferably published in the last six years (since 2015). Examples of analysis essays can
be found in your text. Be sure if you find your article on an e-database that you are
reading the full text of the article.
Choose from one of the following categories for your article:
 Topic related directly or indirectly to your field of study
 Topic related to higher education
 Topic related to a current law or legislative action
 Topic related to a controversial environmental issue
When considering a text to analyze, consider the following:
 A strong argument or claim is presented
 A manageable length – (5 pages is a good length)
 An understandable text without having to have extensive background in the
Rhetorical Analysis Essay Structure
As you study the text/article, analyze the following:
 The writer/author – background of the writer, credentials, stance, reputation,
beliefs, effect of the writer’s background on the context of the arguments
 Purpose – to convince or to encourage to act, implied or stated directly, hidden
 Audience – intended audience, audience’s attitude toward the subject, informed
or uniformed
 Context – part of a larger conversation, historical background
 Means of Persuasion – appeal to logic, appeal to emotion, appeal to authority
(find specific examples within the text)
 Rhetorical Strategies – evidence (facts, observations, expert opinions),
organization (structure of the argument), thesis ( position the argument supports),
effectiveness of the argument
 Stylistic techniques – organization, headings, diction, tone, visual aids (charts,
graphs, photos)
The Norton Field Guide to Writing has great steps for analyzing an essay in Chapter 11,
beginning on page 115.
Essay Guidelines
Following are the specific requirements for your rhetorical analysis essay:
1. Your rhetorical analysis essay should be a minimum of 750 words, approximately 3-
4 typed, double-spaced pages.
2. Your essay must be typed in a standard 12-pt. font and double-spaced. Follow MLA
guidelines for spacing, margins, etc., which can be found in The Norton Field Guide
to Writing, pp. 586-96. You do not need a separate title page.
3. Your essay should only include one source, the article which you are analyzing,
documented in proper MLA format. You can list the one Work Cited at the end of
your essay, no need for a separate page for the one source. You will also include
parenthetical citations for page numbers as you reference specific evidence (either
quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) from the text.
4. While not required, an outline is suggested for this essay. Writing a brief topic or
sentence outline before writing your essay will help ensure that you stay focused in
your essay. A sample outline template has been provided below to help with
organizing your essay. (Your essay does not have to follow this outline exactly; it is
merely provided as a sample.)
5. Your essay should be written using Standard English; please avoid the use of slang
expressions and incomplete sentences unless they are included in properly
punctuated dialogue. The essay will be graded according to the Points Penalty List
posted in the Course Syllabus and in the Content section of the D2L course.
Outline for Rhetorical Analysis
I. Rhetorical Situation
A. The Writer
1. Background of the writer
2. Effect of the writer’s background on the context of the argument
3. Historical context
B. Writer’s Purpose
1. Implied or directly stated
2. Convince or encourage to act
3. Relies on logic or emotion
4. Hidden agenda
C. Writer’s Audience
1. Intended Audience
2. Audience – hostile, friendly, unfriendly
3. Informed or uninformed
D. The Topic
1. Statement of the argument
2. Reasons for choosing the topic
3. Argument fully developed
4. Effectiveness of the argument
II. Means of Persuasion
A. Appeal to Logic
1. Example
2. Example
B. Appeal to Emotion
1. Example
2. Example
C. Appeal to Authority
1. Example
2. Example
III. Rhetorical Strategies
A. Thesis – position the argument supports
B. Organization – structure of the argument
C. Evidence – facts observation, expert opinions
IV. Stylistic Techniques
A. Headings
B. Diction
C. Tone
D. Visual Aids
V. Conclusion
A. Summary of main points
B. Overall effectiveness of the article
I will be writing about (Ending air pollution will save thousands: UW study finds elimination of air pollution could save over 53,000 lives a year
Schulte, Laura.
Marshfield News Herald; Marshfield, Wis. [Marshfield, Wis]. 23 May 2022: A.1.)

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