Rhetorical Analysis Assignment Sheet
For this assignment, you will rhetorically analyze one of the sources you selected for your topic and wrote about in your literature review. To do this, you will analyze the author’s goals and motivations in writing this piece, discuss what argumentative techniques the author uses to accomplish this goal, and assess how successful the author was in achieving this goal. Below are a few important things you can/should analyze.
In fact, if you’re feeling nervous about structuring this assignment, addressing each topic on the list below, in order, isn’t a bad way to go.
Purpose: what is the author trying to accomplish? What is motivating them to write this article
Context: how do the social/political factors pertaining to your subject effect the author?
Genre: What type of writing is the text? (Scholarly? Newspaper article? Opinion piece? Something else?)
Argumentative Techniques: This should be the meat of the paper. What kinds of argumentative techniques does the author use? Try to find usages of ethos, pathos, and logos. Give examples and explain how effective you think they are. But don’t limit yourself to those three concepts. Comment on any or all of the argumentative techniques you found interesting—and they might be interesting because you agree or because you disagree.
Voice: What is the author’s tone? Where does his/her voice lie on the spectrum from casual to formal? How does this effect the content of the paper?
Effectiveness: This is the big one. To what extent does the author succeed in making his/her argument?
The most important thing for this assignment is to be a critical reader. Draw on our conversations earlier in the quarter about the various argumentative pieces we read. Be honest in your analysis—there’s no rule that says students can’t be critical of the sources they use in an essay, and in fact, this assignment requires that you be critical. It’s also important to remember that criticism doesn’t simply mean negativity. It means an honest, careful evaluation of the effectiveness of your chosen source.
3-4 double spaced pages