Running head: WRIT 121 – RHETORICAL ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT SHEET
Analyze three journal articles from three different fields of study while focusing on the rhetorical concepts of genre,
purpose, audience, tone, context, and design. Each document is the result of a series of decisions made by the writer based
upon the rhetorical situation (the context of the writing). Ultimately, your purpose is to evaluate the cumulative
effectiveness of those choices in each document. Which document is more effective? What does it do better, and why are
those choices more effective?
Below are steps to help you complete this assignment.
1. Select the three documents you intend to analyze and evaluate1. No specific documents that are used as examples
in class or that are posted on Moodle (as examples) should be used. Consult a reference librarian for help with
locating three documents.
2. Take notes on each of the bulleted characteristics listed below. The points addressed below provide a framework
for analysis and criteria for evaluation; the points are a guide and not an outline for writing your paper.
Global characteristics. Examine the organizational structure of your journal articles. Do the documents
illustrate any of the standard arrangement/organization patterns described in Tebeaux and Dragga (2018,
Chapter 8: Technical Reports) and/or Bullock, Brody, and Weinberg (2017, pp. 19-25)? Do the titles and
headings of the journal articles follow similar patterns? Do they help readers locate information?
Section-level characteristics. Compare equivalent sections of the journal articles. Do the comparable
sections function similarly? Do all the documents contain the same sections, or are some sections omitted
from some documents? Why do you think there might be these differences among the articles? Evaluate
each of your documents using the checklist in Tebeaux and Dragga (2018, pp. 27-28).
Sentence-level characteristics. Examine the tone, sentence structure, and writing style of each journal
article. Do you notice key differences (for example, the use of passive or active voice)? If so, what effect
do these differences have on you as a reader? Why might the differences exist? Evaluate each of your
documents using the checklist in Tebeaux and Dragga (p. 72).
Design characteristics. How does each journal article make use of contrast, alignment, repetition,
proximity, and size? Is one article more effective at employing design principles than the others? How are
equations or quantitative data treated? How are figures and tables treated? Evaluate each of your
documents using the checklists in Tebeaux and Dragga (pp. 100, 131-132).
3. Develop a thesis2 based on the results of your analysis and evaluation.
4. Write your rhetorical analysis in memo format using one of the organizational patterns diagramed on page 53 of
Bullock et al. (2017).
5. Support your assertions (claims) about the texts with reasons and evidence.
Your three chosen journal articles
Bullock et al. (2017); Tebeaux and Dragga (2018); the “Rhetorical Analysis Resources” folder on Moodle
Classroom activities addressing journal articles
Analysis involves examining “something by breaking it into its parts and noting how they work in relation to one another” while
evaluation involves making a judgement about something based on criteria (Bullock et al., 2017, pp. 511, 523).
According to textbook writers Bullock et al. (2017, p. 10), a “thesis is a statement that indicates your main point, identifying your
topic and the claim you are making about it.”
WRIT 121 – RHETORICAL ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT SHEET
The primary audience3 for the memo is your instructor and your classmates (your classmates will read the draft memo
during peer editing). Use a tone and language that is appropriate for written communication with an instructor and other
Your memo should be 750-1000 words, excluding the references page.
This assignment is worth 15 percent of your course grade.
This assignment is to be written in memo format (single-spaced).
Use an 11- or 12-point font that is easy to read, one-inch margins, and explanatory headings to help organize and
forecast document content for the reader.
Use block style when formatting the memo (left align text and skip a space in between paragraphs).
Include an APA running header on all memo pages (see Bullock et al., 2017, pp. 204-207).
State the word count at the end of the memo (e.g., Word count: 750).
Use APA style to cite/reference any outside sources of information used in your memo, including the journal
articles analyzed. Place APA-formatted references on a separate page at the end of the memo (the references list
does not figure into the word count).
Do not use an electronic template to format your memo or its citations/references.
This assignment will contribute to students meeting the following course outcomes:
Consider and successfully address audience, purpose, context, and genre.
Design and present documents that are appealing and easy-to-follow/scan.
Revise documents until they are effective, clear, complete, concise, and correct.
Conduct research and demonstrate critical thinking through evaluation and use of sources.
Submission Specifications and Due Date
Bring an electronic copy of your memo (a full draft) to class on Thursday, Oct. 18, for peer editing.
Save the final copy of your assignment as a PDF, and upload it to Moodle by 11:55 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Name the file Rhetorical Analysis – first and last name (e.g., Rhetorical Analysis – John Doe). Final versions
of assignments that contain editing marks will receive zeros.
According to textbook writer Markel (2013, p. 58), “A primary audience consists of people who use [a] document in carrying out
their jobs.” This audience may include a writer’s supervisor (or your instructor in the case of your class assignments) and a writer’s
team members or co-workers who may assist in undertaking the support work required to complete a document (in other words, your
WRIT 121 classmates who will peer edit and feedback on your developing document).
Bullock, R., Brody, M., & Weinberg, F. (2017). The little seagull handbook with exercises (3rd ed.). New York: W.W. Norton &
Markel, M. (2013). Practical strategies for technical communication. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Tebeaux, E., & Dragga, S. (2015). The essentials of technical communication (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
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