Basic elements of a rhetorical analysis

Rhetorical Analysis Basic Elements

This assignment will serve two purposes. First, it will introduce you, the writer, to the basic elements of a rhetorical analysis. Second, it will hopefully serve as an opportunity for you to continue researching a topic for your final argumentative assignment.

You will rhetorically analyze two texts using questions provided with the assignment (see Appendix). This first text must be a non-fiction news article that discusses or reports on a local,state, or regional issue. The article must beavailable on the internet, and no longer than 3,000 words. I recommend you search for newspaper, magazine, and/or articles published on the internet within the last year. Here are some links to get you started:



Fort Wayne Journal Gazette                       Fort Wayne News-Sentinel


Indianapolis Star                                               Muncie Star-Press




WPTA                                                                    WANE


WSBT                                                                    RTV6



89.1 FM WBOI                                   1190 AM WOWO


88.1 FM WVPE                                   93.1 FM WIBC


This first text may consist of :

-Any article or opinion piece from the news, sports, or entertainment section of a newspaper website.

-Any article or opinion piece from any magazine website (must be class appropriate)

-Any article or opinion piece from any website on the internet (again, must be class appropriate).

-Any article, post, or opinion piece from any blog.

The second text must be a radio, video or television broadcast on the same subject as the article. You may YouTube for the video as long as a local, regional, or state issue is discussed.

Here are the steps to complete this first task:

– Reread this assignment

– Find two texts you would like to analyze

After I have approved your text, you are ready to begin writing.

This analysis will consist of three sections:

Basic elements of a rhetorical analysis Section 1:

In this section I want you to offer brief narrative about your texts. Please answer the following questions in this section…

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– Where did you find these texts?

– How did you find them?

– Why are you interested in the article, video, and this topic?

– What is your initial reaction to these texts? Do you agree with the information found in each text? Why or why not?

Basic elements of a rhetorical analysis Section 2:

This section will contain some background information on the authors and the sources of each publication. Please answer the following questions in this section…

– Who is the author? Is he/she a professional writer? What is his/her age? Where does he/she live? What other types of work (besides writing) does he/she do?

-What types of articles/books does the author write? Search for other articles the writer has written.

-What type of publication did you use? How long has the publication existed, or, when did the newspaper/magazine/website first start publishing?

– What type of audience do you think will read the article and the publication? Why?

Basic elements of a rhetorical analysis Section 3:

This section will contain rhetorical observations about the two texts you have chosen. These observations will be based on answers to questions you need to ask yourself about the text. I have supplied a list of questions to consider.

You need to ask/answer at least three questions from the Appendix of these instructions titled “Rhetorical Analysis/Textual Aspects to Consider and Questions to Ask.” Each question/answer will be assigned its own paragraph (or two) containing the question posed, your answer to the question, and evidence gleaned from the texts to support your answer. Each question should be posed and answered for both of your texts, and you need to spend an appropriate amount of time and space explaining your answer for each text. Be sure to carefully compare and contrast the various rhetorical strategies used for both your written text and video, and to make sure your answers to each question are detailed and understood by your readers.

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The final paragraph of Section 3 will contain a summary of the entire paper, and a one-sentence thesis statement that effectively communicates your overall opinion of the texts. Your thesis will ideally contain the following elements:

  1. Compressed answers to each of the three questions posed in Section 3
  2. Your opinion of the overall effectiveness of the text

Your thesis should contain rhetorical observations, and you should avoid inclusion of your opinion on the author or the topic of his/her text.

Checklist Before Submitting

– Is your paper written in a 12 point font?

– Is your paper double spaced?

– Does your paper have a title?

– Is your name and class information presented in MLA formatting style?

– Are each of the three sections labeled and titled?

– Have you included evidence from the text and used appropriate citations?

– Have you and at least one other reader proofread/edited your paper for spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues?



I know this seems like serious task with a lot of work to do, but please have fun with this paper! Pick a text you want to read on a topic you enjoy by an interesting writer. Make sure you enjoy your work. I know I will enjoy reading what you have written.



Rhetorical Analysis

Textual Aspects to Consider and Questions to Ask

(examples on the back)



  • Who cares most about this subject and is likely to read about it? Why?
  • Are target readers’ concerns addressed? How are their beliefs and ideas challenged or confirmed?
  • What might different types of readers think or feel after reading this text? Why?
  • What might readers remember most after reading this? Why?



  • What else has been said about this subject and where?  What difference might that make?
  • What current events or popular issues could affect people’s thinking about this text? How?
  • What appears next to this text (e.g. other stories)?  How might that affect how it could be read?
  • (How) Does this text create connections between its subject and other subjects/issues?



  • What gets emphasized? How is it emphasized (e.g. repetition, strong wording, space devoted to it)?
  • What kind of support is used most? What difference might that make?
  • Is there adequate or impressive support or explanation for the points made? How so?
  • How reliable and unbiased are the sources used?
  • What isn’t said or isn’t addressed?  Why, do you suppose?
  • Is one perspective represented more than another? How? Is this to be expected? Why or why not?
  • What words or terms imply a certain meaning or impression?
  • What conclusion is drawn?  Are other conclusions possible?


Writer and Stance

  • What seems to be the writer’s attitude toward the subject? What makes you think this?
  • What is objective information and what is author interpretation?
  • What allegiances might the author and/or publisher have?
  • What reputation does the publication have (e.g., politics, credibility)? What do readers expect?



  • What does the text want you to think (very few just “inform”)? What makes you think this?
  • What is the announced subject (the thesis)?  Is there another underlying one?
  • What reasons might the writer have for writing this? What makes you think so?
  • What might certain readers use this text for?  If it is online, who or what links to it?



  • What information comes first? What comes last?  What’s in the middle? Why?
  • If there are pictures/graphics associated with this text, what impression do they give?
  • What parts of the text are brought out in larger size and/or sidebars?  What impression do they give?
  • What type of medium is this? How might that affect how the information is presented and received?

Rhetorical analysis essay assignment

Last Updated on November 24, 2020 by EssayPro