Step One: Source Selection
To begin your Rhetorical Analysis, please select two articles from news sources. These
articles should focus on the SAME topic but approach the topic from two different
perspectives/points. Feel free to use these sample articles if it helps:
Sample A: Deal with the Dress Code
Sample B: Real Impact of Dress Codes
Step Two: Article Analysis
For BOTH articles, examine the following analytical points.
1. Rhetorical Situation:
2. What genre is this type of writing (news article, blog, video, etc.)? Does the piece fit
into this genre appropriately? Why or why not?
3. How does the writer organize the argument? Does this effectively guide the reader?
Why or why not?
4. How does the writer support the argument? Is the support guided by evidence and
logic? Why or why not?
5. How does the author’s language connect to the audience? Consider tone, writing
style, and language choices.
6. A good argument balances ethos (credibility), logos (logical appeal), and pathos
(emotional appeal); does this argument have an effective balance? Why or why not?
7. OVERALL, is this an effective argument? Why or why not? *Use the answer to this
last question to help build your thesis!*
Step Three: Thesis Building (The thesis is the final sentence of your introduction; your thesis
should state your argument AND your major reasons, like a mini-outline to your paper.)
Once you’ve read and examined both articles analytically, you will build your thesis.
Your thesis should argue which article is most effective with the audience and why.
Example: Morrow’s article more effectively connects to the audience than Jameson’s
because of issues with tone and example choices.
Based on that thesis, the first section of my paper would focus on the difference in tone
for both articles, and the second section would focus on the different example choices.
Step Four: Outline Building
An outline is an effective way to plan your paper BEFORE you write. It makes writing
the paper MUCH easier! Please use the following outline template for your work:
Attention Grabber. Pull your reader into your paper with an engaging quote, story, or
idea. This attention grabber should be related to your paper’s major point – how to make
an effective argument.
General Contexts and Introduction of Sources (Introduce both articles formally – full
names of the authors and full name of the article titles in quotation marks. After you
introduce the authors by their full name initially, you can refer to them by last name
Thesis Statement. Your thesis statement should focus on two or three points of analysis
(not summary points). For example: “In this piece, Davis more effectively reaches her
audience than Douglas by using stronger language and more evocative examples.” Based
on this thesis, my first body paragraph(s) would be about the language choices and my
second section of the paper would focus on example choices.
II. Body (Note: You will have multiple body paragraphs; how many depends on the purpose
and depth of your thesis/assignment.)
Topic Sentence. The topic sentence should connect back to your thesis. Based on the
example thesis, this topic sentence should be about language choices in the two articles.
Examples with Analysis. As you plan your outline, pull three or four specific examples
to use in your paper to make sure you’re fully “showing, not telling” your topic sentence
point. Make sure you add analysis after each example to show WHY it matters.
Use QUOTES! Use short quotes (a handful of words or one sentence) to illustrate your
ideas. Integrate them smoothly with signal phrases. Examples: In Smith’s article, he
argues, “People need to be objective.” OR Smith argues that people “need to be
objective” in order to connect with his audience. If you don’t mention the writer’s name
in your sentence, you need to cite them parenthetically. Example: Then he notes that
people “need to be objective” (Smith). After each quote, include a sentence or phrase that
explains WHAT the quote shows and how it proves the topic sentence.
Linking Sentence. This sentence should tie all the examples back together and argue
why it proves your thesis.
Restate main ideas and explain the argument’s overall significance. (Do not simply
copy/paste your thesis.)
Step Five: Document your Sources
Google “OWL at Purdue MLA” to find an excellent MLA resource. This site uses the
most up-to-date MLA documentation. (Your printed textbook is likely outdated, but the
e-book via Mindtap is updated.)
To cite your sources, look under “Electronic Sources,” and find “A Page on a Website.”
Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Website Title, Date of Creation, URL or
DOI. Date of access.
Brown, John. “The Key to Success.” The New York Times, 4 May 2016,
www.nytimes.com/key-to-success. Accessed 5 September 2016.
Please review this site to learn more about your in-text citations and paper formatting.
Look under “Sample Paper” for a guide.
Step Six: Drafting, Revision, Drafting, Revision
Leave ample time to draft and revise to ensure the best product! As you write, please
don’t hesitate to contact me for guidance. Also, you can utilize the Writing Center in the
Student Learning Center for one-on-one writing tutoring if you have access to campus!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about your
assignments! I’m here to help!