Rhetorical Criticism/Article Analysis

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Rhetorical Criticism

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Rhetoric: “The action humans perform when they use symbols for the purpose of communicating with one another” (Foss, 1996, p. 4).

Four dimensions of conceptualizing rhetoric:

  • Rhetoric is an action
  • Rhetoric is a symbolic action
  • Rhetoric is a human action
  • Rhetoric functions to enable us to communicate with one another

For this assignment you will select a social issue using the lenses of an artifact, phenomena or symbol you observe or participate in. This should be socially significant and meaningful to you and to others. You will engage in a descriptive analysis and argument of your selected form of rhetoric. Consider the following-

Daily, we engage in a process of:

  • Thinking about symbols or discourse
  • Discovering how they work and why they affect us
  • Choosing to communicate in particular ways as a result of the options they present

Rhetorical Criticism: the process of systematically investigating and explaining symbolic acts and artifacts for the purpose of understanding rhetorical processes

  • Central to rhetorical criticism is a view of communication as a persuasive process
  • Analysis is linked the Aristotle’s Rhetoric:
    • Analysis of ethos (credibility appeals of the speaker)
    • Analysis of pathos (emotional appeals of the speaker)
    • Analysis of logos (logical appeals of the speaker)

Doing a rhetorical criticism:

  • Select a rhetorical artifact or issue and formulate a research question
  • Select your units of analysis (or aspects of the artifact to which to attend to in order the answer the research question)
  • Analyze the artifact (know its dimensions)
  • Write a critical essay
    • Introduction
    • Description of artifact and its context
    • Description of the unit of analysis
    • Report on the findings of the analysis
    • Discussion and contribution the analysis makes to answering the research question

Your paper must include-

  • At least 5 scholarly sources
  • Fully developed introduction and conclusion
  • Description of the sight of rhetorical analysis (phenomena, object, etc.)
  • Analysis (what’s the problem?)
  • Implications (so what?)
  • A reference page that meets current APA standards
  • 1000 words minimum



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