Engineering: Rhetorical Analysis Assignment

Download PDF

AKA: Comparing Rhetoric (ENGR 110 Mid-Term Exam)

What is a “Rhetorical Analysis”?

Imagine that you are an engineer working with businesses to help them transform their offices into more environmentally friendly spaces. You have to write two different assignments. The first is a proposal for your employers to convince them that they should implement your plan. The second is a newspaper article informing the general public about your work and why it is important.

For the first assignment, you will likely use ethos (ethical/moral appeals) and logos (logical appeals), but no pathos (emotional appeals). You will probably use your credentials (e.g. academic degrees) and provide all of the facts for your employers (e.g. data, tables, statistics, etc.). You might also include some technical engineering terms from your field to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

For the second assignment, you might rely more on pathos. For example, you might use pathos to explain why your work is important by stressing that if businesses do not make their practices more environmentally friendly, then future generations of human beings and animals will suffer from further climate change effects. You will probably also refrain from using technical terms to avoid confusing your readers.

Who you are trying to convince, and why you are trying to convince them, affects your writing strategies.

Comparing the Rhetoric in Two Different Articles

Comparing the rhetoric in two different articles involves multiple steps. Here are some ideas for how to proceed:

Pre-Writing Steps (before writing your essay)

  1. Read each article carefully
  2. Determine who each author is writing to (his/her audience) and why (his/her purpose)
  3. Analyze the rhetorical strategies (ethos, logos, pathos) that each author uses to convince readers.
  4. Make a planning sheet (rhetorical strategies used, including examples), which might look like this:
Article #1 Article #2
Ethos – listed his/her credentials (p.10)

– <other examples>

– listed agencies he/she works with (p.5)

– <other examples>

Logos – provided statistics (p.12)

– <other examples>

– mentioned data from a survey (p. 7)

– <other examples>

Pathos – discussed his/her family (p. 14)

– <other examples>

– referred to endangered animals (p. 9)

– <other examples>


  1. Construct a thesis statement—an argument stating which article is more persuasive and why.
  2. Create an outline—here are two general options:
  • Introduc7on
  • Article #1 – Appeal A, Appeal B, Appeal C
  • Article #2 – Appeal A, Appeal B, Appeal C
  • Conclusion


  • Introduction
  • Appeal A – Article #1, Article #2
  • Appeal B – Article #1, Article #2
  • Appeal C – Article #1, Article #2
  • Conclusion

Writing the Rhetorical Analysis Essay

  1. Write an introduction, which includes the title of each article, and ends with your thesis statement.
  2. Write your body paragraphs, which analyze the articles’ rhetoric and provide references/examples, and remember to link your points back to your thesis.
  3. Write a conclusion, which restates your main argument using different words, and suggests why analyzing and comparing rhetoric is an important exercise.

*This handout was created by the CAC, not the ENGR department; if in doubt, follow your professor’s instructions rather than this handout.*