Rhetorical analysis assignment ted talk

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Rhetorical Analysis Assignment Assignment Overview

This assignment asks you to complete 2-3 page rhetorical analysis of a TedTalk related to your interests, hobbies, or major. Begin by (briefly) summarizing the work in question, including the speaker’s main argument and important supporting points. Be sure your analysis addresses key rhetorical concepts as detailed below:

-Who is the author/rhetor? Is he or she an authority on the topic? How do his or her credentials impact the persuasiveness of the work in question?

-What is the author/rhetor trying to accomplish with his or her argument?

-Who is this text meant for (audience) and how do you know? Is it appropriate for the audience? Give examples to support your response.

-What is the context? Where does this text exist? Why is this important?

-Where or when was this written? How do you know? Why does this matter?

-What is the overall tone of the text? Give examples to support your response.

-What type of text is this? How does this impact the message, including its delivery and overall effectiveness?

-What strategies does the author/rhetor use to gain the audience’s attention and trust?

-Overall, how is this text effective (or ineffective)? Does it persuade you or convince you to think differently about the topic or subject matter it covers?

-What is the cultural significance of the work in question? What cultural factors impact its effectiveness? Do you identify any bias associated with gender, race, class, or culture? Discuss.

Be sure to identify the ethos (appeals to credibility), logos (appeals to logic and reasoning), and pathos (appeals to values, beliefs, and emotions). Use specific evidence from the artifact you analyze as support.

If your text includes visual elements such as pictures, colors, etc., consider how the design contributes to the overall argument of the text.


Your audience for this assignment is your professor and classmates. Before you write, identify at least three characteristics of your audience and consider how you will need to write to meet their needs and expectations.


The purpose of this assignment is to:

  • Review and reinforce rhetorical analysis
  • Analyze the rhetorical situation and the author’s use of rhetorical appeals
  • Articulate and develop a critical and analytical perspective in writing
  • Develop strategies for critically engaging with information and develop this in writing as
    evidence for arguments
  1. Choose your text for analysis. Pick something that interests you. Search the site www.ted.com/talk to find a talk to analyze.
  2. Review the essay several times before you begin the draft. Remember first steps for rhetorical analysis: what strikes you as interesting/significant/revealing/or strange about your artifact? Identify the author, thesis, support, context, and audience before you begin the draft.
  3. Develop your own clear thesis about the overall effectiveness or impact of this essay. Bear in mind that rhetorical analyses analyze texts and make their own arguments about those texts.
  4. Remember that your analysis still needs a thesis statement. Support your thesis statement with analysis, not only with summary. Point to specific examples in the essay that support your analysis.
  5. Conclude your essay by stating what you set out to accomplish in light of the evidence you have provided to support your main idea.


  • Use in-text citations (MLA is fine).
  • Use more paraphrases than quotations.
  • Avoid long summaries.
  • Avoid “putting words in the author’s mouth” or taking arguments out of context.
  • Avoid foregrounding your own emotional response to the essay; instead, focus on the author’s use of the available means of persuasion.
  • Remember that the conclusion you are aiming for is whether the text as a rhetorical artifact is effective overall (not just whether you enjoyed reading it).

*Be sure to use Times New Roman 12 point font **Use MLA style for heading, in-text citations, etc.

***Give your work a unique and creative title (not “Essay 1” or “Rhetorical Analysis Assignment”).

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