How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Paper Step By Step

How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Paper Step By Step

When you read a text, watch a movie or listen to a song, you either agree or disagree with the author or speaker. Your reaction largely depends on how the creator of the work employs various techniques to convince you and change your mind. A better way of understanding this is through a rhetorical analysis, which denotes the relationship between an argument’s style and content. When conducting a rhetorical analysis, you focus on the strategies the rhetorician uses in making his or her argument and the success or failure of these approaches. Keep reading this document to find out more on how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step.

This handout takes you through a journey that covers the following areas:

  • Writing rhetorical analysis systematically
  • Parts of an awesome rhetorical analysis paper
  • Examples of a good rhetorical analysis paper

Remember that your tutor may ask you to do a rhetorical analysis of a speech, movie, music, or painting. Thus, be sure to employ these tips, whenever you handling such an assignment. After all, we have designed this guide in a flexible manner to address all your needs. Are you ready for this amazing exploration? Let us get started…

Writing Tips: How to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step

Unlike in other academic essays you handle in college, rhetorical analysis requires you to breakdown the work of an author, and explaining the effectiveness of each part in supporting the argument and wooing the audience.

Importantly, your attention should be on use of literary and nonliterary techniques to accomplish the task of changing the target audience’s mind. Analyze the words, phrases and tone to understand the author’s purpose.

The following steps will help you master how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step. Go over them keenly.

How to gather information for your Rhetorical analysis paper

Step 1: Identify the SOAPS in the text. Here is a breakdown of SOAPS for a better understanding:

  1. Speaker – Reveal the person writing the text or narrating. Here, state full names of the individual. In case, the author has credential, which stamp his authority on the issue, go ahead and not them down.
  2. Occasion – This refers to the context in which the rhetorician developed the piece. Tell the reader circumstances that made the speaker do what he or she did.
  • Audience – These are the people the author had in mind while creating the text.
  1. Purpose – As you write your rhetorical analysis, ensure that you tell the reader the goal of the rhetorician. In this section, you are giving answers to WHY the article?
  2. Subject – This is what the rhetorician is talking about. Do not leave your readers in doubt. Help them understand the subject in the piece of work.

Step 2: Look at the appeals in the text – Appeals are the techniques that rhetoricians employ. They include ethos, pathos, and logos.

  1. Ethos – this refers to the author’s credibility to advance and argument. Talk about the speaker’s experience, professional background, or achievements, which make him or her reliable source of information on the topic.
  2. Logos – As you think about how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step, reflect on the author’s use of reason to make his argument. Look for instances where the writer challenges the intelligence of the audience. Also, look for facts, data and evidence, which supports the claim in the text.
  • Pathos – How does the speaker evoke the emotions of the audience to gain approval? Emotions may include elements of sympathy, anger and love. Remember that excessive use of emotions is unethical as the rhetorician may manipulate the audience.

If you cannot recall everything in this guide, then understand the rhetorical appeals, which form the basis of any rhetorical essay. Let us look at an example and see how writers use them to back arguments.

Example #1: Sample Rhetorical Analysis Paper

In Why Privacy Matters: Debunking the Nothing-to-Hide Argument, the author examines how privacy has become an issue of concern everywhere. In the article, published in 2011, Professor Daniel J. Solove emphasizes that privacy is no longer about hiding what is wrong.

Solove is a professor of law at the George Washington University Law School and an international expert on matters of privacy, having authored nine books on the subject. He is also the brain behind TeachPrivacy, a firm that offers privacy and data-security training solutions.


In this example, the writer begins by giving background information on the text that is under analysis. Importantly, the intro captures the author, the article title and the year of publication.

The writer also brings out how the writer uses ethos to advance his argument. In the excerpt, the writer details the author’s credentials, including his professorial work, authorship and achievements. This example should help you gain a better understanding of how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step. You can read the rest of the analysis here.

 Important ideas on how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step

For you to draft an excellent rhetorical analysis paper, you must understand the text. If you are analyzing a speech or movie, you will watch the piece as many times as possible until you master the speaker’s argument. You would rather spend more time on this preliminary stage and find easy time working on your paper.

Here are some tricks to keep in mind as you work on your rhetorical analysis assignment:

Idea 1: Explain the content of the argument. You cannot conduct an analysis when you do not know the main claim of the text. Bring out the idea that then writer wants the audience to believe in.

What is the significance of the text? Besides synthesizing the argument, tell your reader the importance of the claim as presented by the author. No one wants to read something that does not add value to who they are.

Is it Author’s response? Explain if the author is responding to a previous issue or a problem. This will help you to contextualize the issue at hand.

Give your evaluation – Here, state whether you agree with the author or not.

  Idea 2: Bring out the form of the main point

To gain more knowledge on how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step, you must be ready to digest the writer’s argument. Here are a few things to do.

  1. Give the genre of the argument
  2. State the evidence that author uses to support his or her argument
  • Say how the rhetorician uses language
  1. Are readers likely to make any assumptions?
  2. Is the author biased in the argument?
  3. Does the speaker consider counterarguments in the text?

Final Thought:  How to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step

Once you have dissected the argument, you are ready to do a thorough evaluation. The result of your analysis will depend on how idea #1 and #2 above relate. In other words, establish a link between the content of the argument and its form.

Try the following as you focus on the author’s success or failure to persuade the audience:

How persuasive is the argument? An author can only win the audience with a compelling argument. Bring instances in which the author appeals to the audience in the text.

What evidence does the author present? Describe supporting evidence in the piece of work. For example, what facts, statistics and trends does the author reveal?

Does the speaker address the needs of the audience? State if the piece meets the expectations of the audience.

With these guidelines of how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step, consider the following example:

Example #2: Sample Rhetorical Analysis

Anne Roiphe’s article, “Confessions of a Female Chauvinist Sow” was published in 1972 in the New York.  In the article, she convinces the audience that women must believe that they are equal with men…

She starts her essay with personal anecdotes, of her horrifying feelings when she realized that her husband resembled her father. With this technique, she establishes the piece as informal and personal.

Roiphe uses contrast to back her argument. Throughout the article, she contrasts men and women, noting how boys are drastically different from girls in terms of morality.

This is equally a good example of a rhetorical analysis paper. Here are more samples:

More examples of Rhetorical analysis papers

Hope these hints on how to write a rhetorical analysis paper step by step will help you. Put in effort and surely, you will do great. Success.

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