Assignment: Rhetorical Analysis: Website

Length: 1.5 to 2 pages, double spaced
Sources: None required. Only cite in MLA style the website you choose to analyze.

Again? Another rhetorical analysis?

Don’t fret. You’ve entered the home stretch. This is our last of the Rhetorical Analysis assignments this semester (except for a Final Exam question), and you can take your time developing in-depth analyses since it is due several weeks after the other rhetorical analyses.

Rhetorical Analysis: Website takes us into a new realm of analysis, but not one that will be too daunting for you. Building on previous rhetorical analyses of Kanye West, commercials, and speeches for enthymematic reasoning, rhetorical appeals, and Toulmin or Rogerian arrangement, respectively, you will add visual and multimodal analysis to your skills. In this rhetorical analysis, you might choose to analyze the key assumptions in the enthymematic reasoning or intrinsic ethos or logical fallacies, for example, but you will view images, colors, and potentially sound or video in addition to text.

In class, we will view and, both website arguments for fast food restaurants. These Web pages are unique, however, in how they develop ethos, make implications about what a fast food restaurant should be, and reach different target audiences.

Your rhetorical analysis will follow two steps:

  1. You should find ONE website that you feel makes an interesting argument. Perhaps it is a site like where the argument doesn’t seem to match the initial purpose. Or maybe it is like in its over-the-top ad partnerships. Please choose an appropriate website for analysis.
  2. Analyze what’s interesting about the argument constructed by the company’s website. Is it something basic like how the company/person creates credibility? Is there a unique logical structure of the argument (NOTE: websites often avoid linear narrative!)? Does the website appeal to the audience’s emotions? You could also expand your analysis to visuals and look at the design. Does the website’s design (consider layout, use of white space, accessibility to information, use of graphics vs text, colors, fonts, etc.) contribute to the argument? As always, develop a central thesis and use key evidence from the artifact (website).

Slow down and explain the “why” with your analysis. For example, don’t just identify ethos but point out what is interesting or worth observing about the site. For example, it is easy to note that Chipotle cares about its credibility as a “green” company, but what is unique about how they go about it? Do they achieve their intended effect?

This 1.5–2-page analysis should be double spaced and turned in.

Sample Student Essay

Sample 4 RA Toulmin (.docx file)