Professional Writing


Assignment 1: Rhetorical Analysis of Professional Documents 


  • apply rhetorical concepts (context, audience, and purpose, exigence, epistemology, kairos) to academic, public, and/or professional situations (Rhetorical Knowledge)
    • Audience
    • Purpose
    • Rhetorical Situation 
  • apply sophisticated revisions strategies to achieve paper or project goals (Process Knowledge)

For this assignment, you will examine 2 sample documents, and, in order to consider how writers make informed rhetorical choices when writing and designing documents. You will make an argument about each document’s message, audience and purpose by identifying and analyzing elements in the text. Make sure that you explain the writer’s choices by using concrete language and concrete examples from the text to support your argument. You are arguing less about whether the writer did an effective job and more about what strategies the writer used in order to carry out a specific message with a specific purpose to a specific audience. 

As you analyze the documents, consider some of these questions about which strategies the writer uses

What is the message? How do you know?

What choices did the writer make to get this message across?

Who is the audience? How do you know?

How is the document organized? Why?

What type of language does the writer use? Why?


Present this information in a user-friendly professional document rather than an academic essay form. Your goal is to create a concise, clear, visually-appealing document that presents information in a well-organized way.  

About 3 pages 

MLA citation style where appropriate 

Key terms: 

The WTNG program glossary defines these concepts as 

Audience: Audience, loosely defined, is the recipient for the communication…The key to understanding audience is that it is never everyone. You must, as author, make choices and in making choices you shape your message to the audience you believe most likely to achieve your purpose.

Rhetorical purpose: Rhetorical purpose refers to the primary intent or goal of a text.  The most commonly cited rhetorical goals are to explore, to inform, to analyze, to synthesize, and to persuade.  

Rhetorical situation: The rhetorical situation involves the interplay between the speaker or writer’s purpose, her text, her audience, and the social context within which the communication occurs.

WTNG 220 Assignment 1 Rubric

I. Identify and explain audience and purpose (and message is applicable) 

Identify audience and purpose 

Identify and explain strategies that writers use to achieve audience and purpose 

Make a sustained argument about audience and purpose

Specific thesis statement that makes an argument about audience and purpose

Proficient: Articulates argument through clear, focused, and precise thesis statement
  All parts of the argument (major and sub-claims) are developed thoroughly, deeply, and 


 II. Identify and explain evidence that supports argument 

Identify examples and quotes that support thesis/argument 

Proficient: Always uses relevant evidence from reliable and properly documented sources

III. Discuss evidence in relation to thesis/argument

Analyzes quotes and examples in support of argument

Discusses key words in terms of audience and purpose

Explains how these examples relate to audience/purpose

Proficient: Consistently integrates and fully explains evidence to support all claims 

thoroughly and carefully

IV. Use consistent and appropriate citation conventions

Uses quotation marks to incorporate language from original text 

Uses appropriate paraphrasing and summary to avoid plagiarism 

Uses both in-text and end-of-text (Works Cited page) to document 

Proficient: Uses an appropriate citation and formatting style that follows a conventional 

           style (MLA, APA, Chicago)

V. Use appropriate formatting to make document readable and usable 

Proficient: Uses headings, sections, and other decisions that make the document user-

friendly and easy to scan; consistent in formatting 

VI. Presents clear and concise prose (sentences) with specific word choice

Proficient: Has no errors, typos, misspellings; prose is easy to follow

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