Rhetorical Analysis Outline

Rhetorical Analysis Outline

Rhetorical analysis essay is a paper that analyzes an argument in specific text. The task of writing such an essay is not easy but with an outline, organizing your paper becomes easy. Rhetorical analysis outline is a structure that guides you on how to put your thoughts, ideas and points in the final essay and develop a compelling argument. In this article, you will find useful tips on how to structure an outline for your paper, how to use and examples of good outlines for different essays. Read on.

Composing an ideal rhetorical analysis outline

Before you write a rhetorical analysis essay, you got to work on a good structure and stick to it. This is because

It can be quite challenging to organize your thoughts and ideas structurally

It is also easy to get mixed up and get swept when discussing or analyzing the work of another writer

Note that despite the fact that you are discussing the work of another writer, you are still expected to keep the structure of basic essay which includes an introduction, thesis, body and conclusion

For the introduction, you should try to grab the attention of target audience and in a few sentences

Develop a narrow and strong thesis statement

In the body of your rhetorical analysis, you would want to enhance your thesis. You have to concisely analyze your essay by taking one paragraph to analyze each aspect of the writer’s argument. It is however very important that you do not agree with the author’s text or the speaker you are analyzing. In some cases, you may feel that the argument of an author actually crumbles

Therefore, take another perspective and analyze the text by criticizing lack of proof of the thesis statement and point out areas where the argument starts to break down.

In the conclusion, you would want something solid and a wrap up that is conclusive or ultimate in general. Consider discussing how you see the argument from a positive or negative larger view.

Structuring your outline as above is imperative when writing your essay because you will have a better and clear understanding of particular text sections and more specifically, those that serve the general goal of the writer. It will help you answer the questions

What’s your general objective for analyzing the text?

What do you have to do to achieve your analysis goals?

What kind of rhetorical moves do you wish to make or could you possibly make

What to include in a rhetorical analysis outline

Introduction: background information and thesis

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis essay should include background information about the topic you are analyzing. This information should help target audience to understand the nature of your analysis. For this reason, offer details on the title of your work, author and details of publication. It is also imperative to include a statement of the speaker’s argument and topic.


Create a solid thesis statement offering an evaluation of the writer’s main argument. Go ahead to offer specific examples and analytical reasons or appeals.Body: Analysis, Interpretation, and Evaluation

Main argument 1: focus on the use of logos in source and

Draft the first supporting paragraph giving logical examples of the type of logical appeal. State whether the appeal is based on deductive reasoning, cause and effect or inductive reasoning. In either case, give supporting evidence, statistics and illustrations.

Supporting paragraph 2: give an explanation as to why the example you have given is effective for the argument the author is making.

Main argument 2:  pathos in source

Focus on the way the author used pathos in source. Give concrete examples of the pathetic appeals and target audience from trace. This means that you should write this paragraph giving examples of what appeals to the values of audience’s and their motivation.

You should also write the second supporting statement evaluating the effectiveness of this appeal on the argument. It is an essential part of rhetorical analysis outline and gives more credibility to your essay.

Main argument 3: Ethos

Give solid examples of ethical appeals employed by the author. State the appeals while using text, author and constraints from trace to gain more authority, achieve more credibility. Note that ethos can be invented or situated ethos.

For the second paragraph, it is essential that you evaluate carefully the effectiveness of the argument.

Conclusion: Final thoughts and re-highlight evaluation

A rhetorical analysis essay also includes a conclusion and it is usually a summary of your assessment, final thoughts and it should be a re-emphasize of your analysis. Therefore, make the final statement about the nature of the argument in regards to the topic. For instance, you can state whether the topic is highly emotional, is it a new topic that should be used to motivate other people or a subject that is unlikely to be addressed in the future.

Rhetorical analysis outline examples

With the above information on what a rhetorical analysis outline entails, you should be able to organize your paper. However, you can effectively write your analysis by reviewing a few examples of rhetorical analysis outline.

Good examples help you to extend your understanding of what a topic or text is all about and how it works rhetorically. Note that many students are used to summarizing what the text is all about instead of analyzing the content. In a rhetorical analysis outline, you ought to examine and evaluate why the text says something about particular things.

You ought to state clearly what the general purpose of the author is. This should also be in the most natural way. Therefore, reviewing different examples will enable you to sum up how specific text operates or functions within the entire essay.

Rhetorical analysis outline examples will also help you to clearly see how the text you need to analyze operates at a micro level, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph and section by section. This kind of analysis is specifically useful based on the fact that it helps you to write a good summary, focus on an analysis and critique of the speaker’s rhetorical methods.

Example 1


  • Introduce your subject or analysis topic
  • Make your statement clear
  • Engage readers
  • Focus on objective analysis

Summarize rhetorical situation

  • Determine the issue
  • What is the context?
  • Who is making the argument?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the thesis or main point?
  • What kind of argument is being presented in the text?

Summary of the argument’s appeals

  • Give a summary of ethos, describe the character of the author, credentials, and state his or her good will and likeability
  • Summarize logos and describe in detail the work of logos for instance, is the author’s argument logical or not? Give evidence for the same
  • Pathos- what are some of the specific emotions that the argument evoke

Give a summary of the claim negotiates opposing statements

  • Does the work acknowledge opposing evidence and claims? Does it do so fairly and thoroughly?
  • Does the text refute the opposing views or claims? If so, how?

Summary of weaknesses and strengths

Can you find any errors, any problems with the arguments? State them

Write the conclusion, briefly and concisely

Find the above rhetorical analysis outline example here.

Example 2


Pick attention grabber text, something shocking or startling

Write a brief summary of the essay with the author’s info

Draft a thesis statement, choose what to start with, for instance is the statement effective or not effective

  1. Reason 1
  2. Reason 2
  3.  Reason 3
  4.  Reason 4

When giving reasons supporting your thesis statement, you should be very careful, do not go crazy, but be natural and honest. This will help you to keep your analysis on focus.

  1. Body
  • Supporting point one
  • Supporting point two
  • Supporting point three
  • Supporting point four
  1. Conclusion

Write how your supporting statements or points work together enhance your thesis

State what the author might have done to make his or her effective (if you argue that the statement was effective, do you think that it could have been better? If so, give reasons.

Download this outline and get more details of how you can structure your paper.

Example 3


Talk about the speaker, occasion and subject of your analysis

Write about the purpose of the author and what the author does in the topic of analysis

Focus on audience; does the author employ the right tone to keep the audience? For example, the author creates a highly dramatic tone to convey to target audience that the winds have inescapable effects and are sinister


This is the rhetorical analysis outline part and you should include a clear explanation of strategies employed by the author. Most importantly, work chronologically through the text; discuss each idea in each paragraph, one at ago.


The conclusion of a rhetorical analysis is often the easiest part. In one or two sentences, remind your readers of what you said in the introduction and briefly.

This link leads you to the above rhetorical analysis structure and offers more information on ow you organize your paper.

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