Rhetorical Analysis Project Plan

To read and analyze a text rhetorically, we break down the argument to see how it works, without judging or agreeing or disagreeing (57).

In analysis we take something apart to see how it works — we look at how the argument is designed, what choices the author made in designing it, as well as why they might have made those choices. Your task for this first formal writing project is to take apart the essay "Is Google Making us Stupid?" to see how it works.

To do this

  • Re-read the article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"
  • Then, in 1-2 paragraphs, analyze the elements of the argument's rhetorical situation:
    • purpose (p. 57-58)
    • audience (p. 59)
    • author (p. 59)
    • genre (p. 59-60)
    • context (p. 60)
  • Read through the questions again on pages 16-17 of your text for help developing a complete analysis of the rhetorical situation.
  • Next, Read through the questions in the chart on page 70. Identify and analyze the following:
    • Catalyst (also on p. 65)
    • Main Claim (thesis) (also on p. 66-67)
    • Supports (also on p. 67)
    • Linkages (also on p. 68)
    • Implications (also on p. 69)
  • As with all formal writing assignments, you will have a thesis for this project. To develop a thesis for your essay, look at what you think the purpose of the article was, and how the writer's (Nicholas Carr's) rhetorical choices affected that purpose. For more information about writing a rhetorical situation, you can check out this rhetorical analysis tutorial from NCSU. Pay particular attention to the 5 questions in the "Now What?" section for some organizational help.


  • Project should be on a new wiki page entitled Rhetorical Analysis followed by your name or initials.
  • You will need to analyze the article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and analyze it using the prompts and terminology found above^^.
  • The voice or register of your writing must be formal in tone. No yous!
  • Your finished document needs to be written in formal prose — complete sentences and paragraphs. Not notes and bulleted lists.


Your writing should be:

  • about 750 - 1000 words in length
  • Worthy of a title, heading level 1

Important Dates

A working draft of this project is due for workshop Tuesday, February 3.

This project in its entirety is due Thursday, February 5 Saturday, February 7 at midnight.

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