Evaluation of a Website

For your third major assignment, you’ll select a Website or Youtube ad for a product, service or organization connected to your field or projected profession and write a thesis-driven evaluative argument in which you examine the rhetorical strategies of the site (or, ad—for our purposes I will refer collectively to a site or ad merely as “the site.” For example, if you are a pre-pharmacy major, you might select a website from a drug company, a national pharmacy chain, or even the website for the National Pharmacist’s Association. Each of these websites is making an argument: “You should buy this,” or “You should shop here.” The purpose of this essay is to analyze and evaluate the rhetorical elements of the site.

Your site should find three uses of rhetoric on the site, something identifiable with what we’ve discussed in Chapter W-8, and at great length with the handouts such as “Let My Teenager Drink.” Look especially for elements of ethos and pathos (especially its subset, connotation).

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Remember all we have discussed. Remember, too: YOU NEED NOT FIND ONE EXAMPLE OF ETHOS, PATHOS, LOGOS. You may find three examples of one of these, or two of one and one of another.

Some hints. With Ethos, have you chosen a company whose name is its own Ethos? (Think Lexus, Facebook, Nike, Tiffany’s.) Does the website talk about how long it’s been in business, or how many awards. Look at the images—do they convey strength, accomplishment, security? Are there testimonials from others?

Pathos—What emotional response are you supposed to get from the photos, the color scheme, the words? If it’s a hospital, what can you say about the patients in the photos? Is it a children’s hospital? (If they want your business they show happy, healthy kids in order to reassure you. If they want your money they show happy, sick kids in order to conjure up feelings of guilt and pity).

Logos—the hardest to write about, because it is so schematic, but in their use of statistics (“X has happened every year since Y”) they often use induction to create a pattern of excellence.

A successful essay will:

Bring readers into the context of the website, briefly summarize the website’s content, and make a claim (thesis) for the site’s rhetorical features. Remember: a thesis is located at the end of the first or second paragraph, is simple and declarative—and for this essay, your thesis will contain the rhetorical elements you will speak of. Look at the sample essay posted in modules. Example of a thesis: In attempting to sell sneakers to the world, Nike designed a website containing ethos and connotation.
Remember to consider how site makes its argument, and make your own. Remember: a topic sentence should NOT be a mere statement of fact. You should not write, “The design of the website is green.” You should write, “The next element in the website is pathos. The sight uses the color scheme to appeal to our sense of green.” Remember that ANY part of a website can become part of your essay: ad copy, photos, colors, music.

Remember, as we’ve gone over in class: the thesis speaks to the paper as a whole. The topic sentence aids the thesis. Argument and evidence support the topic sentences.

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