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Website Analysis

Part I (This part helps prepare you to gather information, kind of like a prewriting exercise. This part is not turned in.)

First, review in your mind the rhetorical principles of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Then, surf the Internet and choose one site you feel is effective and one that you feel is ineffective.  (I use quotation marks because there is no such thing as a completely effective or ineffective website; these are just general impressions.)  You may even choose from the list of websites you analyzed previously when exploring technical information online.

It might be easier if you chose sites that were similar in topic and scope.  Also, try to choose websites that are either home pages or that are at a similar link level.  That way, you wouldn’t be comparing completely dissimilar things.

Now, compare and contrast the two sites, making notes on your observations.  You might choose to focus on some of the following areas or just a couple of them:

Ways each site addresses the rhetorical concerns of ethos, pathos, and logos
Color and its relationship to the sites purposes
Ways text and graphics complement (or don’t complement) each other
Overall document design (Refer to the textbook for ideas.)
Kinds of words used
Available links
Tone of the text
Sentence length
Jargon

Part II (This is the formal write up of the assignment that you should submit to a peer and turn into the Assignments Folder, after you’ve received feedback and made revisions.)

Now that you’ve analyzed, it’s time to write it up formally.  Instead of writing in essay form, though, like you did for the technical document analysis assignment, I’d like for you to write using technical writing conventions.  There are some similarities to an essay, though. THIS IS NOT AN ESSAY

Your analysis should be relatively brief (about one page).
Single-space your document, double-spacing in between sections or paragraphs.
Include headings.
Include a brief introduction and conclusion.
Use bullet statements to compare and contrast the sites.
Attach the sites you have analyzed. Or include the URLs in your paper.
Be sure to compare and contrast!  Many times, writers do only one.  Use comparison/contrast words such as “like,” “different from,” “similar to,” “in contrast,” “as opposed to,” etc.
NOTE:  Since I’m your audience, you know that I would be very happy for you to discuss rhetorical concerns.  This means that you can discuss

Audience
Persuasive elements
Ways the website authors are trying to convey a persona (or ethos) through the sites
Ways the website authors are trying to appeal to the Internet audience (Here, you might have to think briefly about characteristics of web users.)
Ways logical design or reasoning might have been used in the sites
You might choose to use a rhetorical element as the context for discussing website characteristics, such as color, organization, or word choice.

 

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