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ENGL 1301 SO McGilbrey: Unit 1 - Rhetorical Analysis

This guide has been designed to assist you in the research for your ENGL 1301 assignments.

Rhetorical Analysis

Visual Argument

Visual arguments are powerful tools of persuasion that appear in a myriad of forms in our media culture

  • To become critically literate and informed, we learn and practice the skills of reading visual arguments critically
  • Just as we would not accept an opinion as true just because we found it in print, so too, we should not simply accept visual arguments.
  • Evaluate them by examining their claims, weighing the evidence offered in support of those claims, and by exploring the unstated claims (premises), assumptions the arguer makes about the target audience and their particular belief systems.


  1. Always evaluate visual evidence critically.
  2. Analyze the visual argument carefully, and ask yourself if the evidence is both accurate and adequate.
  3. Visual information can be distorted or manipulated just as words can.
  4. Make sure the visual evidence is fair, precise, and credible before using it as a basis for argumentation.
  5. There are strategies of visual rhetoric that you can employ in academic, professional, and civic settings.
  6. Visual literacy is essential to becoming a savvy consumer, and cultural critic.
  7. Various camera techniques, including distance from subject, orientation to image, eye gaze, and point of view influence the effects the image will have upon the viewer.
  8. The settings, furnishings, and props in an image carry significant social meanings, and often create stories that carry both obvious and subtle messages.
  9. Advertisers target specific audiences and then use a variety of strategies, many of them, visual, to move the hearts and minds of their target audience.

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