Use the following set of questions to guide your rhetorical analysis.
Describe the journal's overall purpose (to inform, to entertain, to persuade, etc).
Is the overall purpose clear or muddled?
How did the journal actually affect you: did its purpose succeed?
How does the journal want to affect or change the reader?
Was the journal's actual purpose "hidden," or different from the stated purpose?
Who is the intended audience?
Are you part of the intended audience?
What assumptions do the editors make about the reader's knowledge or beliefs?
What context or point of view is the journal coming from?
III. Content Analysis (examine a specific article from the journal)
What question or problem does the author of the article address?
Who is the intended audience for the article?
What is the author's thesis?
What are the key moments or key passages in the text?
What assumptions (about the subject, culture, reader, etc.) does the author make?
Are there problems or contradictions in the essay?
What bothers or disturbs you about the essay?
Where do you agree or disagree?
IV. Organization and Evidence
What kinds of evidence does the author use (personal experience, descriptions, statistics, other authorities, analytical reasoning, or other)?
What evidence was most or least effective?
Where did the author rely on assertions rather than on evidence?
Overall, how do you feel about the quality of the author's evidence?
V. Language and Style
What is the author's tone (casual, humorous, ironic, angry, preachy, distant, academic, or other)?
Did the tone support or distract from the author's purpose or meaning?
Are sentences and vocabulary easy, average or difficult?
Did the sentences and vocabulary support or distract from the purpose or meaning?
Did recurring words or images relate to or support the purpose or meaning?
Remember that not all these questions will be relevant to any given essay or text, but one or two of them may suggest a direction or give a focus to your overall response. When one of these questions suggests a focus for your response to the essay, go back to the text to gather evidence to support your response.
What did you learn from a close examination of this publication?
What sort of "hidden" politics, values, or beliefs can be seen within this publication?
What is the intention of this publication?
What sort of writing does this journal publish?
What is your overall feeling about this publication? Why does it exist? In what situation might it be read?