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Rhetorical Analysis of a Public Document

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Name: Melissa Ekas

Course: ENG -105

Date: 13 DEC 2017

Instructor: Bob Staples

Rhetorical Analysis

The Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) has established

a comprehensive website to help inform the public about Attention –Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The CDC’s webpage affords the reader many resources such as a downloadable ADHD fact sheet a symptoms checklist along with links such as the National Resource Center on ADHD. The webpage also gives the reader information on the types of ADHD that exists ie predominantly inattentive presentation, Predominately hyperactive presentation and combined presentation. Diagnosis of ADHD along with symptoms, treatment and where to get help if you suspect you or a loved one may be suffering from ADHD, are also very well covered in detail in the webpage the CDC has created. During this essay we will attempt to establish the use of the rhetorical tools such as ethos, pathos and logos in the CDC’s webpage. We will discuss whether or not through these tools the webpage has appealed to their target audience by establishing authority, emotion and logic.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website states in its heading “CDC 24//7: saving lives, protecting people”. In the CDC’s websites heading alone the Center for Disease Control is establishing it’s self as a source of valuable and pertinent information that has real character. The webpage goes on to site many resources such as the National Resource Center on ADHD website and uses information from the ADHD Molecular Genetics Networks report from the third international meeting of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder molecular genetics network. The use of the many different links and resources lends real creditability to the webpage. The CDC is giving proven facts based on information from many leading sources on ADHD and in doing so has put forth an unbiased fair minded webpage that has established an ethical appeal that shows ethos, which is one of the modes of persuasion. In the end the target audiences the CDC is reaching out to of parents and caregivers are most likely coming to the webpage emotionally ready to see information and the CDC has supplies it very well.


According to the Webster dictionary Pathos or the emotional appeal, means to persuade an audience by appealing to their emotions. As for the Pathos or emotional appeal the Center for Disease Control website takes in respect to the readers’ questions or concerns about ADHD it has done a terrific job. In the diagnosis section, managing symptoms, staying healthy and get help sections the CDC reaches out to parents and caregivers directly. The CDC knows that talking directly to parents whose children might be suffering from this disorder they are appealing to their core emotions. The CDC has also carefully placed the sharing concerns link right below the get help section knowing parents who might be concerned about their children are going to need further guidance after using their website if they believe the information provided by the CDC is leading g them to believe there child is suffering from ADHD. The last piece the CDC adds to help establish an emotional appeal and connect to parents is on the last page where it gives parents and caregivers the link to stay connected and receive email updates from the CDC. The result of all the information closes the loop for the parents and caregivers. The CDC has made the appeal to the readers emotions from page one where it points out its there to save lives 24/7 to the last page where it wants to keep parents informed through email updates.




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