Rhetorical Context and Structure

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize rhetorical context in relation to structure

Just like revising for content, revising for structure requires you to think about purpose and audience. A lab report for a chemistry class has a very different structure than a literary analysis for a literature class, for example, but many decisions that you’ll make about organization will be a little more subtle. If you are writing a paper about physics for a physics professor who has his or her Ph.D., chances are you won’t need to begin your paper with a lot of background. However, you probably would want to include background information in the beginning of your paper if you were writing for a fellow student in an introductory physics class. Consider these rhetorical situations and their corresponding structures:

Writing an email to your professor asking for an appointment

  1. Introduce yourself and identify the class you are in
  2. Explain the purpose of the appointment and suggest a few times you are available
  3. Thank the professor for considering your request

Filling out a Student of Concern form

  1. Explain your concern
  2. List events that have led to your concern

Composing an “About Me” page for a professional blog

  1. Explain why you’re creating this blog
  2. Describe professional qualifications (education, experience)
  3. Describe personal interests



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