Rhetorical Analysis of a Public Document ROUGH DRAFT

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Russell Jones


Professor Russell Tiedt

Rhetorical Analysis Essay

The Center for Disease Control’s facts page was very informative. The website introduced many new facts about ADHD that I was previously unaware of and shared statistics for some of the things I did know already. One of the major misconceptions is that ADHD is not a real disease but rather just a behavior issue that some kids face. ADHD is much more complicated than that and we owe it to our children and young adults that have ADHD to take it seriously and continue to do the research on this disease so that we can continue to improve on diagnosing those that have it as well as following through with individualized treatment programs to help them. The fact page broke down the following topics; Signs & Symptoms, Types, Causes of ADHD, Diagnosis, Treatments, Managing Symptoms, and Getting Help. In this essay I will be analyzing how well the CDC site used rhetorical tools to get its point across as well as which rhetorical appeals; ethos, pathos, and logos, are present and how they were used.

When providing facts to help introduce an idea as the CDC has with its ADHD fact sheet, it is always a good idea to let the audience know that the speaker is credible and providing accurate information. This rhetorical appeal is known as ethos and is defined as “an appeal to the credibility or character (Foye R., 2015)”. The statistics and little-known facts that were used by the CDC were great and informative. The fact page left me to want to do my own research to build upon what I had just learned. This appeal was used throughout the CDC fact sheet because so many examples of concrete facts were used to back up points. It is revealed that there are 3 different types of ADHD; Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and Combined Presentation (“Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)” 2017).

The next rhetorical appeal on display is known as Pathos. Pathos is defined as an appeal to emotions or the emotional disposition of the audience. The CDC fact page was able to appeal to the audience’s emotions by providing accurate information about common misconceptions that are often associated with ADHD. According to the fact sheet, current research does not support previous claims that ADHD was caused by eating too much sugar or even watching too much tv. The fact of the matter is that many things are at fault when dealing with ADHD which makes it extremely difficult to diagnose and treat. The CDC fact sheet did a great job of tying in examples that made ADHD more human rather than something that was often thought of as an excuse for a child to misbehave. After reading this fact sheet and doing some of my own research, I have found that there are many stereotypes revolving around ADHD and the CDC has done a nice job in helping dispel some of them by providing concise, factual evidence that shines a light on ADHD.

The last of the rhetorical appeal strategies is known as Logos. Logos is defined as “Aristotle’s logos means the author’s appeal to the audience’s logic, intellect, or reason (Demirdogen, 2010)”. The CDC fact page speaks directly to the audience’s intellect by providing solid statistical information that can help educate and dispel some of the stereotypes of ADHD. ADHD is much harder to diagnose and treat than people think, especially when a majority of people think that it is not really a disease at all. According to Faroane, “Current understanding of the causes and aetiology of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) considers the interaction of a network of biological, psychological, and social factors, with a strong genetic predisposition that may be differentially expressed (Faraone et al. 2015)”.

In conclusion, after doing a closed read on the CDC fact page on ADHD and identifying what rhetorical tools/appeals were used, I feel that the CDC has done a great job providing information for the average person that might not have much information about ADHD besides the stereotype’s that people talk about all the time. All three appeal types were present and used in a way they helped get the overall point of the fact page to an audience that can use it as a basis for further research. In this essay I analyzed how well the CDC site used rhetorical tools to get its point across as well as which rhetorical appeals; ethos, pathos, and logos, are present and how they were used.


Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 31 May 2017, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html.

Demirdogen, U. (2010). The roots of research in (political) persuasion: Ethos, pathos, logos and the Yale studies of persuasive communication. International Journal of Social Inquiry 3(1), 189-201.

Faraone, S. V., P. Asherson, T. Banaschewski, J. Biederman, J. K. Buitelaar, J. A. Ramos-Quiroga, L. A. Rohde, E. J. S. Sonuga-Barke, R. Tannock, and B. Franke. 2015. “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.” Nature Reviews Disease Primers 15020. doi:10.1038/nrdp.2015.20

Foye, R. (2015). Principles of Rhetoric. In Grand Canyon University (Ed.) Writing with Purpose. Available from http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/grand-canyon-university/2015/writing-with-purpose_ebook_1e.phpRussell, Abigail Emma, et al. “Educational Practitioners’ Beliefs and Conceptualization about the Cause of ADHD: A Qualitative Study.” Emotional & Behavioral Difficulties, vol. 21, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 101-118. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/13632752.2016.1139297.

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