Tag Archives: ethos

3050 Session Four: Planning for Usefulness and to Persuade

Today’s Agenda:

Project One memos.

One Card OverAchievers: Evan L. Joshua, Ali, Mohammad

We’ve Gone Plaid: Martin, Nate , Kelly , Evan C.

The U. N. Group: Ritwik, Abe, Kento, Branden

Brad’s Undergrads: Lauren, Peter Dolba, Gi Tae, Vandit

The Creative Ones: Brittany, Tayler, Nick, Jason

The Leftovers: Peter Dolnicek, Billal, Ronald, Philip

Writing for Usefulness and to Persuade

  • Identify the goals of your reader(s).
  • Determine and clearly show how your ideas or suggestions can help the reader(s) achieve their goals.
  • Use an appropriate superstructure for the writing task.
  • In your writing, focus on the ways your ideas or actions will help the reader(s).
    • Organization-related: specific, factual, based on organization’s motives
    • Values-related: human rights, ethics, societal norms
    • Achievement/Growth goals: recognition, advancement, satisfaction
  • Justify your claims by marshaling appropriate evidence and a solid line of reasoning.
  • Anticipate and address potential counterarguments that may arise.
  • Be credible.  Establish your ethos 
    • Mention your credentials and demonstrate your knowledge
    • Cite experts
    • Avoid oversimplifying
    • Stress goals and values of the reader(s) rather than your own
    • If writing for a specific organization/discourse community use the terms and structures routinely used by that group.
    • State your message confidently and with enthusiasm
    • Refer to an authority or expert with whom you have consulted or who trusted you with the task at hand. (Anderson, ch 4 & 5).

Practice Session:

With one or two partners, use the supplied Writing Guides to prepare a response to one of the three Case Studies at the end of chapters 3, 4, and 5 of Technical Communication. Outline or draft a single page memo in response to the case you chose.



  • Technical Communication ch. 24 (“Writing Reader-Centered Proposals”)
  • Project Two


  • Have a rough draft of Project One ready for class on Thursday
  • Project One Due by 11:59 pm Tuesday, 9/16/14:  Post to Wikipedia (or other knowledgebase) and provide a copy of the text with a link to the Wikipedia entry (see an example here). Provide “before” and “after” screenshots as linked files with your references on your team blog page.