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ED 216: Purpose of Education in a Democracy (Ecampus)


This research project asks you to take a stand and find a solution to a real problem. Since you're dealing with real issues, it's worth considering how a real audience would react to your argument.

The rhetorical triangle is a model that focuses on three areas shared by many strong arguments.

Logos: The facts and the logic. Which information are you presenting to support your claims? How are you structuring your sources so the ideas build on one another in a way that makes sense?

  • Does your introduction have a strong thesis statement? What is the problem and how will your solution address it?
  • Explaining your sources gives you the opportunity to show your audience why they're so important. Build on your quotes and statistics with analysis to guide your audience to your conclusions.

Ethos: Your credibility and the credibility of your sources. Is your audience able to tell the difference between your sources and your reflection/analysis? Is your research formatted in a way that suggests you're trustworthy and have put deep, serious thought into the topic?

  • Mentioning possible objections to your solution gives you a chance to address them ahead of time. It demonstrates that you can be fair and reasonable.
  • Using a variety of sources demonstrates you're doing the work of synthesizing different viewpoints. It demonstrates that you have considered alternate possibilities, but the one you're arguing is still worth pursuing.

Pathos: The effect your presentation has on your audience's emotions. Is your topic relevant to their lives or how they believe education in America should be?

  • Passion is good, but avoid insults, misrepresenting ideas contrary to your own, or assuming too much about your audience's values.
  • Remember, education changes lives!

A triangle containing three words: ethos, logos, pathos

This visualization of the rhetorical triangle was designed by Chloe Gui and released under CC-BY-SA.