Listicle with Self-analysis


plural noun: listicles
  1. an article on the Internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list.

Overview: Your task is to write a researched “listicle”–an argument crafted in list form for an internet audience–and to complete a self-analysis of your argument.

Specifics: In groups of 2-3, collaborate in google docs to compose a multi-point listicle of roughly 1000 words (about 4 double-spaced pages–this one, for ex., is 1550 words) in which you use some of the rhetorical strategies we’ve covered so far to convince your peers in this class that they should do or believe something—buy a particular bike, vote for a particular candidate, agree that studying abroad is worth it, support or not support an effort to appeal open carry, etc. Include at least three images or animated GIFs (audio and video clips won’t work in google docs), and cite at least a few credible and linkable (online) sources in the introduction + at least one more per sub-head and link directly to it. (By “credible,” I mean what your peers in this class might reasonably find credible.) Then complete a one-ish page self-analysis identifying the main rhetorical principles you use in your piece. Your immediate audience is your peers in this class, but your aim is not only to convince them but also to be so clever and entertaining (or insightful) that they’ll want to share your listicle on social media (and so to spread your message to a much larger audience).

Elements of the Listicle

  • The introduction should effectively introduce your audience to the issue and to your claim, and it should be researched with links to credible online sources. Length of introduction: about 200-300 words (about a double-spaced page or page and a half)
  • The body (the list) should include 6-10 sub-heads with one to two paragraphs under each and images or animated GIFs leading at least a few of them. The text beneath each sub-head must also be researched, with direct links to the sources.
  • The conclusion. End with either a brief conclusion that pulls it all together or a final sub-head that gives the ending a “POW!” effect all on its own.

The Steps:

  • Start a google doc and share it with your group. Google docs will make collaboration easy. One group member should start a google doc and share it with the other group members–be sure and select the “can edit” option when sharing with your group.
  • Determine your Claim. Your group will need to decide not only on a topic but on a specific claim to argue (not simply “running,” IOW, but “running improves your health” or “running is better than biking” or “running has emotional benefits” etc.).
  • Map Out Sub-heads. Come up with a list of reasons that prove that claim, give each a fairly specific and intriguing sub-heading (to reel the reader in), and put them all into a (usually numbered) list. For example, in “6 Ways Running Improves Your Health,” the subheads are: 1. Running makes you happier, 2. Running helps you get fit, 3. Running strengthens your knees, 4. Running will keep you sharper even as you age, 5. Running can reduce your risk of cancer, 6. Running adds years to your life. Each sub-head should pique the audience’s curiosity about how running makes one happier, for example, or reduces the risk for cancer.
  • Find images. Find rhetorically appropriate images or animated GIF to go with at least three of your sub-heads. If your issue is very serious—say, about what Syrian refugees are facing—you obviously don’t want to select amusing animated GIFs. You’ll want to select images that fit your theme, tone, and style.
  • Write. Craft the text under each sub-head according to the rhetorical strategies we’ve studied in class. Do you want to argue this particular sub-head via analogy, similarity, difference (the first sub-head in this listicle is argued by difference, as is the fifth–greater/lesser). Or maybe by cause-effect? expert testimony? testimonials? Do you want to argue from the stasis of conjecture? value? policy? Would a rhetorical figure or scheme help to emphasize a point? This author, for ex, says “To say that Hillary Clinton is qualified is like saying that baconized grilled cheese is delicious.” Name that figure! (Analogy) The rest of the subhead is an argument by enumeration. What sort of pathetic appeals might be appropriate? And so on.

The Self-Analysis. Once you’ve crafted your listicle, write a one-ish page self-analysis in which you describe, in list form if you prefer:

  • your ethical appeals (what you do in the listicle to demonstrate your credibility)
  • your pathetic appeals (including what you’re doing to get and hold the reader’s attention),
  • the formal topics and/or stases you used in at least four of your subheads: identify and explain,
  • and at least two rhetorical figures and/or ideographs that help make your case

Paste your self-analysis below your listicle in your google doc.

Some pretty good listicle examples:

Image Resources:

  • is a great place for free animated GIFS
  • has tons of free static images
  • Twitter Curator allows you to embed an image of a tweet from a twitter feed, as this listicle did
  • or you could search for GIFs and other images by typing your subhead in a google search and adding GIF or jpg: “Running strengthens your knees GIF.”

For a C or above, each listicle will:

  • Be 1000-ish words long
  • Include a researched 200-300 word introduction with links to online sources
  • Include 6-10 sub-heads, each researched with links to online sources
  • Include images or animated GIFs below at least three sub-heads
  • Include a self-analysis with all requisite elements
  • Be written effectively and coherently, with very few grammatical errors
  • Have been peer reviewed in google docs at the appropriate time
  • Be submitted on time to me on google docs