"In this study, I analyzed twenty-four statements of purpose (SPs) submitted to the Department of English and Technical Communication at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) by current and former students. My goal was to determine the applicants' shared understanding of the SP genre. I analyzed the SPs from three dimensions: rhetorical moves, rhetorical appeals (pisteis), and rhetorical style (elocutio).
To understand the rhetorical moves used by the applicants, I analyzed the content of their SPs according to the categories (moves) and codes (steps) validated in my pilot study. To understand the arguments used by the applicants, I analyzed the content of their SPs by using the basic Aristotelian framework of pisteis: logos, pathos, and ethos. I further developed subcodes -- or special topics of invention -- under each pistis. To understand the role of style in the SPs, I looked for a limited set of stylistic markers as I analyzed each SP sentence by sentence.
The results of my study showed that the applicants integrated narratives with almost every move and constructed different selves through those narratives. Ethos was more prevalent than logos and pathos in my sample of SPs. The applicants used personal pronouns and active voice heavily but contractions sparingly, and they created both long and short sentences and coherent and substantive paragraphs. The qualitative nature of my study prevented generalization to the overall SP genre, but similarity in the applicants' choices of rhetorical moves, appeals, and style revealed their shared understanding of this genre as social action"--Abstract, page iii.
Malone, Edward A.
Reardon, Daniel C.
English and Technical Communication
M.S. in Technical Communication
Missouri University of Science and Technology
xi, 226 pages
© 2020 Priyanka Ganguly, All rights reserved.
Thesis - Open Access
Electronic OCLC #
Ganguly, Priyanka, "Rhetorical analysis of statements of purpose (SPs) for admission to graduate school: A shared-understanding perspective of the SP genre" (2020). Masters Theses. 7944.