Traditional Criticism Checklist of Starting Questions


I.    Invention

        A.    Ethos:

                1.     Is the speaker intelligent?

                2.     Does the speaker reveal good character?

                3.     Is the speaker a person of good will?

                4.     Is the speaker telling the whole truth?

                5.     Is the speaker credible?

                6.     Does the speaker's reputation enhance the speech?

        B.    Pathos:

                1.     Does the speaker establish identification with the audience?

                2.     What types of appeal are used?

                3.     Are appeals specific and concrete?

                4.     Does the speaker stimulate attention and interest?

        C.  Logos:

                1.     Does the speaker proceed from assumption and hypotheses which are fair and reasonable?

                2.     Is the speaker's analysis of the subject complete and clear?

                3.     What types of argument are used?

                4.     Does the speaker's reasoning meet appropriate tests of validity?

                5.     Are the supporting materials sufficient?

                6.     Are data sufficiently documented?

                7.     Does the speaker substitute emotional appeals for evidence and argument?

II.   Arrangement

        A.    Is the thesis or central idea clear?

        B.    Is the subject partitioned according to a clearly definable pattern?

        C.    Are materials coordinated and subordinated correctly?

        D.    Are the division and subdivisions of the subject complete and clear?

        E.     Are there clear transitions that develop relationships among ideas?

III.  Style

        A.    Is the language clear?

        B.    Is the language appropriate to the speaker, audience and occasion?

        C.    Is the language vivid?

        D.    Is the language direct?

        E.     Is the language forceful?

IV. Delivery

        A.    Psychological elements:

                1.     Is the speaker alert to what is said?

                2.     Is the speaker responsive to the audience?

                3.     Is there directness of communication?

        B.    Vocal elements:

                1.     Is the speaker employing appropriate levels of pitch and volume?

                2.     Is the speaker's rate of delivery appropriate?

                3.     Is the speaker's pronunciation correct?

                4.     Is the speaker's articulation clear?

                5.     Is the speaker's voice expressive?

        C.    Visual elements:

                1.     Is the speaker's facial expression appropriate?

                2.     Is the speaker's physical behavior appropriate?

                3.     Are notes used effectively?

                4.     Are visual aids used effectively?

(Optional in the method) V.  Memory

        A.    Does the speaker appear to be at ease with materials?

        B.    Does the speaker appear to know the subject matter?


Adapted from William E. Lewis and Ron R. Tabor. Guidelines: Rhetorical Criticism. Norwalk, CA: Cerritos College, 1966, pp. 3-5.