Students and parents use the application to apply for federal student aid; volunteers and others use the manual to help them maintain a trail system; lab workers and visitors use the handbook to maintain safety in Penn State laboratories. These documents are representative of technical communication.

Note: You may also choose your own example of technical communication to analyze for this project. However, be sure to obtain your instructor’s approval for the document you choose before beginning your planning work.

Step 2:
Evaluate your chosen document for usability. This will involve reading the document carefully, paying attention to the features that enable use. (In other words, how did the author structure the document so that readers could access and use the information effectively and efficiently?) Follow the specific points of analysis below.

Step 3:
Write a memo to your instructor that organizes your rhetorical analysis in both a logical and convincing way. (Your instructor is your audience.) Follow the memo format described in Chapter 14 of Technical Communication. Here are additional guidelines:

Be concrete in your analysis. That is, use examples from the document as you make your key points.
Be sure to analyze and not just describe the document. This will require you to evaluate—and pass judgment on—both content and design.
Be sure your analysis is well organized. Use headings and focused paragraphs to scaffold your analysis.