Indepth Analysis

Analysing in Detail

Check List for the Analysis of a Speech – B. Stanners

Name of Orator:

Title of Speech:

Occasion/Place Delivered:

Date Speech Delivered:

Brief Rhetorical Biography of the Speaker

·     Family influences (class, occupation, values, ideology)

·     Education and significance of oratory in life and career

The Rhetorical Situation for the Speech

  • The Exigence (pressing need or urgency – context)

·     What was the specific occasion or issue behind this speech?

·     What were the prevailing opinions or oppositional arguments on the issue?

  • The Audience (immediate and Secondary)

·     Were the audiences receptive to persuasion through argument?

·     What where the values, needs, biases, goals, fears, motives of the audience?

·     How has the speech been received by different audiences?

  • The Constraints (Social, political, cultural and ideological)

·     Where was the locus of power and who held control?

·     What were the situational or institutional constraints?

  • Description, Analysis and Evaluation of the Arguments

·     What was the speaker’s specific purpose?

·     What were the main claims advanced? (facts, definitions, policies, values)

·     What data were used as evidence for the arguments? (statistics, testimony, example)

·     What were the counterarguments and how were they refuted?

·     Does the speech have lasting value?

  • Organisation

·     Is the purpose made clear?

·     How does the structure of the argument contribute to persuasion?

·     How does the speaker manage purpose, evidence and ideas?

  • Style

·     How is language used to reflect and influence thought?

·     How do the situation and culture influence choice of language?

·     Did the language give life to the ideas and arguments (give examples and quotes)

·     What impact if any is made by the style of delivery?

  • Historical and Rhetorical Value

·     Why was the speech considered important?

·     Why does the speech remain important and valuable for the study of persuasion?

·     What can we learn about effective rhetoric from the examples of this speech?

·     Does the speech still provide understanding of events, ideas, issues, values, power?

B. Stanners Scaffold:

Name of Orator:
Title of Speech:
Occasion/Place Delivered:
Date Speech Delivered:

Biography of SpeakerGeneral biography and rhetorical details

Rhetorical Context or ExigencePrevailing events and issues impacting on the speech and the way it was given and received
Audience ResponsesDemographic details?- gender, age, culture, size, composition

– beliefs, values, perceptions?

– Motives, biases

Constraints– What political, social or institutional/ideological constraints existed?- What were the rhetorical ramifications of Earl Spencer’s challenge to protocol in dealing with the unique situation and audience breadth and diversity?

– What constraints are evident in terms of structure, content, rhetorical devices and language style?

Description, Analysis and Evaluation of the Argument

What was the speaker’s– Specific purpose- main claims and reasons

– use of data, evidence, testimony or examples

– Explicit and implicit values and ‘power’ assumptions voiced in the message?

– Methods for countering or refuting opposing arguments?

– Effectiveness in matching his arguments with his ‘universal audience’ and the values being publicly espoused

– Does the speech have lasting power?

– How has the speech been received?

Distinctive Voice?

Language Techniques– Use of personal pronouns- Evocative word choice

– Alliteration


Taken from Barbara Stanners Lecture

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