Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Social Reasoning Strategy Families > Appeal Building


Appeal building strategies are strategies for crafting messages that are more likely to have their intended effect on the audience, in particular, persuading or moving them in some way. Mastery of appeal-building strategies is necessary in order to recognize propaganda and understand the manipulative elements of advertisements. There are a variety of appeal-building strategies, extensively studied in rhetorical theory, involving appeals to emotion and to reason. Persuasion through pure reasoning is the primarily domain of argumentation in the conceptual mode, but everything that concerns the impact of an argument upon the audience (regardless of its logical validity) is a matter of appeal-building. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Table 9.

Skilled writers understand how to craft their text to make it more appealing to the intended audience, and strategies for doing so range the gamut, from selecting surface features such as the font to more abstract elements such as the choice of arguments likely to appeal to people from a particular background. While this skill gets relatively little focus in the Common Core State Standards separate from argumentation, it corresponds to a wide range of important types of reading and writing in the humanities and in political and commercial discourse.

Literature Note - Appeal Building

Development Table 9. Hypotheses about the Development of Appeal-Building Skills

Level
Interpretation
Expression
Deliberation
Achievement
Limitation
Achievement
Limitation
Achievement
Limitation
Preliminary
Appeal-1-I-A
Infers persuasive intent when not explicitly stated in simple oral or written contexts
Appeal-1-I-L
Is reliable only with oral or very short written texts and in familiar contexts; may be unable to explain why inference is drawn
Appeal-1-E-A
Generates or modifies appeals to make them more convincing in familiar social contexts
Appeal-1-E-L
Accurate judgment of appeal depends strongly on embedding in familiar social contexts.
Appeal-1-D-A
Can apply ranking strategies that differentiate appeals by their likely effectiveness for different audiences
Appeal-1-D-L
Has little or no ability to analyze explicitly why an appeal works
Foundational
Appeal-2-I-A
Identifies textual details that support inferences about persuasive intent and strategy
Appeal-2-I-L
May identify details that produce an effect but be unable to explain how or why they work
Appeal-2-E-A
Writes texts embodying various forms of audience-appropriate appeals, including appeals to emotion, authority, reason
Appeal--2-E-L
May have difficulty coordinating multiple appeals to carry out a persuasive plan
Appeal-2-D-A
Can apply simple analytical strategies that map out what a particular audience values or desires, and match appeals to the audience on that basis
Appeal-2-D-L
Is likely to make heavily stereotyped assumptions about audience in the absence of direct personal experience/interaction with that audience
Basic
Appeal-3-I-A
Analyzes how the parts of a text work together to maximize the text’s intended appeal
Appeal-3-I-L
May not have access to a metalinguistic framework with which to describe how a text builds appeals
Appeal-3-E-A
Writes an extended appeal that coordinates multiple appeals by focusing successively on different rhetorical goals and subgoals
Appeal-3-E-L
May have difficulty dealing with rhetorically complex situations such as a mixed audience with conflicting interests and values
Appeal-3-D-A
Can apply strategies based on considering alternate rhetorical plans and maximizing effectiveness with the intended audience
Appeal-3-D-L
May make simplistic assumptions about what will / will not convince an audience
Intermediate
Appeal--4-I-A
Analyzes how the appeals in a text will vary in their effects on different audiences
Appeal--4-I-L
May lack access to a sophisticated rhetorical metalanguage in which to couch an analysis
Appeal--4-E-A
Writes appeals intended to convince a mixed audience, where no single strategy is guaranteed to work
Appeal--4-E-L
May not be sensitive to ways in which disciplinary and genre expectations modify the effectiveness of an appeal
Appeal-4-D-A
Can use survey or focus group strategies to analyze how different audiences will react to an appeal
Appeal-4-D-L
May not be sensitive to different ways similar problems may be framed in different communities
Advanced
Appeal-5-I-A
Accurately identifies from the organization, content, style, and tone of a text what kind of target audience or discourse community it is intended to convince
Appeal-5-I-L
N/A
Appeal-5-E-A
Demonstrates control of genre and stylistic elements to produce targeted appeals for a variety of literate contexts
Appeal-5-E-L
N/A
Appeal-5-D-A
Can apply strategies that analyze a discourse to identify the interests and values of its participants
Appeal-5-D-L
N/A




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