The Assignment: You are to write a 8-10 page analysis of the persuasion used in a political, advertising, or social campaign, or a religious, social or cult movement. You may also choose to study a specific persuader from a religious, social or political group.

Goal: The goal is to apply the theories and issues discussed in presentations and the textbook to a campaign or social movement you select to study. You should develop a research question (something you wish to find out from your study) and through research and analysis answer the research question.

Step 1: Choose a political, religious or social campaign, cult, social movement, public information campaign, advertising campaign that will become the focus of your research paper. Certainly the study of a personality and their persuasion would also be appropriate.

Example of social movements would include: New Age movement, Men’s movement (Promise Keepers), Woman’s movement, reform or revolutionary movements such as the Black Panthers, KKK, Nazi, and democracy movements. Examples of public information campaigns would include: MADD, SADD, Anti-abortion, Pro-choice, and Red Cross. Example of professional movements include: Green-Peace, Sierra Club, and Association for the Advancement of Retired People. Possible cults would include Hare Krishna, Scientology, and Children of God (Lists are not exhaustive).

Consider the following questions to help you choose a persuasive campaign to analyze:

  1. Can you get your hands on original advertisements, brochures, press releases, and public statements released by the campaign headquarters?
  2. Is this an organization you are interested in learning more about?
  3. Does the organization have a clearly identified opposition?
  4. Does the campaign employ novel or exemplary persuasive techniques?
  5. Is the movement represented by one clearly identifiable source/spokesperson or several spokespersons?

Your topic must be approved by your instructor by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 4. Be sure to check back and review your instructor’s comments/feedback before proceeding on to the assignment.

Step 2: Your analysis: Your paper should be organizaed according to an introduction, body and conclusion. The development of each part is recommended below.  When writing you should always adapt your paper to your purpose.  As a result not all information requested here will be addressed.  Chose the elements that best helps you achieve your goal.  Everything should revolve around the research question and the answer you are developing. No more than 30% of your paper should be direct quotes from other references.  I am interested in your analysis as you apply what you have learned in this class.




Identify the specific organization you will analyze. Justify the selection and study of your campaign or movement or personality. Provide background information on your campaign’s organization, goals, and objectives. You might identify the opposition to the goals of the campaign or organization you have selected. You might reflect on how the history and the characteristics of the organization influence the persuasive strategies used. Provide an attention getter, what the paper is designed to answer (research questions) and an overview of how the paper is structured.  Your proposition should be clear. You may make reference to the conclusions you reach but do not cover them in the introduction.


Body of the Paper:  Areas for your consideration may include any of the following areas.  Please do not try to cover all of these areas in this short paper.  Remember your research questions and develop a case that answers it.

  1. Deal with ethical issues you see in the campaign or movement.


  1. Deal with persuasion theories that may help to explain how your campaign, movement, or personality seems to be going about accomplishing their goal. Again, there is no need to cover all the theories. Choose a specific theory to explain what is happening and through depth of analysis draw your conclusionsl  Some of the theories that students have used include, ELM, Burke’s Dramatistic Pentad, Borman’s Fantasy Theme Analysis, Need Theory, Balance and Cognitive Dissonance Theory, etc. (Note: the list is not exhaustive).


  1. You might use one of the scientific methods of persuasion to explain what your group is doing. You might discuss how your organization uses symbols, words and nonverbal communication to accomplish their goals.


  1. You might want to take one element (ethos, pathos, logos) and explain how your group uses this persuasion ethically or unethically.


  1. You might want to discuss how the arguments used by your organization are used to persuade. Are they solid arguments? What types of reasoning are used? You could tear apart some of their arguments using the Toulmin approach to reasoning. Come to some conclusion as to how strong the argumentation is in their persuasive methods.


  1. You could discuss why your organization is successful or unsuccessful in reaching their goals. Do value systems cooperate or work against the reality presented in your campaign?


  1. You could go through the stages of campaigns discussed and show how your campaign has gone through the same states.


  1. You could show how media is used by your persuasive movement to accomplish their goals.


  1. You could analyze some of the artifacts you have found that have been used in your campaign or cult and come to some conclusions as to why they have been successful.


  1. Other area not mentioned here are certainly welcome. It is your paper.  But be clear as to your focus and method of answering your question.


Note: You are not expected to answer all questions from above. This is your paper and your analysis. You must narrow your paper down and cover the issues and analysis that will help you make a specific point about your group. You may choose to pull some outside references as well.  It is reasonable to assume that you will have about 15 references (bibliography) for your 10 page paper. (The bibliography, title page, abstract, are not included in the total page count).  Please use APA formatting.



In the conclusion of the paper, you must make sure the reader understands your major premise and how you reached it. It would be good to summarize and point to new directions of research that you would recommend.


MADD public information campaign