Although written specifically for University of Baltimore students, this book may be adapted for use with any composition and research course focusing on business discourse. This text was developed by one section of the spring 2020 Composition and Research (WRIT 300) course for Merrick School of Business (MSB) students. It is designed to take business students beyond the standard requirements for the class.

In addition to exploring rhetorical analysis of discourse community genres, the students developed essays to guide future learners through the development of specific genres used in business-related discourse communities – those communities of individuals with common goals, values, and language, such as a project management discourse community.[1] The hard work and enduring patience of the spring 2020 students has culminated in this publication, “Been There, Done That: The Business Student’s Guide to Rhetorical Analysis & Discourse Communities.” The book includes guidance for future WRIT 300 MSB students a guide to success – from a college student’s point of view.

Rhetorical Analysis

When analyzing a piece of writing, the primary components to be examined are purpose, context or rhetorical situation, audience, ethical stance, and genre.

Rhetorical analysis is the process of examining a writer’s intention for developing a work, scrutinizing the target readership, category or type of writing, background or framework that informs the writing, and moral position the writer takes in the work.

This kind of analysis of business writing also examines how a written work informs. While writing, in general, appeals to either the readers’ emotions (pathos), their logic (logos), or their morals and values (ethos), in business writing, logical or moral appeals rule the day.


  1. For more reading on discourse communities, please refer to Swales 1988 article in World Englishes: