Revise, Redesign, Edit: Tailoring Documents for Audiences

The overarching goal of the Rhetorical Analysis Memo is to help students think about rhetoric and its role in critical thinking and communication.

More specifically, this exercise is designed to help students reflect on and better understand


In this assignment sequence, you will work individually to

  1. redesign, revise, edit, and proofread a document you have written for
    1. another class,
    2. your workplace, or
    3. another context.
  2. write a reflect memo about the revised text that analyzes how the changes in the rhetorical situation and efforts to employing a technical-writing style changed and how and what they wrote.

By the time you’ve completed this module, you’ll be able to

  • Analyze the audience, purpose, and context for an existing document
  • Apply technical editing skills to an existing document
  • Apply basic document design and text formatting
  • Report on your own learning progress following memo conventions


  • Choose an original 500-1000-word document you previously created for school, work or another context.
  • Revise, edit, and redesign the original document for a new audience.
  • Consider employing a new in a new medium and genre.
    • For example, turn an essay into an infographic, a powerpoint presentation, a brochure, a podcast.
  • Compose a project completion memo.


This project has four deliverables:

  1. A completed Rhetorical Analysis Memo. For this exercise, you do not have to compose lengthy responses to each question. It’s a note taking tool; don’t overthink/overdo. This will not be graded.
  2. A copy of your original document (PDF is fine). Make sure you don’t overwrite your original document.
  3. Your revised, redesigned, edited, and proofread document.
  4. A project completion memo. This brief memo (no more than three pages), written in a memo format, should


You will receive one holistic grade based on the four deliverables.

The revised document will be evaluated for these features:

  1. Effective use of a reader-centered approach, edited for precision and professional style, including
    • clear, informative titles, headings, and subheadings
    • clear, informative paragraphs
    • strong, effectively structured sentences 
    • tone, level of formality, word choice appropriate to target audience.
  2. Effective use of basic information design principles, including using
    • chunking, queuing, and filtering to help readers navigate
    • application of page grids and adequate white space
    • effective typography (including line length and line spacing) appropriate to audience and purpose
  3. Effective use of the technical writing formatting:
    • Text formatting
    • Lists and hyperlinks
    • Page layout
    • Headers and footers
    • Page numbers
    • Headings and subheadings (using Styles)
    • Visual elements: Images, shapes, tables and/or charts
  4. Effective revisions/edits.

The project completion memo will be evaluated for these features:

  • Presentation of complete, clear, concise, compelling information appropriate to audience, purpose, and setting
  • Effective use of a reader-centered approach, edited for precision and professional style.
  • Meets reader expectations for the memo genre.

Recommended Schedule

ScheduleAssignments & Suggested ActivitiesRecommended Readings
Week 2

(Week 1 was the Rhetorical Analysis Memo)
The focus during this second week of this three-week long project, following the Rhetorical Analysis Memo in week 1, is to revise, redesign and edit the original document.

Hopefully you can receive some quick feedback from your instructor and peers on your Rhetorical Analysis Memo. Critique is a fundamental aspect of professionalism, a major workforce competency.

To help contextualize your work on this project, the following texts may be worth a quick skim:

How Can You Become an Effective Communicator?

What Are the Benefits of Strong Communication Skills?

What is Communication?

Why Does Writing (or Public Speaking) Matter?

To inform their revision and editing, students should review stylistic principles such as (1) Brevity, Clutter, Concision, Simplicity; (2) Coherence, Flow, Unity; and (3) Substance

To adopt a you-centered business style, students may find it helpful to consult Point of View, Rhetorical Appeals and Rhetorical Stance (Persona, Tone, and Voice).

To help with technical-writing formatting, students may consult visual literacy, Information Design, Principles of Design, and
Week 3During the third week, it’s time to turn your attention to the Project Completion Memo.

In class your instructor may lead a discussion about revision, editing, and information design using volunteer’s drafts.

You may want to check out if your school has a Writing Center. Or, perhaps your friends and peers in class will give your documents a critical read.

To help frame your analysis of how you redesigned, revised, and editing the original document, you should revisit week 1’s readings on the rhetorical situation.

Plus, for insights on revision processes, skim
Composing Processes: a 21st Century Model

Composing Processes: The Simplified Model

To get a grip on the practicality of a reflection memo in a workplace setting, check out Metacognition & Self-Regulation and 21st Century Literacies: Cognitive, Intrapersonal, and Interpersonal Competencies.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Upload the memo to the course management system.

Additional Resources