Heuristic for The Infographic Project

The Heuristic for The Infographic Project is an exercise in Professional Writing, an undergraduate writing course.

An heuristic is an invention exercise, a thought exercise.

The heuristic below is a tool you can use to develop your infographic for The Infographic Project. The questions below to help you tell your story. This heuristic is helpful during prewriting, rewriting, and collaboration processes.

Key Words: Pitch; Rhetorical Context; Openness; Rhetorical Reasoning

[ Course Syllabus | Schedule | The Infographic Project ]

Assignment Guidelines

Rhetorical Analysis

Below are questions you can consider to help you identify a suitable story to tell via an infographic.


Exigency: An Exigency is “an imperfection marked by urgency; it is a defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, a thing which is other than it should be” (Bitzer 1968).

What is the exigency that drives the need for the infographic? What is the problem?


Who is the audience? Are there multiple audiences?

Why is the audience receiving this text? Is the audience enthusiastic, receptive, neutral, hostile? Are they more likely to agree, disagree or be indifferent to the information in the document? How will the biases and preconceptions influence readers’ reception of the infographic? Are they likely to be resistant to the situation in which the message is delivered or to the content of the message itself? 

Story (Purpose)

What is the story? Can you phrase your story as a question? What copy and data do you need to tell your story?


What tool(s) will you use to create the infographic, original graphic(s), chart, tables, or graphs? Why?

Resources for Creating Infographics

In your strategic search for exemplary infographics, did you notice how they were created? You can access loads of tools/apps on the internet for generating infographics. Many of these tools provide a free version for 30 days.

To choose a tool that will save you the most time, check out the templates that the toolsets provide. Finding a template that works for the story you want to tell can be a timesaver. Yet it’s also fine for you to begin from scratch–a blank Word, Google, Photoshop page.

If you have strong drawing skills, you may even hand draw the infographic as opposed to using an online infographic tool. However, quick sketches are not recommended.

Evidence + Dataset

What datasets will be used?  What primary, empirical research and textual research needs to be conducted? What are some good sources for datasets on information related to my topic?

Where to Find Data Sets?

The internet provides extraordinary access to open-access data sources. You can find all you need at the Milne Library at SUNY Geneseo.

If you’re looking specifically for data related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, check out the following data repositories:

Covid Dashboard
Our World in Data (includes open source data visualizations and links to data sources on corona virus and hundreds of other topics)
State and federal agency websites are also good sources of information: 
Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Secondary Data and Statistics page provides links to key data hubs and dashboards
Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Websites page includes links to many key websites


What elements of visual design do you imagine employing? Given your rhetorical situation, especially with regards to the idiosyncrasies of your audience, what Data Visualizations can you imagine?


What organizational schemas did you use to tell your story?

Organizational Schemas

Consider common ways for organizing infographics:

  • Chronological
  • Alphabetical
  • Geographical
  • Categorical
  • Hierarchical

See Infographics for an overview review of organizational schemas for infographics.


Use APA Style, MLA Style, or whatever style sheet is appropriate to your audience. Provide the bibliographical information for the datasets.

Note: Provide this information as discreetly as possible on your final infographic. You may may put it in the fine print at the footer of the infographic. Note though you need to follow an established style so users can find the studies and research you reference.

Work Cited

Bitzer, Lloyd F. “The Rhetorical Situation.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 1.1 (1968): 1-14. Web. JSTOR. 16 September 2015.