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iEngage Civics Institute: Persuade

Types of Persuasive Appeal

Appealing to logic: Logos

  • This type of appeal uses reasoning to persuade an audience. Speakers or writers who use logical appeals use sources to provide evidence to support their arguments. 

Appealing to emotion: Pathos

  • Most PSAs use appealing to emotions as their persuasive technique. There are many types of emotions you might use to persuade your audience. Some of them may use darker emotions like sadness, anger, and fear, but some of them use lighter emotions like happiness, desire, or pride.

Appeal by good character; establish personal credibility: Ethos

  • We have used some techniques to understand more about credibility. Credibility is established by providing expertise in an accurate and nonmanipulative way. Using research to cite credible sources is one of the best ways to persuade your audience. You want your audience to believe that you and your message are trustworthy.

Source: "Persuasive Appeals" in Public Speaking by Dr. Layne Goodman and Amber Green, M.A.

Media Communication Techniques

Some of the elements creators use to communicate their message include the following:

Verbal or Written communication

What is actually said by the characters in the video, or what text is displayed on the screen? What is stated in voiceovers?

Nonverbal communication

What do the nonverbal actions, gestures, body language, facial expressions, etc. of the characters communicate? Does this help or hinder the message of the video? 


How does the background or setting behind the characters help or hinder the message? Do you think the setting is appropriate for the message?


What images are used to communicate the message (such as photographs, illustrations, graphs or statistical information)? Do these images help or hinder the message?

Audio and Sounds

Besides the words that the characters are saying, what else can you hear (sound effects, music, etc.)? How does the additional audio help or hinder the message?

PSA Persuasion Activity

Learn and Reflect

Pick one or two of these PSA Videos to watch (links go to youtube):

Then answer these questions:

  1. What was the message of the video? Was the message clear?
  2. Who created the video? Why? (use lateral reading to learn more about the people or organizations who created these PSAs)
  3. What techniques were used to attract my attention?
  4. What persuasive techniques were used to win me over?

  5. What values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented in, or left out of this message?


  1. What "attention getting" techniques can you apply in your own PSA?
  2. Which "attention getting" techniques do you think will be the most effective in your own PSA?
  3. What persuasive techniques do you think will be the most effective in your own PSA?

  4. Which media communications elements could I include that will help my message the most?