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How might the rhetorical strategies of ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos play a mediational, intervening role in the successful administration of online surveys? What are the general costs and benefits of conducting survey research? Based on the activity of administering an online survey ( N= 334) testing knowledge and understanding of US copyright law among digital writers (both students and teachers) in US technical and professional writing (TPW) programs, I blend Rhetorical Theory with Activity Theory by conducting a rhetorical analysis within an Activity Theory paradigm. I posit that a rhetorically informed heuristic mediates between the researcher and potential participants when the researcher attempts to recruit individuals to respond to an online survey.