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Exercise on Analysis

When you have found writing sources or examples in your discipline, you want to analyze those sources first.

When analyzing, you want to consider the following for each source you find in your discipline: What is the purpose? To whom is it directed? What genre of writing is it and why is it appropriate for the situation? What are the conventions of the genre that help to identify it and analyze the specific piece of writing? What other elements of the piece of writing can be identified and analyzed to understand more about what the writer is trying to do? Start with the end – what do you think the writer intended for the reader to walk away thinking or knowing from this piece of writing?

Practicing this type of analysis helps make sense of a piece of writing and the rhetorical situation in which is it operating. Developing the ability to analyze writing concepts, that is to understand the purpose, audience, message, genre, context, discourse used and discourse community, and more about a piece of writing, helps us understand writing and learn how to develop our own writing more effectively.

Write a brief analysis of around 300 words. Your analysis might include the following for each sample:

Describe the intended audience, the genre, and the purpose.

What are the characteristics of the audience overall – think about age, professions, education, and other factors you might assume from the samples being analyzed

How should the audience use the information? What action should be taken or what is the audience asked to think about?

What is its role in the larger discipline, potentially?

What are the needs, values, or beliefs of the audience that the writer is working toward here? How is the writer appealing to the audience?

Are any audiences excluded by the way the piece is written?

How is information presented, formatted, arranged, and is it appropriate to the genre?

What messages are intended, and are they clearly conveyed?

Is there anything notable about the discourse used?

What are the overall impressions of how each sample fits into the discipline or major? Is it surprising, or typical/expected of the major?

How does each sample represent the major or discipline overall?

Include any other analysis you want to share

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