< Portfolio 3: Audience and Context Comparative Analysis

Portfolio 3: Audience and Context Comparative Analysis

Overview: This assignment (which we will refer to as the context comparison) serves as prewriting for your arguing essays by providing an opportunity to analyze the audiences and contexts for your arguments. Understanding your two audiences is important since you need to know who your readers are before you can effectively convince them to consider your arguments. Examining your contexts is equally important because your argument will only be taken seriously or be considered for publication if it meets context expectations. Since you are examining two contexts, the assignment implies that you’ll need to think about how you would compare and contrast these writing situations, even though the format of this written analysis doesn’t require the formal use of the comparison/contrast mode of writing.

Purposes for this Analysis: To distinguish the audiences and contexts of two arguing essays.

Audience: You and your instructor.

Length of the Analysis: Your analysis should be roughly 750-1000 words (or 3-4 pages) in length.

Format of the Analysis: You need not think of this assignment as a paper. Your analysis will consist of three parts. You may use headings. You may also number your responses. You do NOT need to think of this as a comparison/contrast paper even though your thinking will compel you to consider the similarities and differences between two distinctive publications.

Part I - Purpose

  1. What will you argue? What is your position on this issue? How might your position need to be adapted or modified for the differing contexts?
  2. Will both of your arguments be intended to convince or will one or both be persuasive in purpose?
  3. What do you hope to accomplish with each argument? What might you reasonably hope to achieve with these audiences? (Note: your answer should be quite different for each publication. Also, be as specific here as possible.)
  4. What else might you hope to accomplish by entering this discussion/conversation in the context of these two publications (make a name for yourself, challenge authority, etc.)
  5. Write the main tentative claim for each of your arguments.

Part II - Context Analysis

  1. Where will your readers encounter your first argument? Please name the specific person, journal, magazine, or organization that you will write to for Argument 1. In general how does this publication compare and contrast with your assigned audience for the second arguing essay, the Editorial page of the New York Times?
  2. Describe your contexts for writing. In order to sufficiently complete this section, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the publication context you've chosen and reacquaint yourself with the New York Times Editorial page. Research and read two or three existing copies of your selected publication to learn what the expectations and requirements are. Please also continue to read the Editorial page of the Times. When you are ready, use the following questions to guide the development of your comparison, and develop your response to at least a few paragraphs to provide sufficient detail for my understanding.

·       What is each publication’s general purpose?

·       Who are the target readers of each?

·       What type of content is most suitable for each publication? What kinds of topics and issues are typically addressed within them?

·       What is the appropriate length of a text written for these publications?

·       What do typical pieces of writing for these publications look like? (Describe fully.)

·       How would you describe the tone, style, and register (level of formality in word choice, use of jargon, etc.) used by writers whose work appear in these publications?

·       What patterns can you note? (i.e. Do all articles or columns begin the same way? Are most arguments well supported? Are they highly opinionated?)

·       Are there specific requirements of which you should be aware, such as guidelines for citing sources?

  1. What are the two or three most important things you'll need to keep in mind about the expectations and requirements of these publications when you're writing your argument?
  2. What are the most important differences between the two contexts you’ll be writing for?

Part III - Audience Analysis

  1. Who will your target audiences be? Define them specifically in terms of age, economic status, social class, gender, education, and so forth.
  2. Why did you choose the first audience? How is it distinguishable from the audience for the New York Times Editorial page?
  3. What can your readers in each publication already be expected to know about your issue? What will they want or need to know? What are their typical attitudes or viewpoints toward your issue? How are their views similar to your own? How do they differ? How are the views of readers of the two publications similar and different from each other?
  4. What social and cultural factors might account for the similarities and differences in the readers of these two publications? How might your own social and cultural background account for the difference in your perspective from either or both of these publications?