Appendix 20: Text Analysis Essay

With writing, as with most things, we can learn a great deal from example. Students at all levels tend to feel more confident when they are able to see examples of the types of writing they are being asked to do. In primary or secondary school, many of us probably learned what was considered a "good" book report when the teacher read an "A" paper aloud to the class. Most CO150 students would say that they understand their instructors' expectations for assignments much more clearly when they are able to see sample student essays in response to those assignments. And any graduate student faced with the task of writing a masters thesis or doctoral dissertation will head directly to the library early in the game to look at the work of former graduate students in the same discipline.

This examination of sample writing doesn't stop at the university level, either. It extends into the workplace as well, where we are asked to write business letters, contracts, brochures, grant proposals, reports, case studies, and a variety of other job-related texts. All of these types of writing, like academic assignments, demand adherence to certain conventions or expectations. They ask us to make use of particular terminology and jargon, and they often ask us to present our information and ourselves as authors in very prescribed ways.

Purpose and Goals of the Assignment: This Text Analysis assignment is an opportunity for you to learn more about writing in your intended or prospective major by not only reading texts in that discipline, but also analyzing them. The goals of the assignment are as follows:

to understand that the choices authors make in writing are intentional and governed by particular conventions, not arbitrary

Audience: Your instructor as part of an academic audience outside your discipline.

Texts: You will find two sample texts on your own in the library, determining which journals are valued or authoritative in your discipline and choosing two representative articles from them.


In class: We will practice analyzing various types of texts (non-academic texts and texts from various academic disciplines), using the same tool (an extensive set of questions that will direct your analysis).

On your own:


Grading Criteria: Your essay will be graded...