Textual Analysis Exercise

Assessment Paper
Book Review
Collaborative Presentations
Daily Plans
Technology Access
Textual Analysis
Web page Assignment
Web Evaluations
Writing in the Matrix

We’ll begin a discussion of textual analysis by reading the introduction to Textual Dynamics of the Professions by Bazerman and Paradis.  Next, in groups of 6 participants, we’ll do a textual analysis exercise.

Collaboratively, each group will complete the questions for one of the readings.  Within your groups you might assign duties as discussion leader, scribe, presenter, editor, etc.  Post your responses to the class list and then deliver the group’s findings as an informal oral report for the seminar group. (Please limit each of your reports to 5 minutes)


Rhetorical context

  1. Who is the writer?

  2. What is her/his role or position?

  3. Who is the intended audience?

  4. What prompted this person to write?

  5. To what discourse community does this text belong?

Textual features

  1. What issue is being addressed?

  2. What is the writer’s position on the issue?

  3. What is the writer’s claim or hypothesis?

  4. Discuss the qualifications/credibility of the claim.

  5. What evidence/data is provided to support the claim?

  6. Is the evidence/data sound?  Discuss.


  1. How does this text relate to other texts in your discipline?

  2. How might another writer use this text?

  3. How might you use either textual analysis or the ideas in this text in designing curriculum for Freshman Composition?


  • “Social context and socially constructed texts:  The initiation of a graduate student into a writing research community” by Berkenkotter, Huckin, and Ackerman
  • “Understanding failures in organizational discourse:  The accident at three mile island and the shuttle Challenger disaster” by Herndl, Fennell, and Miller
  • “A Psychiatrist using DSM-III:  The influence of a charter document in psychiatry” by McCarthy
  • “Basic Writing as Cultural Conflict” by Fox
  • “Multicultural Classrooms, Monocultural Teachers” by Dean
  • “Resisting Assimilation:  Academic discourse in the writing classroom” by Pari
  • “Shaping Technologies:  The complexity of electronic collaborative interaction” by Burnett, Clark, Honeycutt and Ferarro


Web site created by Dave M. Schleigh.  1998. [dschle1@gl.umbc.edu]