A Checklist for Analyzing a Text

Ask yourself if you have considered all of the following matters:

  • Who is the author?
  • Is the piece aimed at a particular audience? A neutral audience? A sympathetic audience? A hostile audience?
  • What is the author’s thesis (argument, main point, claim)?
  • What assumptions does the author make? Do I share them? If not, why not?
  • Does the author ever confuse facts with beliefs or opinions?
  • What rhetorical appeals does the author make?
  • How convincing is the evidence?
  • Are significant objections and counter-evidence adequately discussed?
  • How is the text organized, and is the organization effective? Are the title, the opening paragraphs, and the concluding paragraphs effective? In what ways?
  • If visual materials such as graph, pie charts, or pictures are used, how persuasive are they? What rhetorical appeal do they make?
  • What is the author’s tone? Is it appropriate?
  • To what extent has the author convinced me? Why?
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