If a Reader Wants to Evaluate a Text

If a Reader Wants to Evaluate a Text

Text evaluation and analysis normally start with the core elements of that text: main idea, purpose, and audience.  An author needs to consider all three of these elements before writing, as they help determine the writer’s content and language.  As a reader, it’due south important to ascertain these aspects of a text which exist as a foundation for the author’south content and linguistic communication.

Chief Idea

E’er start with the main idea.  Chief ideas may exist stated directly in the text or implied; you need to read a text carefully in order to determine the primary thought. Put the main thought into your own words, so that it’southward expressed in a way that makes sense to you.  And then ask and answer the following basic questions nigh that main idea:

  • Is the main idea reasonable/believable to most readers?
  • Is the primary idea clear and if non, why do you think the author embedded it?
  • Is the main idea the author’s opinion, or is it something that the writer asserts about an issue?

Asking and answering these questions should help you get a sense of the writer’s intention in the text, and lead into because the author’southward purpose.


Chief thought and purpose are intricately linked. There are a few basic purposes for texts; figuring out the basic purpose leads to more nuanced text analysis based on its purpose. Bones purposes of a text include:

  • to inform – to draw, explain, or teach something to your audition
  • to persuade/contend – to get your audience to do something, to take a detail activeness, or to think in a certain way
  • to entertain – to provide your audition with insight into a dissimilar reality, lark, and/or enjoyment
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The following video more than fully explains these unlike purposes of a text, and adds a 4th, to share insights or feelings.

Main Idea & Purpose Decide Analysis

The author’southward primary idea and purpose in writing a text decide whether you demand to analyze and evaluate the text.  They also determine the pieces of the text you should clarify—content or language or both.

If the purpose is to persuade or contend



need to analyze the text to see if the main thought is justified.  Do the supporting ideas relate to and develop the main idea? Is the supporting prove taken from recognized, valid sources?  Is the author arguing via language instead of evidence or facts?  Persuasion and argument need to present logically valid information to make the reader concord intellectually (not emotionally) with the chief idea.

If the purpose is to inform

You lot


need to clarify the text, since the text needs to present valid information in as objective a style as possible, in order to meet its purpose of explaining concepts so a reader understands.

If the purpose is to entertain


may or may not

need to clarify the text. Writing that entertains does not necessarily accept to be either logical or complete in club to accomplish its purpose. Yous may want to analyze the text for language, though, to see how the writer manipulates linguistic communication to accomplish their purpose.


Who are the author’s intended readers?  Figuring out this will aid you lot empathise an author’southward approach to providing the primary idea with a detail purpose. Does the audience know little or nothing about the topic, or are they already knowledgeable?  Is the audience’s knowledge at beginner or adept level, somewhere in between, or mixed? Does the audience include people who may be skeptical of the author’s ideas?  Does the audience include people who outright oppose the author’southward ideas? As you can see, asking and answering questions about audience can assistance an author determine the type and amount of content to include in a text. As a reader, it’s important to figure out the author’s intended audience, to help you analyze the type, amount, and appropriateness of the text’due south data.

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The following video presents the concept of audience from a writer’southward perspective, only the concepts are applicative to you equally a reader who needs to consider audition equally a foundation for evaluating a text.

You lot may also want to link to i of Purdue’s Online Writing Lab’due south page on Author and Audition to get a sense of the wide array of variables that can influence an author’s purpose, and that an author may consider near an audience.

try it

Read the article “Forget Shorter Showers” by Derrick Jensen.

Note that nigh of the Try It exercises in this section of the text will be based on this article, so you should read carefully, annotate, take notes, and apply appropriate strategies for reading to sympathize a text.

Then answer the following questions about the commodity’s main thought, purpose, and audition.

Which selection all-time represents the writer’s main thought?

  1. We take information technology in our ability and right to have activeness to stop the industrial economic system over-using and wasting our natural resources.
  2. We are victims of a campaign of misdirection, being told and accepting that our personal use of natural resources is both the cause of scarcity and the solution to preservation.
  3. Because nosotros have accepted our identities as consumers, we reduce our forms of political existence to consuming and not consuming.
  4. Simple living is better for the planet than over-consumption.

Which selection all-time represents the author’s purpose?

  1. to inform readers most the bodily use of resources past individuals vs. the industrial economy
  2. to persuade readers to consider taking activity against an unjust situation that assigns blame to individuals instead of big business organization in regard to the depletion of natural resource
  3. to persuade readers to re-call up their personal attempts to live more just and more “green”
  4. to entertain readers interested in nature with accusations against the industrial economy

Selection two all-time represents the author’s purpose. The author’s purpose is to get readers thinking near conservation of resource in order to spur them to activeness confronting a arrangement that, in his opinion, exploits those resources equally well every bit individuals. His purpose is both to inform and persuade, merely persuasion seems to take precedence, equally he both starts and ends with a reminder most historically justified instances of activism.

Who comprises the author’due south audience and what cues can you utilise to decide that audience?

If a Reader Wants to Evaluate a Text

Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-esc-introtocollegereadingandwriting/chapter/analyzing-the-main-idea/