Discourse Analysis Essay, Research Paper
The effect of the recorded word is colossal. It has altered the course of history forever. It triggered the start of the progressive era with the birth of mass religious belief. This was just the start of the power of the word. At this time, text directs our society; it is used to express a variety of ideas. There are two purposes that the majority of texts are used for today: to educate or to appeal. Due to the dissimilarities of these purposes, there is a lot of irregularity of the style of these texts. Throughout this essay, I will explore the dissimilarities of the IT expert text versus a typical amateur discourse. For this example a New York Times article will be the focus of which I will evaluate. The dissimilarities of these texts are dramatic; therefore they are of a great deal of worth for those who are a part of the workplace.
The decisive factor of all the characteristics of a piece of text is its purpose for its readers. Every text has a purpose. Texts such as the New York Times article, as well as periodicals, exist to amuse as well as educate. However, if the article’s appeal is low, it will be disliked regardless of the quality of its academic matter. Therefore the author must strive to excite as well as educate the reader. To achieve this, the author must use various styles, as well as assorted other literary practices such as formality to spice up the text. For each purpose of a text, there is a balance of literary styles which is most effective. For example, kids’ books must express ideas as simply as possible. To achieve the maximum effect, simple vocabulary, short paragraphs, as well as casual style are used. Likewise, each purpose has a literary style that is established for its maximum effectiveness.
The majority of the writing that we are familiar with falls under the category of “non-expert writing”. This is writing that is not meant for a specific audience, it is suitable for the average reader. Newspaper articles, many periodicals, and most books fall under this category. There is a certain style for this kind of document. Because this is an analytical paper, an article from the New York Times is used to represent the non-expert document. The audience of this article is relatively educated people who are reading for enjoyment, as well as to gain knowledge. The audience is reading for pleasure, so they are interested, but there is no reason to continue reading if it is no longer enjoyable. The purpose of the article is to convey the information that the reader is interested in reading in an enjoyable manner. This purpose determines the style and tone that the article is written with.
A thorough understanding of the accepted literary characteristics of IT texts and the difference between them and general purpose writing is crucial to the success of my IT career. In order to comprehend the correct way to use literary characteristics in IT, the intended purpose and audience must first be analyzed. Even after specifying the subject of writing to IT, the field must be further narrowed before an audience can be identified. This summer I will be launching a career into the field of IT consulting. Consulting is when a company hires external workers to do work or help do work. IT consulting specifically deals with computers systems that are used to solve business problems. The document I analyze during this assignment is a proposed project plan and schedule submitted by a consulting company for the client , which is the company that hired the consulting company to help. The intended audience of the document is corporate managers that are in charge of supervising the project that the consulting company is working on. In addition, the corporate employees who are working in conjunction with the consulting company on this project are another audience. Given that these managers are essentially bosses that the consulting company is reporting to, the emphasis of the document is placed on pleasing them. Since I am analyzing IT documents, the corporate managers are experienced in both the practical and technical elements of Information Systems and Technology. In addition to identifying who the audience is in terms of role and job title, any other information we can find out about the audience, such as demographics, can play a part in what kind of literary characteristics should be used in the document. From the fact that the members of the audience are either managing or working on a project with computers for a firm, we can conclude that they are educated. However, due to the diversity in the race, gender, and age of these kinds of employees, we can not come to any more conclusions about the demographic information of the audience. The purpose of IT consulting documents is to convey the requested information while convincing the corporate managers that the consulting company doing a good job. The importance of winning the confidence of the managers is to continue or renew the work the consulting company is doing for the company, thus bringing in additional revenue. Because of the huge amount of information conveyed from the consulting company to the corporation, a main goal is to convey the information as quickly, simply, and concisely as possible. Due to the fact that the information conveyed to the audience is crucial to the success of the project, we can deduce that the audience is an interested one. The purpose and audience of a document is crucial in understanding how and why different literary techniques are used to achieve maximum results.
The differences between the New York Times article and the IS consulting document can be broken down into several categories. The style and tone related differences in the articles are classified as language use differences. The discrepancy between the content and its level of detail is known as the concept difference. The bias, or lack thereof, of the author of the document is persuasiveness. The way in which the document is formatted is another difference between these two documents. These categories cover the major differences that occur. Each of these elements of these categories can be modified in order to place an emphasis the intended purpose. I will analyze these modifications and how they affect the purpose of the two sample documents I have chose.
The language use in the New York Times article is somewhat formal. The style is similar to that of a research paper. The wording and vocabulary is reasonably complex and is clearly catered to an educated audience. Although the vocabulary is complex, using words such as “adage” and “proclivity”, it is not specific to the field of psychology. This choice of unspecific vocabulary is logical so that the non-expert audience can understand the article. The document’s sentence structure is fairly complex, using very long complex and compound sentences almost exclusively. Passive voice is used for the entire document, thus giving it the tone of a research thesis. Additionally, the whole article is written in the third person. All of these characteristics point to a formal, research type document. However, the information, or concepts, that is conveyed during the document distinguishes it from an actual research document. The claims made are not substantiated in as much detail as an actual research document would have been. There are no facts or statistics brought up to support the conclusion that the author makes. The fact that the content of the document is not very scientific reveals that it is actually a newspaper article that is summarizing the results of a survey. The lack of scientific backing in this article is a result of the purpose. Since the main purpose of this article is to entertain instead of to educate, there is no reason that readers should be bored by proving statements made. This leads into the next point, the persuasiveness of the author. In this article, the author argues that setting material and superficial goals leads to poor “mental well being”. Since the purpose of this document is not to prove a conclusion, just to entertain and convey information to the reader, the author does not even have to define “mental well being” in this article. This is not to say that the author is not trying to convince the readers of something, it just means that the author does not have to argue in a scientific and logical manner. One very important quality of the document is that it is a continuous progression of ideas. The “discussion” of the topic by the author flows smoothly. In other words, the document could be read out loud and the listener would get as much out of the document as the reader. The format of this document is long sentences and short paragraphs. There are no lists, charts, illustrations, or other visual items to emphasize or organize points.
All of the literary characteristics expressed in the New York Times article serve a purpose in emphasizing the reason for writing the article. There is a reason that all of these characteristics are consistent with most other documents of the same type. The reason for the formal style that this is an informative article, thus the convincing tone is necessary to capture and hold the attention of the readers. The statistics and facts used to back up conclusions in an actual research documents are omitted so that the document does not become long-winded and tedious. In addition, the article flows as a continuous argument (as opposed to the outline format later discussed in IS documents) so that the reader can enjoy the writing and “dialogue” of the author. Since the readers are not “captive”, or required to read the document, they can stop reading the article at any point if it becomes dull. All of the literary characteristics used in this article support the purpose of conveying information while capturing the interest of the readers.
Overall, the IS document can be described as being very formal and professional. The thing that stands out the most in the IS document is its meticulous organization. The document is so well organized that it is closer to an outline than it is to a document in the traditional sense. The tone and style of the document is very formal, yet simple. The vocabulary and sentence structure is very simple, except for the vocabulary that is IS specific. Terms that appear complicated to non-experts, such as “data warehouse” and “GUI” (Graphical User Interface) are actually common, simple terms for experienced IS professionals. The sentence structure so simple that there are many sentence fragments to convey points more concisely. Parts of the document may seem confusing to non-experts, but it is very straightforward from the viewpoint of the IS professional. The entire document is written in the formal tone of third person. Since it is considered unprofessional and even sometimes illegal for consulting companies to have a biased opinion, the author is very careful to maintain an objective viewpoint. Nothing can be deduced about the author by reading the document because it is pure technical writing. Everything the author mentions is substantiated and justified in great detail. For example, the time estimate suggested for the project plan is broken down into thirty-eight subtasks, each of which with a detailed time estimate and justification. This project plan is so detailed that it is on the level of a research thesis that documents and proves the conclusions. However, unlike a research thesis, the IS document is in active voice. This gives the client more of an impression that the consulting company is doing a lot of valuable work. Despite the fact that the document is very detailed, it is also straight to the point, with no wasted words. Visual ways to organize and emphasize information, such as bold font, tables, bulleted lists, graphs, and charts are used extensively. This produces one of the major differences between the IS document and the New York Times article. The IS document does not have a continuous argument. It is not a document suitable for reading in the traditional sense. One can even go as far as to say it does not even have a writing style in the conventional sense. It simply provides information in a straightforward, organized method.
This style of writing, or presentation of information, in this document has many advantages and drawbacks. However, it is ideal for the purposes of a consulting company. The outline format of the document clearly and concisely organizes information so that it can be absorbed rapidly by the reader. In addition, it makes it easier to skim the document and pick up the main ideas. When referencing the document, it is easy to find the desired information quickly. The intended audience is IS managers, who value time as a great asset since they are so busy. Despite the fact that outline form documents are not as fun to read as documents which convey a continuous thought, managers are more than willing to trade off time for reading pleasure. Outline form simplifies a document by clearly breaking it into parts. In addition, figures such as tables eliminate any confusion that may arise by writing it out. For example, in the sample IS document, there is no question as to who’s responsible for what tasks when it is laid out in the “Subtasks, Roles, and Responsibilities” table .
There are many differences in the New York Times article and the American Management Systems IS document. Each document is very successful in achieving its purpose. The difference in literary characteristics complements the respective purposes and audiences very well. Overall, the New York Times article does a good job of informing readers in an entertaining way. Even though the IS document exists solely to convey information, it does a very good job of it. It is very important one to understand the differences in writing styles and their effect on the audience so that one’s writing will always be appropriate for the purpose and audience.