Questioning Ideas:

Writers tend to change the style that they write in depending on their audience.  Fomulate a thesis statement on why or why not pineapple belongs on pizza for the following audiences:

-Systematic Literature Review


-Newspaper/Magazine Article

-Children’s Storybook

How does each differ?

Why is there a need to change how you write depending on your audience?

Reading like a reader:

Reading like a writer:


  1. “…three dimensional L2 proficiency model” (Ansarifar 58)

    1. Does providing a direct example right at the beginning weaken or strengthen the initial introduction?

  2. “…while he refers to accuracy as the ability to produce language” (Ansarifar 58)

    1. How does the immediate insertion of an opposing viewpoint help to make the writer seem more reliable?

  3. Top of page 59

    1. Is phrasal embedding a common term in everyday academic writing? Have you heard of it before?

  4. “As a consequence, more studies are needed to investigate the role of phrasal embedding in the development of academic writing complexity” (Ansarifar 59)

    1. From the little information given in the introduction, would you assume phrasal embedding makes a piece immediately more complex? 

    2. Is it necessary in order to build complexity?

  5. In reference to four criteria on page 59:

    1. What rhetorical strategies would be best used to describe the following criteria in an academic manner?

    2. In a conversational manner?

    3. In a manner that of a news story?

  6. “In their critical evaluation of T-unit measures, Biber et al. (2011) also challenged the assumption that T-unit-based measures and simple subordination could be used to trace the development of complexity in L2 writing across proficiency levels” (Ansarifar 59)

    1. In this description, do you view the terms “simple subordination” as they’re written in a condescending tone, or simply just stating facts to get the point across?

    2. Does the description discredit the initial assumption completely?

  1. In section 2.3 page 64, the author brings the differences of the studies used to light and then proceeds to explain how they rectified this difference in their results. 

  1. What is the effect of this? 

  2. How does it make the argument stronger?

  1. In paragraph 2 of the results and discussion section (page 64) the author describes why the findings of the study are odd.

  1. Why does this concession that the results don’t quite make sense strengthen the author’s paper and build rapport with the reader?

  1. In excerpt 1 and 2 on page 67 

  1. Why does the author bold some words rather than others?

  2. Does this have any significance?

  1. In the second to last paragraph of excerpt 2 on page 68, the author brings in another source that corroborates his findings.

  1. Why does it work for him to bring in another source this late?

  2. What effect does this have on the reliability of his argument? 

  1. The conclusion of this 14 page paper is only a page


  1. How does the author manage to fit all of the main ideas in this short of writing?

  2. What does this tell you about what is important in the paper?

“I don’t think you’ll be able to publish this in an academic journal,” someone said. He thought it was more like something you’d read in a magazine.”

  • Is this  written to relate to other writers who aspire to be published?

  • Does this establish the author’s credibility?


“ Ordinary writing—the kind you read for fun—seeks to delight (and, sometimes, to delight and instruct). Academic writing has a more ambiguous mission.”

  • This implies that academic writing is not delightful.

  • The syntax of this sentence corroborates the author’s definition of ordinary writing because the author’s voice pops up between the dashes and parentheses. 


“dry but also clever; faceless but also persuasive; clear but also completist”

  • The rhythm of this sentence keeps the audience interested, is this to contrast the plainness of academic writing?

  • These couples force comparisons between two things that are barely opposites. Is this to mimic the forced perspective of some academic papers?


“The response from the professoriate was swift, severe, accurate, and thoughtful.”

  • Is this added to appease the professoriate that may be reviewing this author’s papers?

  • Does this help his argument?


“To a degree, some of the responses, though convincingly argued, inadvertently bolstered Kristof’s case because of the style in which they were written: fractious, humorless, self-serious, and defensively nerdy. “

  • Defending academic writing using academic writing was ineffective because?

  • These adjectives put academic writers in a negative light.


“The problem with academia isn’t that professors are, as Kristof wrote, “marginalizing themselves.” It’s that the system that produces and consumes academic knowledge is changing, and, in the process, making academic work more marginal.”

  • This word play would never be allowed in sophisticated, academic works.

  • How does this shift the author’s argument?


“That’s because journalism, which is in the midst of its own transformation, is moving in a populist direction…The pressure on established journalists is to generate traffic.”

  • This reads as a condescending jab at populist culture. Very snobby. Then the author tries to backtrack, is this to not lose the journalist audience entirely?

  • Who exactly is the target audience?


“Increasingly, to build a successful academic career you must serially impress very small groups of people”

  • What kind of mood does this sentence set?

  • What would a paper in a specific field need to do to generate discussion among experts?


“Academic writing and research may be knotty and strange, remote and insular, technical and specialized, forbidding and clannish—but that’s because academia has become that way, too. “


  • What does this concession do to the author’s argument?

  • Is this rhythm of pairs of words mimicking that from the beginning of the article?

Connecting ideas:

What steps did you take to ensure your literature review matched genre standards?

How did you change your Systematic Literature Review to match the standards of the blog post?

Is there a way to create a template for every genre or just academic writing?


Getting beyond the text:

  1. Choose a controversial issue that can be found in both an academic and media setting (ex: abortion)
  2. Find a Systematic Literature Review on the topic.
  3. Find a newspaper or magazine article on the topic.
  4. Compare and Contrast the two articles. What is different about them?  Who are their target audiences?  How do they write to cater to their audience? etc
  5. Get into groups of three and discuss your findings.
  6. Everyone must share a thought with the class.