Context Analysis Paper (Modified from Thomas)

This is the last in the series of assignments based on text analysis. In this assignment, we will practice once again the analytical skills we have been honing up to this point. This time, however, we are narrowing our focus to the contexts in which texts are produced and received. The goals of this paper include the following:

  • identifying key similarities and differences in three texts written by the same author about the same subject yet for different purposes and audiences
  • synthesizing information from multiple sources
  • practicing academic writing skills such as focusing on a main idea, developing that idea with appropriate evidence, organizing for clarity, writing in a clear style

Purpose of the paper: To explore how differences in context (purpose/audience) affect a writer's presentation of a subject

Audience: Instructor and classmates as an academic audience. You can assume we have read the texts but will expect specific examples from them to support your assertions. You will also be demonstrating your knowledge, understanding and analysis of the texts to your instructor.


  • Focus on the selected texts, all written by one author. Make a statement about how the different contexts in which the author was writing affected his/her choice of language, tone, organization, evidence, etc. Rather than list his/her various choices, emphasize the most notable similarities and differences across the texts and how concern for purpose/audience resulted in them. Choose 1-3 areas upon which to focus.
  • Develop your claim(s) with specific examples from the texts including quotes, paraphrases and summaries, as appropriate. Include examples of how evidence, organization, style, tone, etc., reveal audience and purpose. Refer to the texts with author and title "tags" rather than formal documentation.
  • Organize your paper in a readable, logical manner. Avoid merely providing summaries of each text or listing techniques. Show how and why the writer made his/her choices.
  • Write in a style which is clear and readable with few if any grammatical, mechanical or usage errors.


  • Length: 4-5 pages (this is a guideline; there is no penalty for longer or shorter papers that execute the assignment well).
  • Double spaced with one-inch margins.
  • Readable 10-12 point font. No script fonts or papers in all italics, please.