Forum Analysis

Look over the forum you have identified as a target for your next publication. Remember that a forum can be a magazine, newspaper, bill board, radio station, web page, blog, brochure, newsletter, etc., so some of these questions may not apply to your forum.

Answer the following about your forum:

  • Identify the forum by name and organizational affiliation.
  • Is there an expressed editorial policy, philosophy, or expression of belief? What purpose does the forum serve? Why does it exist?
  • How large is the forum? Who are its members/readers? Its leaders (or people it values)?
  • What kind of people speak/write in this forum? What are their credentials? Academic or professional background?
  • Who are the most important figures in this forum?
  • What are the characteristics of the assumed audience?
  • What are the audience's needs assumed to be? To what use(s) is the audience expected to put the information you will provide in your globally revised draft?
  • Why do people in this field write (to entertain, persuade, educate, discuss, inform, present research findings, question earlier studies, add to those earlier studies)?
  • What are the beliefs, attitudes, values, prejudices of the addressed audience?
  • What might their education level be? How do you know this?
  • What types of discourse does the forum admit (articles, reviews, speeches, poems)? How long are these discourses (approximately)?
  • What documentation form is used (for sources)? MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, CBE?
  • What specialized language is used (Jargon, technical terms, formal or standard English, slang)?
  • Do writers assume their readers will know certain things (like names of people in the field, important events, works, movements)? how much background information would you need to fully engage in a conversation with these readers/writers?
  • What stances do the writers take relative to the audience (describe the relationship between writer and audience)? Why?
  • What voice is used here (1st, 2nd, 3rd person)? Why?
  • Is this article written in passive (an experiment was conducted) or active voice (we conducted an experiment)? Why?
  • Are there graphs, pictures, drop quotes, introductory summaries, short biographies of the writers, end notes, footnotes, works cited pages?
  • Is there anything else you will need to take into consideration as you revise for this audience/forum?

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