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Questions to ask

Purpose

What is the reason for writing this piece? Does it respond to an event? Advocate a policy change? Present a new finding? Argue a position? Create a dissenting opinion? Analyze a situation?

Audience

Who is the audience? How would you describe their relationship to the author and the subject matter? Are they friendly, neutral, hostile? Are gender, race, age, culture, religion, or geography important? Are you a member of the intended audience?

Text

What kind of text is it: opinion piece, academic article, speech, documentary? Are you receiving it in its original form?

Speaker/Author

How would you describe the author's tone, position, investment, and knowledge? Are gender, age, race, culture, religion, or geography important to note? Might they create biases?

Constraints

What prevents the author from fully articulating the point? Does the audience have particular beliefs or opinions that create constraints? Does the author have limited space or time?