Analysing Non-Fiction

Style and Audience

Style and Audience

Style

The style of a text depends very much on its intended audience. This means that, when analysing style, you must always ask yourself: who is this non-fiction text aimed at? Then you examine the purpose of the text to support your answer.

Style is the way in which writers present their texts. It looks at the layout of the page and the language used as decorative features rather than examining the content of a text. Styles can be formal or informal (some can be conversational). When considering style, you should write about the relationship between the form and content of a text.

An informal non-fiction text could be a teen magazine article on how to make the most of the summer holidays. Examining style, you would not look at the message of the text or information contained within. You would look at the appearance of the text – is it simply columns of black writing against a cream background? Or are the titles and subheadings in yellow and orange, written in an informal font? Are there photos or pictures? Are there bullet point sections? – As well as this, look at the type of language used – Is the title something like An Investigation into Summertime Leisure, which is formal, or Fun in the Sun & How 2 stay Cool, which is evidently informal. Other things to think about include whether the text openly addressed you as the audience. With informal texts, this often makes the conversational.

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Audience

The audience, who the text is aimed at, can be identified from other aspects of a text. Consider the genre, content, purpose and the style of a text and this will give clues. A text is created to suit the audience; it is customised so the every aspect targets and draws the attention of them. When you identify the audience, you should consider the characteristics which are relevant to it and how the texts you are analysing appeal to them. Here is a list of characteristics – note that not all of them will be relevant to your text:

Age

Occupation

Household Income

Gender

Cultural Background

Sexual Orientation

Ethnicity

Nationality

Family Situation

Technical Knowledge

Interests

Geographical Region

The above list is not the complete list. As you analyse your non-fiction texts, you may come up with another characteristic which places people in the target audience. If you can support your findings with evidence from the text, then you will have a justified answer.