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Genre Analysis & Reverse Outlining

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This vidcast explains two tools that writers can use as they revise their documents: genre analysis and reverse outlining. Genre analysis involves looking at model texts to gain an understanding of how a particular document might be composed. Reverse outlining helps writers look at their organization throughout a document by looking at what sections are doing as well as what they are saying. Several handouts provide additional explanation of both topics and explain how to create a database of sentence templates to do particular kinds of rhetorical work. 

Note: Closed-captioning and a full transcript are available for this vidcast. 


Genre Analysis (PDF)

Genre analysis is a way of examining a type or style of writing in order to better understand the conventions, expectations, purpose, and target audience for that genre. This handout briefly outlines some steps for two approaches to genre analysis: (1) the global vs. local approach, which analyzes what a style of writing is doing on a large and small scale, and (2) the reverse outlining approach, which analyzes what a style of writing is both saying and doing at the paragraph level in relation to an overarching purpose. 

Questions for Genre Analysis (PDF)

This handout contains questions that are intended to help guide writers working with model texts. It is recommended for use in conjunction with the Genre Analysis (PDF) linked in the preceeding section. The questions range from global rhetorical concerns to sentence structure and voice. 

Organization & the CARS Model

This resource provides strategies for revising introductions. The CARS Model ensures that writers adequately put their research into a wider context, address what's missing in the surrounding scholarship in relation to the topic at hand, and explain how their writing seeks to address those gaps. 

Reverse Outlining

Reverse outlining is a strategy that helps writers distill main ideas into short, clear statements.This tool is especially helpful for refocusing an argument and the overall organization of a text. This resource explains the steps for creating a reverse outline so that writers are empowered to revise their own work. 

Creating a Database of Templates (PDF)

Scholarly writing features many sentences that follow a particular form, pattern, or template, such as when it indicates a gap in research or makes a counter-claim. This handout outlines how one can learn to write within a discipline by creating a database of template-sentences in their field.