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Title:Analysis of newspaper editorials: A study of argumentative text structure
Author(s):Teo, Adisa
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Walker, Jerry L.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Language, Rhetoric and Composition
Abstract:Text types have become one major area of investigation in research into academic writing and written text in general. Attempts have been made to characterize types of texts such as argumentative, expository, and narrative on the basis of their structural and linguistic features. This study explores the notion of the text type labeled argumentative. Previous studies have attempted to characterize argumentative texts on the basis of configurations of linguistic features (Biber 1988, Werlich, 1976), speech acts (Aston, 1977), and a combination of linguistic features, discourse analysis, speech acts, and argumentation (Tirkkonen-Condit, 1985). Since the theoretical framework or method of analysis proposed by Tirkkonen-Condit seems to be most broadly based and therefore interesting from the point of its potential contribution to the methodology of research into argumentative text and to our understanding of it as a type, this study tests its applicability to a specific set of argumentative texts. It has two purposes. First, it attempts to describe the structure of the sample argumentative texts, 20 newspaper editorials, using Tirkkonen-Condit's method of analysis. Second, in light of the application of her method, the study discusses the extent that it accommodates or does not accommodate the analysis of the sample texts. Five aspects of the structure of the sample texts are described: approach to a solution, minitext structure, component structure, correspondence between paragraph boundaries and minitext and component boundaries, and relationship between illocutions and interactional roles. It was found that though Tirkkonen-Condit's method of analysis has general applicability, there are aspects of the method which do not accommodate the analysis of the sample texts. Six problematic aspects of the method which motivated some modifications adopted in the actual analysis of the sample texts are unit of analysis, distinction between statements and assertion-type illocutions, hierarchical relationship of a metastatement to a preceding act, the interactional role of evaluation, the notion of minitext, and global units. The study raises questions concerning markers of argumentative text. Directions for further studies are recommended if the notion of argumentative text as a type is to be better understood.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Teo, Adisa
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624510
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624510

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