Professional Writing Text Comparison for Word Choice, Style, and Audience

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Students will use Voyant to compare professionally written journalism texts across genres to analyze word and style choices and make connections to intended audience.


Students will use Voyant to compare professionally written journalism across genres in order to analyze word and style choices. This analysis will be connected to thinking about the intended audiences for certain journalism styles and publications. Finally, students will be asked to reflect on what they learn in the context of their own writing for the course.

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CMM207 Writing for the Media, Spring 2018

dla (28)


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Outcome summary

Students were overwhelmed with the Voyant interface and quantitative presentation of data at first, so I ended up scaling the project back, just asking students to run their own writing through the tool throughout the semester. They would particularly look at their vocabulary density stats as they would go through multiple drafts of a writing piece, with the goal of increasing the density, which (theoretically) is a measure of using unique words. We spent time here and there talking about how better and varied word choice would improve writing, and that that could be seen in the vocab density stat.

In the future, I would move forward with this full assignment, but perhaps with a slower introduction to it, and I'd make sure to do it on a day with good student energy.