This post is aimed at teachers working on research papers!
I recommend asking students to identify what type of texts they’re dealing with when working on their research papers. Here’s a quick overview of three types of text structure:
Expository writing - argumentative
- Gives an opinion or makes an argument
- Organized around logical components: claim, reason, evidence, counterclaim, rebuttal
Expository writing - informational
- Examines previously learned information or provides new information
- Organized into sections and sub-sections
- Tells a story (real or imagined) of an experience, event, or sequence of events.
- Organized by beginning, middle, end, or by literary elements (e.g., setting, character, plot, theme)
Knowing what type of text you’re reading helps you understand it better. For example, if you’re reading an argumentative text, you’re looking for the author’s central argument. If you’re reading an informational text, you’re just looking to gather information.
Students will also use these types of texts differently in their writing. It’s important to know whether you’re dealing with an author making a controversial argument or a researcher offering more straightforward information about a topic.
Once you’ve taught text structure once, it’s not hard to bring it up frequently. As you hand out an article, you can tell students what type of structure it has or ask them to guess based on the format and first paragraph. Alternatively, after students have read an article, you can ask them to identify what type of text it was. Talking to students about text structure helps them to interact more comfortably with all types of text.