Doc Analysis Sandbox v.1


Please review our existing ENG 304_Document Analysis Worksheet. Then post a few sentences/paragraphs with suggestions for improvement. Are we asking the right questions? Once we agree as a group about what questions we need to ask of these documents, I’ll ask you to create an interactive poll for our site.

Professor KB: I think that it’s problematic to ask three things the author said that you think are important. In many cases we don’t know who the author is or the text was published without his/her knowledge. Perhaps we could include a “/printer” to that question to make it more clear?

Leah C: I think wrting a question to the writer/printer of this document and asking what this document “means to you” are both difficult questions to answer if the person analyzing the document has no context. I think it would be necessary to do a little background research on the impact (or lack of impact) on the society to accurately answer those questions.


11 responses to “Doc Analysis Sandbox v.1

  1. I think answering the question, “who is the intended audience for the document?” could be difficult depending on the information provided on the cover page. I think it would be better to ask the person analyzing the document to investigate and make an educated guess on who they feel was the target audience during the specified time. Then they should back up their reasoning to this guess.

    • I agree, I definitely think that the who is the audience question could be better asked. Also, I think that maybe adding more info on the ‘Inclusion of dedicatory front matter’ could have more detail, that confused me a bit.

  2. What if we broke up the title page, printers remarks, and dedicatory front matter (e.g., epistles to reader). Moving forward, we’ll look at more than the title page. Does that make sense?

    @ Leah: I would very much like to keep the “what does this document mean to you” question because I’d like us to dig more deeply into our aesthetic and affective responses. But perhaps it could be phrased better? Something like, how does this document make you feel in relation to your historicity? Can you relate to the creators of this document? Do you think you would be able to relate to the audience the document appears to be aimed at?

    Feel free to add!

  3. Yes, I think that because we were only looking at the title page of these documents, some questions obviously did not apply. I think if we broke up the doc analysis form to first focus on an in depth analysis of the title page followed by questions pertaining to the actual text.. and ending with personal reflection questions would allow for us as analysts to move through the form as we move through analyzing the document.

    Specifically, the question “Why do you think the document was printed” seemed to challenge me a bit because I’m not sure exactly why a certain specific document would be printed. Would there be different reasons for different documents? How would I know these reasons? I realize it is an opinion related question and is important but I just don’t see my cursory guess to be very valuable. …otherwise I think the form works great overall!

    • I agree with you, Dan! I like focusing on the title page, because I think it’s very telling about the document as a whole. I like your idea of writing specifically about the title page and then going on to talk about the rest of the document.

      The question “Why do you think the document was printed” actually worked for me, because my document had a clear historical purpose. Mine was used to combat royalist propaganda during the First English Civil War. However, even if one’s document didn’t play a large historical role, one could still look to its time period and place of publication to see how it was culturally or historically relevant.

  4. This is more of a comment than a suggestion for improvement but I personally thought the three things the author said that were important was an interesting question. Even if my idea was wrong, I would read the document with more scrutiny while trying to find something the author said that was meaningful.

  5. Renae – I agree and think you’ve made a good point. Perhaps we can rephrase the question to acknowledge the possible contributions of the printers and editors too?

  6. I really like the idea of looking at what additions the printer made and why. At least for the document I looked at last time, there was a lot of flourish added to improve the look of the document, which seemed to be the printer’s doing in order to aim the finished product at a more high-class reader.

    I think the question that challenged me the most was looking at asking the author/printer questions, as the title page often does not give a lot of leading information. I feel like all I could ask were questions like “why did you make the font choice you did?” or “what is the content of the rest of the document going to be like?”, which don’t seem to me to be very deep or well-thought-out questions.

    Personally, I like the “what does this document mean to you?” question–it made me pick a document that I had some interest in, which made the whole process more interesting.

  7. Great comments everyone! Why don’t we start playing with uploading images from EEBO (remember, we can do it as Tiff files) and see if any widgets might make the page more interesting?

  8. The question that I found the most difficulty with initially was “list three things that the author said that you think are important” because we only focused on the title page for the first assignment. I definitely agree that we should reshape this question to include the printer like: “What does the printer suggest with the design and content of the document?” I also agree with Leah that it would be useful to have a question that related more directly to the context of the document. I remember in my history class we used to do document analysis forms and one of the questions asked about the historical events that were occurring at the time of the publication of the document. A direct question about the historical context of the document may be useful before answering the rest of the questions about the document so that we can better understand the reason behind the document.

  9. @Angie – Great suggestions all – I’ve revised the doc again and we can discuss today during class!

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