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Analyzing a Multimodal Text Draft

Analyzing a Multimodal Text Draft


Analyzing a Multimodal Text Draft 

500-800 words

Most media you encounter each day combines modes—news articles include photographs; television shows include audio, verbal text, and gestures; websites make use of alphabetic text and spatial arrangement; music contains both lyrics and sound. Even an academic paper has multimodal elements such as font choice, double-spacing, margins, etc. By analyzing multimodal texts you can become a more active viewer of the media that surrounds us and understand how media shapes our understanding of the world. But it can be challenging to analyze multimodal texts because first we must learn how to recognize modes in order to discover how the modes work together to create meaning and how they respond to the rhetorical situation.

Assignment Goals

To gain the ability to recognize the modes and media elements in a multimodal text.

To use multimodal evidence to make an argument.

To improve the ability to describe evidence in specific detail.

To strengthen critical thinking and analysis skills

  • To understand a multimodal text in terms of its rhetorical situation.
  • To become an active viewer of multimodal texts.
  • Language of Multimodality
  • The following are the five main modes that can be found in a multimodal text with some examples of elements of each mode. Each media you choose will also include more specific language and elements. Be sure to reference terms related to your chosen media when brainstorming and drafting.
  • Linguistic – word choice; delivery of spoken or written text (tone); organization into sentences,
  •            phrases, paragraphs, etc.; coherence of individual words and ideas.

Visual – color, layout, style, size, perspective

Gestural – facial expressions, hand gestures, body language, interactions between people Spatial

– arrangement, organization, proximity between people and objects.

Spatial – arrangement, organization, proximity between people and objects.

Audio – music; sound effects; ambient noise/sounds; silence; tone; emphasis and accent of voice

in spoken language; volume of sound.

Choosing a Multimodal Text

There are various multimodal texts you can choose from: advertisements, websites, film, television, social media, photography, music, news articles, and visual art are all multimodal texts. When choosing a multimodal text to analyze, look for a text that is surprising or mysterious to you. A straightforward text with a clear message might be more difficult to analyze then a more complex one that raises questions for you. Look for texts that include a variety of modes and that seem to target specific groups of people (youth, gender, elderly, minorities).

Brainstorming Your Essay

Once you locate a multimodal text, brainstorm about it to locate a central question you would like to use to address this text.

Make a list of everything you notice in the multimodal text, using the elements and language relevant to your media. Be as objective as possible, listing only concrete details you notice in the text.

Freewrite about your immediate reactions to the multimodal text. How does it make you feel? Why? Connect your answers to some of the elements listed in step one.

Freewrite about the message you feel the multimodal text is sending about society.

Look over your list and your freewrite and look for connections and themes that emerge.

Select one theme and use this theme to create a central question about your text.

The following is an example central questions:

How do the images (people, clothes, activities, expressions), photography (color, filters etc.), and writing (argument, language/words, statistics, font etc.) work together to convince readers that the issue is important and worth supporting? 

Example organization/structure 



Define Multimodal Text

Define Analysis

Introduce subject: website for______

  1. Explain ethos, pathos and logos (methods of persuasion)
  2. Introduce analysis question:
  3. The question I will attempt to answer in this paper is:
  4. How do the images, photography, and writing (argument, language/words, statistics, font etc.) from the Save Tigers Now website work together using the appeals of ethos pathos and logos to convince readers that the issue is important and worth supporting?
  5. (Save Tigers Now, 2021)

Thesis Statement:  Is it an effective website for the cause/issue?

Section One

  • Images


Section Two


Logical arguments


  • Section Three
  • Stories
  • Emotional Arguments
  • Pathos
  • Section Four
  • Credibility/trustworthiness

Logo (not logos

Numbers, how long has the organization been around


Summary of findings

Which elements/argument do you find most convincing?

Do you think this is an effective website for the cause/issue? 

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