Organisers in expository text
This paper presents the concept of ‘organisers’ in expository text, as a tool for discourse analysis and the teaching of writing skills. The notion of an ‘organiser’ is based on the work of Harold (1995) in which he suggests that there is a universal cognitive function of early position in the paragraph called ‘organisation’. For Harold, the ‘organiser’ serves to both group and divide text, and link to what has gone before. The present classification was developed to account for differences between expository essays, judged by readers on the basis of coherence. Characteristics of essay organisation could be clearly discriminated when ‘organisers’ were given clear operational definition, and a distinction was made between ‘unifying’ and ‘dividing organisers’. The classification includes lexical and grammatical units that are not traditionally considered to be discourse ‘signposts’. Extended to other genres of expository text, the usefulness of this approach can be demonstrated and validated. This method of analysis has pedagogical implications for the teaching of writing by offering another way to explain to students the practical means and strategies available to create an ‘organised’ expository text that is easy for a reader to comprehend.
Published online: 01 January 2000
Gernsbacher, M.A, and D.J. Hargreaves
Lawe Davies, R.M.
Vande Kopple, W.J.