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3 Steps to Write a Textual Analysis (IBDP Paper 1)

Paper 1 in English appears challenging and nerve-wracking for students. It is without a doubt one of the most difficult papers for IBDP students. You have no idea what the questions are being asked. That is, after all, the challenge of this paper. The IB evaluates your ability to analyse a visual text and to write an essay based on your findings.

What to write in the essay?

It should be a thorough breakdown of the text given . The students must make inferences, analyse the structure, and interpret the content. They should present their findings in the form of an essay.

What will be the types of questions?

For IB English Literature SL and HL, and for IB English Language and Literature SL and HL, textual analysis can come from a broad variety of sources, including magazines, editorials, speeches, interview scripts, instruction manuals, blog articles, campaigns and more.
For SL students there will be a guiding question, so your answer should be based on the question.

How to Write a Textual Analysis?

Step 1

Take a look at the text to figure out what genre it belongs to. In other words, determining if the text is a blog post, a newspaper editorial, a donation website, an iTunes page, and so on. After you've established the type of text, concentrate on the structure.

Step 2

It may appear difficult to analyse the structure of a textual analysis, but believe me, it is not. It is the structure that you notice when you first look at the text.

  • Psychology of Colour
    Is the text's colour scheme contrasting, and if so, what impact does it have on the reader? Is it drawing the reader's attention? These are elements that should be focused on in this section.

  • Logo(s)
    If there are any logos that illustrate the structure, pay attention to them. They may be from a business or from social media sites. This is something that should be noted.
    For example: A bell is used as the emblem. Since the word "bell" appears in the brand name, the meaning can be linked to it. A manifestation of this is the logo.

  • Headings
    Take note of the order of the headings and subheadings. Are the fonts bolded, italicised, or underlined?
    For example: The first heading is bold, and it immediately draws the reader's attention to the text below it. It allows us to quickly comprehend the substance of the paragraph below. This is a technique that makes it simple for the reader to read the article or even only glance at it and understand what is written.

  • Images and Hyperlinks
    You may also point out that most online papers have hyperlinks to demonstrate the authenticity of their work. Meanwhile, if there is a picture, make a comment about it and explain why it was placed there.
    For example: The hyperlinks given after each work demonstrate that the information can be validated, and that interested readers can do additional research on the subject if they are so inclined. The images serve as anchors for the topics being discussed; for example, the image of a woman serves as an anchor for the subject of discussion, which is female empowerment.

Step 3

Now it's time to move on to the next level. We'll focus on the writer's content in this section. We look for literary devices, persuasive techniques, examples, testimonies, and true events, among other things.

  • Literary devices
    The writer can use various literary devices such as metaphor, hyperbole, simile, analogy, foreshadowing etc.

  • Persuasive appeals

Logos: This is a way of persuading an audience with reason, using facts and figures.

Ethos: This used as a means of convincing an audience via the authority or credibility of the persuader, be it a notable or experienced figure in the field or even a popular celebrity.

Pathos: This is a way of convincing an audience of an argument by creating an emotional response to an impassioned plea or a convincing story.


Let’s take a look at an example of a visual text and see how the mentioned objectives are achieved.

Click on this link to view the text.

This text is an appeal or campaign article that aims to educate its readers about slavery. The article's format and content make it easier for readers to communicate with it and understand what it's trying to say. The colour scheme and highlighted phrases in the text function to draw the reader's attention to important statements or hyperlinks, encouraging them to click on them for more details.

A black and red ribbon appears at the top of the page, with social media links, donation links, a punchline, and a logo that also explicitly relates to the article's main subject. Since the rest of the article is written in simple, dull black text, the bright red and black ribbon helps to easily and efficiently attract the readers' attention.The text's main purpose is to raise awareness by presenting facts while also attracting possible donations from those who read it, so the donation link's location couldn't be better. If readers want to learn more about the subject and what is being done, social media may be another source of knowledge.

A image of two slaves at work has also been placed in the centre of the page to help explain the type of people being discussed, as many people may be unfamiliar with the idea of slavery and may confuse it with other types of work that look similar. Links to books, kits, and a fact sheet have been highlighted and underlined in red on the right border. At this point, a colour code has been created, and the reader may compare the information and its colour to make associations between its content and importance level.

The text's content is often used effectively to help the reader understand the meaning and prevalence of slavery. The text begins by attempting to convey to the reader the widespread existence of slavery by using a heading that reads "slavery is everywhere." Using a strong term like "everywhere" is a risky move, since it intensifies the nature of the issue greatly if taken literally. It then goes on to list convenient locations where slavery can be found near us, making it easier for readers to connect by letting them know that it is closer than they might think. The readers are then given a highlighted and coloured hyperlink that serves as evidence for the article's assertions. This will help to dispel any concerns that may have arisen in one's mind as a result of reading it. The writer employs persuasion techniques such as logos and ethos. The passage then goes on to explain why slavery exists in the modern world. Along with raising consciousness, the article aims to instil tenacity, or a collective through pattern, in the target audience. To further the audience's comprehension, the article goes on to discuss other aspects of slavery.

The final section of the article is titled "You Are Connected to Slavery, and You Can Cure It," and the use of the word "you" twice adds a lot of personalization to the work. Articles are typically used as public information points, acting as a "come and go" location for people to gather information before moving on to the next post. This article breaks the trend because it uses the word "you" to make it sound as though it was written specifically for the reader, in order to persuade them to help eradicate slavery. It creates a clear link between the dilemma and the reader, unique because it's different, and personal for anyone who's read it. This, combined with the content that discusses how popular it is, as well as two additional links, creates a clear and compelling conclusion to the article that accomplishes what it set out to do.

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3 Steps to Write a Textual Analysis (IBDP Paper 1)
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