Some elements to look for when using DOCS model Design: Features related

Some elements to look for when using DOCS model

Design: Features related to the way the text is laid out on the page. These are physical characteristics of the writing’s format, such as:


Highlighting particular phrases by using techniques such as bold, underline, or italics

Use of images, charts, or graphs

Spacing of the text

Use of color

Different sized fonts

Different types of font

Bullet points

Organization: Features related to how the writer chooses to organize the information in the text. Writers generally use more than one method of organization. This can be about the text as a whole or a particular section of the text. Some common organization techniques are:


General – particular













Content: Text content is not always obvious. Think about what information the author has decided to include in the text and how it relates to the topic, purpose, and audience. Examples include:

Topics and relevant details. What types of information are included in the text?

Specific Disciplinary knowledge. This is generally knowledge gained through study or work in a particular field.

Insider knowledge. This is generally knowledge that is shared by a relatively small number of people and that is not known by others.

Participants: who is quoted/paraphrased? Whose points of views are expressed in the text? If the text is about a controversial issue, are both sides addressed?

Style: Features relating to the language the author uses in the writing. These should be things that stand out.


Specific grammar features, such as passive voice

Verb choice


Sentence structure


Figurative language, such as metaphor and simile

Values: Often the most difficult to identify. Think about what is important to both the reader and writer. This needs to be specific and can fall under general categories that may overlap:

Shared understanding of language (general):

Is the author using a specifc type of vocabulary (ex. Slang, jargon) to reach his audience. Based on this, what is important to the reader and writer?

Shared life experience (general)

What experiences relating to the topic have both the reader and writer had?

Shared cultural values (general)

These are values that stem from the reader and writer coming from the same or similar cultures. These are often related to religion or societal issues

Shared disciplinary values (general)

These are values that are shared because the reader and writer have a background in the same discipline. What things are important to people from the discipline that are evident in the text?


Johns, A. Text, Role and Context

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