Takes a stand outside the rhetorical interaction: not the rhetor nor part of the audience, but that of an observer, taking a balcony view, to craft a considered response rather than put forward a gut reaction. Doing so means engaging a critical method.
- Description: Neutral, close, methodical. Description covers the message, and the the contexts in which that message operates. Those contexts can change but will include material, social, cultural, historical, and rhetorical contexts. Description uses terms from the discipline: sentence, paragraph but also register, etc.
- Analysis: Builds on written description by bringing a conceptual framework (a search pattern or theory or informal hypothesis) into play; looking for patterns; includes what is not present, focuses on how the message works
- Interpretation: Builds on the written analysis to explain or illustrate the significance of the discourse in the context it addresses.