Organisation: a first glance

time to complete: 20 minutes

In this section, we will look at organization because it is the fastest way to recognize a genre. This is because of features that are visually obvious at first glance. Let’s start with an easy one. The following two texts would be of interest to a student in Management or Law School. Their subject is the same – Coca Cola’s Environmental policies.

First, read the summary below that explains what types of text they are:

Text 1 is an operating review, while Text 2 is an academic review – the same term review can appear in different genres, which can be very confusing! So, how do these two texts differ? 

Operating reviews are published annually by big companies for a non-professional audience. The format features of the annual report are meant to attract the reader’s attention. They are common in commercial texts.

Academic reviews cater to an academic audience who are used to a more text-based format.

Task: Now, have a quick look at the pages you see below. Don’t worry if they are too small to read – focus on how they are laid out. What differences do you notice in terms of text organisation e.g. format, columns, sections, colours, etc.? Then complete the summary task below

Once you are done, complete the following task to see how many of these differences you spotted.

Before we even begin to look at the rest of the text or the language, we can narrow down the broader genre of these two texts based on the way they are organized – one is commercial, the other is academic. This way we can form certain expectations about who the audience is (wider vs academic) and therefore, what the language of the text will be (semi-formal vs academic).


At a first glance, you can make an educated guess at the genre of a text from its organisational and stylistic features. Look for:

  • How text is organised – in one or two columns
  • How long the text is – short or long paragraphs
  • Other design features – colour font, images, extra text like a quote, footnotes, logos etc.