BlogEnglishHow to Create a Written Response for a Public Audience for QCE English

How to Create a Written Response for a Public Audience for QCE English

Writing a Feature Article - Written Response for a Public Audience Featured Image

Been tasked to create a Written Response for a Public Audience for QCE English but aren’t sure how to tackle the assessment?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help! We’ll guide you through what the task involves, a simple structure you can follow, some tips to help you create your response, and what the ISMG asks of you.

We’ve even got a sample annotated Written Response for a Public Audience that you can download!

Ready to work on this QCE English assessment? Let’s go!

What is a Written Response for a Public Audience?
How do you structure a Written Response for a Public Audience?
Tips for Writing Up This Task
Breaking Down the ISMG (Instrument-Specific Marking Guide) 

What is a Written Response for a Public Audience?

The Written Response for a Public Audience is one of the vaguer and more unfamiliar assessment types that you will do in General English. It generally follows the form of a 1000-1500-word feature, journal or literary article (which all follow very similar structures).

It consists of a comparison between two texts and the significance and relevance of the themes and representations of the texts, particularly for a contemporary audience! You could be asked to compare the book/play version and movie version of a story, or two completely different books/movies/plays.

Understanding the style and structure of this assessment type is half the job — if you’ve got that down you’re ready to write your Written Response for a Public Audience! 

How do you structure a Written Response for a Public Audience?

Feature Article Structure

The structure of this assessment type can be a little confusing as there are so many different elements to it. For simplicity, I’m going to refer to it as a feature article throughout this guide.

To help with structure, you will be provided with the specific genre, purpose and audience of your feature article.

Ensure you do some research around the audience of your feature article as it may be for a specific site of publication. If this is the case, try to incorporate not only their style and tone, but also their logo in your feature article. 

SectionWhat this Section is AboutWhat to Include
HeadlineThe Headline of an article is its title. Your Headline will be at the top of your feature article in large font so it’s the first thing readers will see.

Make sure it’s something that will grab their attention and make them want to keep reading. It may be easier to come back to the Headline after you’ve written the rest of your feature article. 
- The themes in the texts OR
- A play on the name of the text OR
- A play on a popular/significant quote from the text 
- Short and concise: No longer than 10 words 
Hook/Lead-inThe Hook of a feature article comes after and acts as an expansion of the Headline. This is another chance for you to draw in your audience by giving them a little sneak peek into the themes your feature article will explore. - Depending on what exactly your task is, you may not need to mention the names of the texts, it may be more effective to mention the themes and how they relate to the audience 
- Use inclusive language (we, our, your)
- Use of a rhetorical question here can be quite effective 
- 20-40 words 
By-lineThis is just an acknowledgement of the author of the feature article (You!). This will be included somewhere between your Headline and your Introduction. - By [Insert Your Name Here]
IntroductionYour introduction should set the tone and context of your feature article. By the end of it, the reader should know what texts, themes and perspectives you’ll be exploring as well as why they should care. - Some background information about the texts, such as the author/playwright/director, when it was created, influences, main themes etc. 
- How do the two texts compare (Are they quite different? They may be different in terms of their presentation but quite similar in terms of their characters and themes) 
- Your thesis: What is the main point you’re trying to drive home?  

Up to this point, the feature article is quite structured. However, when it comes to presenting your points about each text, there are a few directions you can go in.

The typical structure is Point 1 about Text 1, then Point 1 about Text 2, then Point 2 about Text 1… etc.

In the annotated sample response however, I explored Points 1, 2 & 3 about Text 1 first and then Points 1, 2 & 3 about Text 2. The latter structure can be more effective if the two texts are quite different like in the annotated sample response. 

SectionWhat this Section is AboutWhat to Include
Body Paragraphs This will make up the bulk of your feature article. It’s all about: 
- Analysing perspectives and representations of concepts, identities, times and places in your texts 
- Analysing the ways cultural assumptions, attitudes, values and beliefs underpin your texts and invite audiences to take up positions 
- Analysing the effects of aesthetic features and stylistic devices in your texts
- What did the author/playwright/director try to tell us about the concept?
- How did they do this?
- Were any aesthetic devices effectively used to represent this message? 
- What evidence from the text demonstrates this?
- Why did the author/playwright/director do this (cultural assumptions/beliefs/attitudes)?
- Keep these paragraphs small — break them up if they’re getting any longer than 4 sentences 
Point about Contemporary SourcesThis is a key component to your feature article. Although your texts may be from a different decade or century, your audience exists now.

So, it’s important that after you’ve delved into the themes and concepts presented in the two texts, you demonstrate how these messages are still significant in today’s contemporary world. 
- What modern texts or events support your point? How?
- How does it affect the reader?
ConclusionYour conclusion should leave your readers in no doubt about your stance on the texts. This is your last chance to drive your point home, so make it count!- Link back to your thesis
- Why are your points about the texts relevant to the audience?
- Summarise the main idea
- Give your audience something to really think about — a warning, a lesson, a call to action etc.

Tips for Writing a Written Response for a Public Audience

#1: Incorporate a variety of sentence and paragraph structures

As this is not an essay, don’t be afraid to incorporate a variety of sentence and paragraph structures to achieve certain effects. Try a red, white and blue sentence for in-depth description or a power sentence for emphasis.

You could even use the Lawyer Paragraph structure instead of your typical PEEL

#2: Write in second person

Your feature article should be written in second person, meaning that you establish and maintain the role of the author by creating a relationship with your audience. The most effective way to do this is by utilising inclusive language (we, our, your), small anecdotes, emotive language and colloquialisms.

The tone should be a balance between intellectual and conversational. Invite your audience into the conversation, don’t lecture them.

#3: Don’t forget the importance of images!

Another key part of a feature article is the images and their accompanying captions. Include 3-4 images throughout your feature article, including a ‘main’ image between your Hook and Introduction.

However, ensure that the images and their captions genuinely contribute towards your point. Ensure that your Headline, Hook and main image and caption work cohesively to engage the audience. 

#4: Proof-read to ensure grammar and punctuation are used correctly

Discerning use of grammar can make all the difference. The use of italics, a variety of punctuation and present tense can help to emphasise your point and relay your tone. They can also prevent your feature article from sounding too formal or essay-like. 

#5: Format the feature article correctly

Articles are generally formatted in two columns. The names of your texts could either be in italics or underlined. Your quotes could also be in either quotation marks or italics.

Check this with your teacher. You may also have sections of ‘highlighted text’, which are significant quotes or statements from your article in larger font. 

#6: Be mindful of referencing

In-text referencing is usually done using footnotes. You may also need a reference list, double check this with your teacher. 

Breaking Down the ISMG (Instrument-Specific Marking Guide) 

Now that you know what a Written Response for a Public Audience is all about, let’s have a look at what you need to do in order to score those top marks.

Although the marks are quite evenly spread out between each of the three criteria, the Knowledge Application section is worth the most. You might be wondering, why?

Well, if you have a look back at the Body Paragraphs section of the structure table, you’ll notice that the body paragraphs (the largest section of your feature article) consist of the three Knowledge Application assessment objectives below.

Another important thing to make note of is the word discerning in the criteria. The QCAA definition for discerning is discriminating; showing intellectual perception; showing good judgment; making thoughtful and astute choices; selected for value or relevance. Ensuring that you are discerning with each and every element of your feature article will allow you to score top marks!

Knowledge Application 

Knowledge Application - Written Response for a Public Audience

This criterion covers the following assessment objectives: 

  • Analysing perspectives and representations of concepts, identities, times and places in two texts
  • Analysing the ways cultural assumptions, attitudes, values and beliefs underpin different texts and invite audiences to take up positions
  • Analysing the effects of aesthetic features and stylistic devices in the two texts

Organisation and Development 

Organisation and Development - Written Response for a Public Audience

This criterion covers the following assessment objectives: 

  • Using patterns and conventions of an article/column/blog/essay to achieve particular purposes in a specific context
  • Establishing and maintaining the role of the writer and relationship with an identified public audience
  • Selecting and synthesising subject matter to support perspectives
  • Organising and sequencing subject matter to achieve particular purposes
  • Using cohesive devices to emphasise ideas and connect parts of a text

Textual Features 

Textual Features - Written Response for a Public Audience

This criterion covers the following assessment objectives: 

  • Making language choices for particular purposes and contexts
  • Using grammar and language structures for particular purposes
  • Using written features, and complementary features if appropriate, to achieve particular purposes

On the hunt for other QCE English resources?

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Yalindi Binduhewa is an Art of Smart tutor based in Queensland and was part of the very first cohort to go through the ATAR system, so she knows exactly how fun and enjoyable it can be. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Medical Imaging (Honours) at QUT and is loving it. When she’s not doing uni-related stuff or tutoring, she’s hanging out with her friends, rewatching a show for the 100th time, or trying out new crafty projects and discovering that she doesn’t have a talent for everything. 

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