English & EAL

Taking Stock and Keyed In Sample Analysis – VCAA exam 2009 & 2010

Lisa Tran

March 16, 2011

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After teaching you How to achieve A+ in Language Analysis, I've compiled the advice to offer you examples from two past VCAA examinations. You can find the VCAA exam 2010 first and 2009 below. Have a go at analysing it yourself first, then see how I've interpreted the article below! Good luck!

Taking Stock 2010 Exam


Author: Professor Chris Lee

Type of article: Speech

Publisher: None

Date of publication: 25 – 27th October, 2010

Contention: We, as humans must consider our impact on biodiversity and take action to change our lifestyles before we damage the world beyond repair.

Number of article(s): 1

Number of image(s): 2

Source: VCAA website

Note: Persuasive techniques can be interpreted in many ways. The examples given below are not the single correct answer. Only a selected number of persuasive techniques have been identified in this guide.

Taking Stock Analysis


Persuasive technique: Reputable Source

Example: ‘United Nations stated: “It is a celebration of life on earth and of the value of biodiversity in our lives. The world is invited to take action in 2010 to safeguard the variety of life on earth: biodiversity”.’

Analysis:  The use of a reputable source indicates that 1) the author has done his research and is therefore credible, 2) his opinion is supported by an expert group, thus strengthening his reasoning and opinion in regards to biodiversity.



Persuasive technique: Rhetorical questions

Example: ‘Has this been a year of celebration of life on earth? Has this, in fact, been a year of action?’

Analysis: The use of rhetorical questions aims to portray to listeners that the answer is obvious, that humans have not done enough to help biodiversity. As a result, listeners are manipulated into agreeing with the author since if they were to refute the answer; it will appear as though they are nonsensical.



Persuasive technique: Personal approach

Example: ‘It is with great pleasure – though not without a tinge of sadness’

Analysis: By introducing himself with ‘it is with great pleasure’, listeners are invited to reciprocate the feeling of welcome for Lee and hence be open to his opinion. His subsequent, ‘though not without a tinge of sadness’ suggests to listeners that he is disappointed with the current state of biodiversity, which may persuade listeners to feel as though they should help fix the situation.



Persuasive technique: Statistics

Example: ‘35% of mangroves, 40% of forests and 50% of wetlands.’

Analysis: The incorporation of the apparently reliable and credible statistics testifies for Lee’s opinion and thus may persuade listeners to believe that it is indeed, ‘too late for [species]’.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to sense of guilt

Example: ‘Due to our own thoughtless human actions, species are being lost at a rate that is estimated to be up to 100 times the natural rate of extinction.’

Analysis: Since the destruction of biodiversity is ‘due to our own thoughtless human actions’, Lee aims to incite a sense of guilt as listeners appear to be selfish, which may urge them to agree that they need to cease being inconsiderate and do more to improve biodiversity.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to humanity

Example: ‘Reversing this negative trend is not only possible, but essential to human wellbeing.’

Analysis: The appeal to humanity, ‘essential to human wellbeing’ encourages listeners to support Lee since it is our instinctive for humans to nurture ourselves and others.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to sense of pride

Example: ‘We are, in truth, the most educated generation of any to date. We have no excuse for inaction.’

Analysis: Through the appeal to a sense of pride, Lee aims to coax listeners into believing that they have ‘no excuse for inaction’ since only those who are ‘intelligent’ would understand and agree with his stance.



Persuasive technique: Attack on the listener

Example: ‘YOUR country – actually done since 2002 to contribute to the achievement of our goals?’

Analysis: The attack aims to leave listeners in a state of vulnerability since it is clear that many have failed to ‘achieve…[the] goals’. Once in this state, listeners may be more inclined to accept Lee’s stance.



Persuasive technique: Appeal for sympathy

Example: ‘Biodiversity loss undermines the food security, nutrition and health of the rural poor and even increases their vulnerability. ‘

Analysis:  Though the reference to ‘the rural poor,’ Lee aims to appeal to listeners’ sympathy and may invite support since it is instinctive to wish for the best for humanity, rather than to see the poor experience a lack of ‘food security, nutrition and health.’



Persuasive technique: Appeal to pride

Example: ‘As leaders in the area of biodiversity’

Analysis:  The appeal to pride through positioning listeners as ‘leaders’ invites support since it is innate for humans to wish to be thought of as a person who is respected and powerful.



Persuasive technique: Inclusive Language

Example: ‘we know what damage our lifestyle is doing to our world’

Analysis: The use of inclusive language aims to involve listeners with the issue, thus encouraging support since listeners may feel responsible for the future outcome of biodiversity.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to sense of urgency

Example: ‘The time for talk is over: now, truly, is the time for serious action.

Analysis: By appealing to a sense of urgency, Lee aims to urge listeners to take responsibility since it appears as though the damage to biodiversity will be too late if we fail to take ‘serious action…now.’


Image 1

Persuasive technique: A sense of responsibility

Example: 2010 with outlines of nature

Analysis: The incorporation of a background of ‘2010’ with outlines of animals, plants and humans aims to demonstrate to listeners that earth is shared by all species, with none dominating another in an attempt to gain listeners’ sense of responsibility since they are part of the biodiversity issue, yet can also be the solution to the problem.


Persuasive technique: Pun

Example: ‘Taking Stock’

Analysis: The first meaning used for the pun suggests to listeners that they need to ‘take stock’ or in other words, scrutinise the dire situation of biodiversity in call for much needed attention to the issue. Through referring to the second meaning of ‘stock’ as animals, Lee intends to appeal to a sense of guilt since he projects the idea that humans are cruelly annihilating the environment by ‘taking’ whatever ‘stock’ for their own self-centered purposes.


Image 2

Persuasive technique: Appeal to responsibility

Example: ‘earth is in our hands’

Analysis: By placing the ‘earth…in our hands,’ Lee aims to urge a sense of responsibility on behalf of the listeners which in turn, may cause them to agree with the notion to take ‘serious action’ in the name of biodiversity.


Persuasive technique: Use of reputable source

Example: ‘Biodiversity is the greatest treasure we have . . . Its diminishment is to be prevented at all costs. Thomas Eisner’

Analysis: The reference to ecologist, Thomas Eisner attempts to persuade listeners to support Lee since experts in the field of biodiversity recommend that the earth needs to be cherished.

Keyed In 2009 Exam


Author: Voxi

Type of article: Opinion piece

Publisher: Clt Alt

Date of publication: 23rd of May, 2009

Contention: We should embrace the digital technology as it has, and will continue to revolutionise our lives in regards to intelligence, convenience, communication and more.

Number of article(s): 1

Number of image(s): 1 (not disclosed on VCAA website due to copyright laws)

Source: VCAA website

Note: Persuasive techniques can be interpreted in many ways. The examples given below are not the single correct answer. Only a selected number of persuasive techniques have been identified in this guide.

Keyed In Article


Persuasive technique: Imagery

Example: ‘Keyed In’

Analysis: The term ‘keyed in’ depicts an image of keys on a laptop or computer – one of the important inventions in regards to digital technology as well as the idea that those who are ‘keyed in’ are ‘up-to-date’ with its progression. This invites support from the reader since it is desirable to be ‘up-to-speed’ with the latest developments and trends – especially since new technology allows such accessibility.



Persuasive technique: Type of publication

Example: Online journal

Analysis: By publishing the article on an online platform, Voxi aims to target ‘tech-savvy’ readers who are more inclined to appreciate technology than those who read other publication avenues such as newspapers.



Persuasive technique: Acknowledging the opposition

Example: ‘Some people are naturally afraid of the new, challenged by the discomfort of being dislodged from the known, the safe, the predictable, the tried and the tested – in short, their comfort zone.’

Analysis: Voxi invites readers to view him as someone who is considerate and rational by displaying an understanding front towards those opposed to the use of technology, ‘some people are naturally afraid of the new.’

Example: ‘…maybe they have a point – sometimes it’s good to take time out and just enjoy what you’ve got.’

Analysis: Through admitting that perhaps those opposed to the development of technology may ‘have a point’, Voxi aims to manipulate readers into trusting him since he appears genuine and fair towards the issue.



Persuasive technique: Positioning advocators in a positive light

Example: ‘They see possibilities for making things better where other people want to chill, just responding to the pleasure of the moment.’

Analysis: By positioning technology advocates as people who ‘see possibilities for making things better,’ Voxi attempts to coax readers into support since readers tend to respect and admire those who take action, rather than someone who is static and merely wants to ‘chill.’



Persuasive technique: Characterisation of supporters as heroes

Example: ‘History’s full of moments though, when human beings have been moved forward by people who have been like the grit in an oyster. Gritty people produce pearls.’

Analysis: Though the characterisation of technology advocators as ‘gritty people,’ Voxi urges readers to view those people with admiration as their determination and dedication has lead to the ‘produc[tion of] pearls’ or in other words, valuable inventions.



Persuasive technique: Colloquial Language

Example: ‘Well, sort of.’

Analysis: The use of colloquial language, ‘well, sort of,’ is intended to position Voxi as a someone who appears to be a ‘friend’ as he attempts to display a light conversational tone. As a result, readers may be more inclined to support his opinion since they are more likely to listen to a ‘friend’ than a formal authority figure.



Persuasive technique: Characterisation of advocates as hard workers

Example: They’re the ones who ask questions, who tinker away in the garage, who turn up on ‘The Inventors.’

Analysis: By characterising advocates of technology as hard-working, ‘tinker[ing] away in the garage’, , Voxi relies on the readers’ compassion to embrace modern technology as it is clear that much effort and time has been placed in these inventions and therefore shouldn’t be immediately disregarded.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to a sense of failure

Example: ‘In our lifetime we haven’t had a Copernicus or Galileo reorganising the cosmos, or a Darwin challenging us with a radically new theory of evolution.’

Analysis: Voxi tries to influence readers to step up to past generations’ successes such as ‘Copernicus [and] Galileo reorganising the cosmos, or a Darwin challenging us with a radically new theory of evolution’ through the depiction that the current population has failed to produce any great intellectuals.


Persuasive technique: Repetition

Example: ‘…revolutionise…’

Analysis: The repeated word ‘revolutionise’ is an attempt to instill into readers’ minds that there is a dramatic change currently occurring in society and as a result, they should try to keep ‘up to date’ with ‘the new world’.



Persuasive technique: Rhetorical question

Example: ‘Why wouldn’t you want it in your life?’

Analysis: The rhetorical question, ‘why wouldn’t you want it in your life?’ urges readers’ support since it is apparent that there is no reason why people should not accept technology, especially since in the future, readers will be able to ‘lead happy, safe and fulfilling lives in a free and peaceful world’ – something that would result in satisfaction.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to a sense of youth

Example: ‘It’s older people who are less familiar with it who are suspicious about it, or even


Analysis: By creating a dichotomy between the ‘older people’ and the younger generation, Voxi aims to manipulate readers into believing that only the elderly are ‘suspicious…or even afraid’ of technology, whereas all other generations should have no issues and welcome the ‘digital world’ with open arms.



Persuasive technique: Reference to modern activities

Example: ‘Global shopping, online banking, working out the itinerary for your holiday, looking up Google Maps and Street View to check out where your friends live, and that’s not to mention Facebook.’

Analysis: Through referencing to everyday, modern activities such as : ‘Global shopping…looking up Google Maps and Street View…not to mention Facebook’, readers may be compelled to join the population in using technology since they are aware that many people do find these digital advances convenient and applicable to their daily lives.



Persuasive technique: Use of logic and reasoning

Example: ‘Sure, some people stress about privacy issues, but these can be resolved. Google is not allowed to film defence sites from Google cars and Google bikes. Let’s face it, the pictures we see are not real-time images. You can protest about them anyway and get them removed or pixellated if you’re really worried.’

Analysis: Readers are encouraged to support Voxi’s stance since his use of logic, ‘you can protest about them anyway’ and reason, ‘let’s face it, the pictures we see are not real-time images’ makes clear that ‘privacy issues’ is not a valid point to denounce technology.



Persuasive technique: Humourous tone

Example: ‘Besides, the hot air balloon people are always hovering over my back yard and looking into my windows too.’

Analysis: Through adopting a humourous tone in pointing out the irony of people’s concerns about ‘privacy issues’ when ‘hot air balloon people are always hovering over my back yard and looking into my windows too,’ Voxi attempts to assure readers that online privacy is no less risky than their privacy at home.



Persuasive technique: Appeal to convenience

Example: ‘Why go to a library when you can sit at your desk and look up Wikipedia or Google Scholar, or Ask Jeeves?’

Analysis: Through posing the rhetorical question, ‘Why go to a library when you can sit at your desk and look up Wikipedia or Google Scholar, or Ask Jeeves?’, Voxi appeals to readers’ sense of convenience since the benefits of merely ‘sitting’ at home clearly outweighs the effort of travelling to a library.



Persuasive technique: Inclusive language

Example: ‘Let’s be excited – keep being excited.’

Analysis: The incorporation of inclusive language, ‘let’s’ urges readers to feel as though they are directly part of the issue or somehow responsible for the outcome and thus, may lead readers to become advocators of technology.



Persuasive technique: Juxtaposition

Example: ‘We’d still be swinging in the trees or huddling in caves if we’d taken the view that new things are harmful or dangerous or unpredictable.’

Analysis: Through the juxtaposition of current society and history when ‘we…sw[u]ng in the trees or huddl[ed] in caves’, Voxi intends to demonstrate that without taking some risks and disregarding that ‘new things are harmful or dangerous or unpredictable’, society would not have come as far as it has now, and thus, readers should continue to push forward with the new digital age.


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