Discourse analysis has grown in popularity as a major analytical method in social science research fields such as communications studies, sociology, and anthropology. As well, it has been an increasingly popular method for research, practical applications, and pedagogical assessment in composition, education, and applied linguistics/ESL. Most discourse analysis has, however, been focused on spoken language. Yet a number of critical social domains involve significant written text. Think, for example, of schooling, scientific and disciplinary knowledge, cultural production in the arts, the everyday life of government and corporate institutions, the public spaces of news, the diverse worlds of electronic text on the World Wide Web, and other forms of widespread cultural self-representation. Looking at only the spoken interchanges in such educational, institutional, professional, and social settings gives a limited and potentially misleading picture of the ways that language enters into the dynamic unfolding of situations and events.