1. Is my goal to write about a person’s life and his/her specific accomplishments? If yes, then a life story is the best choice. If no, go to 2.
2. Is my goal to provide a broad overview of a topic? If yes, then a survey text is the best choice. If no, go to 3.
3. Is my goal to delve deeply into a highly-focused topic? If yes, then I should write a specialized text. If no, go to 4.
4. Is my goal to help my readers understand an abstract idea or process? If yes, then I should write a concept text. If no, reconsider 1-3.
When a nonfiction writer settles on a category early on, it can guide his/her research and help him/her choose the most effective text structure, writing style, voice, and point of view for a particular manuscript.