To characterize something is also to classify it: to define it as a particular type or category of thing. As with description, how you classify something goes a long way toward determining how you think about it. If you classify a text as “informational,” for example, you are committing yourself to asking certain kinds of questions: Does this text tell me what I need to know? What is the most useful information it contains? How do I summarize this information? If, on the other hand, you classify a text as “opinion-based,” you are committing yourself to asking different questions: What does this text want from me? What tactics are being used to influence my views or shape my reaction? Are these tactics fair? Whenever you classify something, you are setting the terms for how you are going to engage, analyze and respond to it.