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Curriculum and Student Achievement

Define the Purpose, Consider the Audience and Develop the Thesis

Consider the Audience

Whatever your purpose, you will be writing to a specific audience. You not only must understand your audience but also keep this audience in mind at all times as you draft your paper. Many times your audience will be dictated to you by your instructor or workplace situation; other times you will get to choose an audience. In either case, you’ll have to understand and then adapt your writing to that audience.

Understanding the audience can be fairly easy or rather difficult depending on what you already know about them. Indeed, you may have to do some primary or secondary research to learn more about your audience. The best way to see what you know and what you need to know about your audience is to ask yourself some questions about your relationship to the audience and the audience’s relationship to your topic.


Me & My Audience

My Audience & Its Relationship to My Topic

Essentially, as you think about audience, ask yourself, “how will reading my paper change or affect how my audience thinks, feels, or understands my topic?” The answers to these questions will condition your approach to your audience.

Now that you’re beginning to understand your audience, let’s look at some ways you can adapt your writing to your specific audience. Adapting your writing to your specific audience makes your writing very reader-friendly, since you’ve made careful decisions for your audience about everything from organization to formality in language. Again, you need to answer some questions so you can make decisions on how to best adapt your writing to your audience

Understanding your purpose and audience will help you write an effective thesis. These two factors get you thinking about what your audience needs to know about your topic and why they need the information you’re going to present.