Audience Analysis

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Audience Analysis
Our lesson on audience will show you how the concept of audience differs between
technical writing class and other English classes.
Who is your reader?
Q :
When you’ve written essays or other assignments in the past–in academic
settings–who was your reader?
A :
Probably you’d say the teacher or the professor, acting in that professional capacity,
ideally able to set aside personal biases and evaluate your assignment objectively. (I
know, we’ve all had teachers who didn’t).
Q :
What choices did you consider for those assignments?
A :
Probably your responses would include choices about what you wanted to say, how
you wanted to say it, how you would organize it, and what grammar revisions you would
make.
Q :
What was the purpose of this assignment?
A :
Most likely you saw the purpose was to test or to prove that you had either the
knowledge or the skills that the assignment required.
Q :
What brought about the need for this assignment?
A :
The immediate need is for your instructor to assess your learning and to give you a
grade for the assignment, eventually averaged into your overall course grade. The
ultimate need for you would be your education, including learning the knowledge and
skills of history, government, English, and other classes.
Q :
Did your teacher read that assignment? Why?
A :
Most likely, yes. If the teacher is doing his or her job, the assignment is read,
evaluated, graded, returned. As to why, reading the assignment is that person’s job. The
teacher is basically a required audience for this assignment.
Differences between audiences for non-academic writing
Here is where we have a distinct shift between academic writing (such as writing
assignments in history, government, English, and other classes) and non- academic
writing (any writing that occurs outside of education).
In the non-academic world, we must figure out who specifically will be reading the
documents we write. It is no longer a teacher or professor–that generic grader without

biases who must read our compositions. It is now a real person, as complex as we
ourselves are. Many times it is one specific person–a boss, a colleague, a subordinate.
We must look at that specific person or group of persons and determine how we can
best “sell” our message to them.
The reader is no longer “trapped” like the academic audience. The people to whom you
write at work do not have to read what you’ve written, and chances are they won’t. They
are overloaded with information, and they get to choose what letter, memo, or email
they actually will read. True, they’ll miss out on information they need, but they can
always call and ask you to fill them in. Because co-workers (and anyone else in our
non-academic audience parameters) aren’t required to read what we write, we must
make our information relevant to the reader early in the communication.
In an email, that means the subject line must contain specific keywords identifying the
topic. For example, I’ve received hundreds of emails with a subject line like “question” or
“assignment.” Because those are vague subject lines, they may not be answered as
quickly as one with a subject line of “Question About Audience Assignment.” Because it
is more specific, it seems more urgent.
In a memo or letter, usually the first paragraph presents the main idea. If the main idea
doesn’t appear until the second or third paragraph, the reader has probably tossed the
communication, wondering why he or she received it in the first place. Therefore, in your
letters and memos, your first paragraph must persuade a reluctant reader to continue
reading. People only continue reading memos, letters, etc., when they see how it
affects them. If they don’t see that connection, they disengage and move on.
Likewise, if the main idea isn’t in the first paragraph in any writing assignment in this
class, it won’t receive an A.
One possible exception to this rule is for bad news communications. In that case, it’s
usually better to allude to the main idea, and then state it directly with explanation in the
second and following paragraphs. For example, in a letter denying a refund to a
customer, a store owner’s first paragraph may state that he or she is concerned about
having satisfied customers and wants to find a resolution to the issue of refunding
money for the item. In the second paragraph, the customer will be told directly that the
refund is denied. The letter will continue with justification of that choice. In brief, the
writer of a bad news letter may need to hold the main idea until the second paragraph to
avoid being perceived as harsh and uncaring, but only after mentioning the issue in the
first paragraph.
With the writing assignments we’ll do in this course this semester, we’ll be able to
actually put a name in the blank labeled “reader” or “audience.” Therefore, we’ll have to

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consider all of the relevant aspects of that person while we write to them. The
questionnaire below will help with that task.
Audience Analysis Questionnaire
Consider your answers to these questions before you begin any written communication.
Occasion
. What has caused the need for me to write this document?
. Who has initiated this document?
Purpose
. What response do I want from my readers?
. cooperation?
. Understanding?
. action?
. What is my purpose in writing?
. to inform?
. to persuade?
. to instruct?
. to contact?
. to establish accountability?
Audience
. Who is the primary reader? Be specific.
. Who are secondary readers? Be specific.
. What is their knowledge level on your subject? (terms, concepts) Don’t guess,
find out.
. What is their educational level/technical level on your subject? Are they experts
or novices?
. What are the reader’s needs? Anticipate them.
. How will this communication directly affect the reader? Will it change how they
complete a task, will it cost or save them money, etc.
. What questions will the reader have while/after reading this document?
Anticipate them and answer them.
. Do they have any prejudices or biases toward me, the group/company I
represent, my ideas? Research if necessary.

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How Our Website Works

1. FILL IN OUR SIMPLE ORDER FORM

It has never been easier to place your order. Fill in the initial requirements in the small order form located on the home page and press “continue” button to proceed to the main order form or press “order” button in the header menu. Starting from there let our system intuitively guide you through all steps of ordering process.

2. PROCEED WITH THE PAYMENT

All your payments are processed securely through PayPal. This enables us to guarantee a 100% security of your funds and process payments swiftly.

3. WRITER ASSIGNMENT

Next, we match up your order details with the most qualified freelance writer in your field.

4. WRITING PROCESS

Once we have found the most suitable writer for your assignment, they start working on a masterpiece just for you!

5. DELIVERY

Once finished, your final paper will be available for download through your personal dashboard. You will also receive an email notification with a copy of your paper attached to it. Sometimes, the writer may leave a note for you about the order in case there is any additional information that they need to give you.

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