Research paper hints: identifying your audience

Writing a research paper is a complicated process. Not only do you need to find a topic that you can research and argue, but you also have to be able to write the required number of words and document your sources, too. You also have to be able to identify your audience so you know exactly what to prove and how to prove it.

Writing for a Manufactured Audience

Unfortunately, many research paper writers have to either write just for their teachers or they have to write for an artificial audience. Since teachers are the ones use usually read and grade research papers, they are the ultimate audience. However, some teachers will try to add interest to the paper-writing process by asking students to write as if they had a different audience. The teacher then reads through that lense.

No Prior Knowledge? Then You Must Build Background

When you write for an audience, you will need to consider the audience’s needs and identities. Some professors will ask their students to write to an audience that knows nothing about the topic they are research. Other professors will ask their students to write for an audience that is full of experts in the topic they are researching. If you are writing for an group that does not have any prior knowledge, then you will need to include definitions so that your audience can understand your subject at the basic level.

Writing for Experts? Then, You Must Keep Them Interested

However, if you are writing for an audience that is already an expert, you will be able to focus on the higher level knowledge. You will be able to work with complicated ideas, without having to instruct the audience about the basics. Your expert audience will want to learn something that will help them expand their knowledge about the subject.

Authentic Audiences Help Students Write Better Papers

Some teachers will actually use a real audience to read student research papers. Having an authentic audience is the best way for students to get involved in the research paper writing process. If students know that someone other than the teacher will be reading their work and evaluating their ideas, students almost always perform at a higher level than they do when they just write for their teachers.

Once you have identified your audience, be sure that you use appropriate language and enough information so that your audience will be interested and can learn from your research.

Posted by December 3rd, 2014