When writing a paper determining who your audience is

You will encounter these four purposes not only as you read for your classes but also as you read for work or pleasure. Because reading and writing work together, your writing skills will improve as you read.

Eventually, your instructors will ask you to complete assignments specifically designed to meet one of the four purposes. As you will see, the purpose for writing will guide you through each part of the paper, helping you make decisions about content and style. For now, identifying these purposes by reading paragraphs will prepare you to write individual paragraphs and to build longer assignments.

A summary shrinks a large amount of information into only the essentials. You probably summarize events, books, and movies daily. Think about the last blockbuster movie you saw or the last novel you read. Chances are, at some point in a casual conversation with a friend, coworker, or classmate, you compressed all the action in a two-hour film or in a two-hundred-page book into a brief description of the major plot movements. While in conversation, you probably described the major highlights, or the main points in just a few sentences, using your own vocabulary and manner of speaking.

Similarly, a summary paragraph condenses a long piece of writing into a smaller paragraph by extracting only the vital information. Although shorter than the original piece of writing, a summary should still communicate all the key points and key support. In other words, summary paragraphs should be succinct and to the point. According to the Monitoring the Future Study, almost two-thirds of grade students reported having tried alcohol at least once in their lifetime, and two-fifths reported having been drunk at least once Johnston et al. Among 12th-grade students, these rates had risen to over three-quarters who reported having tried alcohol at least once and nearly three-fifths who reported having been drunk at least once.

In terms of current alcohol use, In fact, eight to twenty-four-year-olds have the highest level of alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence of any age group. In the first 2 years after high school, lifetime prevalence of alcohol use based on follow-up surveys from the Monitoring the Future Study was Of note, college students on average drink more than their non-college peers, even though they drank less during high school than those who did not go on to college Johnson et. For example, in , the rate of binge drinking for college students 11 to 4 years beyond high school was Alcohol use and problem drinking in late adolescence vary by sociodemographic characteristics.

For example, the prevalence of alcohol use is higher for boys than for girls, higher for White and Hispanic adolescents than for African-American adolescents, and higher for those living in the north and north central Unites States than for those living in the South and West.

How To Understand Your Target Market

Some of these relationships change with early adulthood, however. For example, although alcohol use in high school students tends to be higher in areas with lower population density i. Lower economic status i. A summary of the report should present all the main points and supporting details in brief. Read the following summary of the report written by a student:. Notice how the summary retains the key points made by the writers of the original report but omits most of the statistical data. Summaries need not contain all the specific facts and figures in the original document; they provide only an overview of the essential information.

An analysis separates complex materials in their different parts and studies how the parts relate to one another. The analysis of simple table salt, for example, would require a deconstruction of its parts—the elements sodium Na and chloride Cl.

Step 2: Types of Research Papers and Identifying Audiences

Then, scientists would study how the two elements interact to create the compound NaCl, or sodium chloride, which is also called simple table salt. Analysis is not limited to the sciences, of course. An analysis paragraph in academic writing fulfills the same purpose. Instead of deconstructing compounds, academic analysis paragraphs typically deconstruct documents. An analysis takes apart a primary source an essay, a book, an article, etc. It communicates the main points of the document by examining individual points and identifying how the points relate to one another.

Notice how the analysis does not simply repeat information from the original report, but considers how the points within the report relate to one another. By doing this, the student uncovers a discrepancy between the points that are backed up by statistics and those that require additional information. Analyzing a document involves a close examination of each of the individual parts and how they work together.

A synthesis combines two or more items to create an entirely new item.

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is, “Who are the readers?”

Consider the electronic musical instrument aptly named the synthesizer. It looks like a simple keyboard but displays a dashboard of switches, buttons, and levers. With the flip of a few switches, a musician may combine the distinct sounds of a piano, a flute, or a guitar—or any other combination of instruments—to create a new sound. The purpose of the synthesizer is to blend together the notes from individual instruments to form new, unique notes.


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The purpose of an academic synthesis is to blend individual documents into a new document. An academic synthesis paragraph considers the main points from one or more pieces of writing and links the main points together to create a new point, one not replicated in either document. Notice how the synthesis paragraphs consider each source and use information from each to create a new thesis. A good synthesis does not repeat information; the writer uses a variety of sources to create a new idea. An evaluation judges the value of something and determines its worth.

Evaluations in everyday experiences are often not only dictated by set standards but also influenced by opinion and prior knowledge. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine how well the employee performs at his or her job. An academic evaluation communicates your opinion, and its justifications, about a document or a topic of discussion.


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  5. Evaluations are influenced by your reading of the document, your prior knowledge, and your prior experience with the topic or issue. Because an evaluation incorporates your point of view and reasons for your point of view, it typically requires more critical thinking and a combination of summary, analysis, and synthesis skills. Thus evaluation paragraphs often follow summary, analysis, and synthesis paragraphs. Evaluating a document requires prior knowledge that is often based on additional research.

    When reviewing directions for assignments, look for the verbs summarize , analyze , synthesize , or evaluate. These words will cue you on how to complete the assignment because you will know its exact purpose. Thinking about the purpose of writing a report in the workplace can help focus and structure the document.

    Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content | Business Writing

    A summary should provide colleagues with a factual overview of your findings without going into too much specific detail. In contrast, an evaluation should include your personal opinion, along with supporting evidence, research, or examples to back it up.

    Writing With Your Audience in Mind

    Listen for words such as summarize , analyze , synthesize , or evaluate when your boss asks you to complete a report to help determine a purpose for writing. Imagine you must give a presentation to a group of executives in an office. Weeks before the big day, you spend time creating and rehearsing the presentation. You must make important, careful decisions not only about the content but also about your delivery. Will the presentation require technology to project figures and charts?

    Should the presentation define important words, or will the executives already know the terms? Should you wear your suit and dress shirt? The answers to these questions will help you develop an appropriate relationship with your audience, making them more receptive to your message. Now imagine you must explain the same business concepts from your presentation to a group of high school students. Those important questions you previously answered may now require different answers. The figures and charts may be too sophisticated, and the terms will certainly require definitions.

    You may even reconsider your outfit and sport a more casual look. Because the audience has shifted, your presentation and delivery will shift as well to create a new relationship with the new audience. Knowing your purpose and audience helps determine your strategy. If your purpose or audience is unclear, clarify it as best you can, possibly by asking others.

    For a public thesis defense, for example, the audience is usually strongly heterogeneous.