In any type of writing, it is important to know and understand your audience. This is particularly useful when you are presenting information that is considered important in research. If you know and understand your audience, you can tailor your wording and persuasive techniques to match your readers. There are a number of important things that a writer needs to consider about their audience: education, occupation, age, and applicability.
The audience’s education can tell a writer what words to use and what words to avoid. It also allows the writer to understand what prior knowledge the audience will have on the subject. For example, if the audience is people who have a high school education with no experience at college, you would avoid using words that are less common outside the speech of academics. Because the audience will not have heard the words enough to be familiar, they may not understand what is being said. If the audience has their PhD, you would be able to use those academic words. However, in the latter case, it is important to analyze what discipline their degree is in, because if the audience contains English professors and you’re presenting scientific information, you may not be able to use some of the more scientific terms. This goes alongside the second point: prior knowledge. You can assume, if the audience members are scientists in the field you are presenting in, that they know the basic workings what you are experimenting with. You would not need to explain as much of the process or what you are working with as you would need to if the audience had little to no scientific background.
This category may seem closely related to education. However, it is important to know the occupation of your reader as well as the education, because they tell you different things. Even if your audience member has a PhD in science, they may not work in the field of science. So, they would be less familiar with the current scientific development than a scientist who may study these developments as part of their job. The audience member who does not work in science may have forgotten some of what they learned and may need a refresher. Ultimately, it is important to provide information in a way that anyone, even those who are less informed, can understand so that there is no confusion over what you are saying. This may seem tedious, because you know what you are saying. But your audience might not know, so make it clear and concise.
There are many differences between age groups that are important to remember when you are writing. If the audience is older, you would avoid using some slang that hasn’t been around longer and speak in a more formal tone. If the audience is younger, you would speak using any slang you wanted and would use a less formal tone. Just like in real life, anything said would be different for someone who is a child compared to someone who is an adult. Also, you can consider how long the audience may have been out of school. They may or may not remember everything they learned. There is also the possibility that they know more than they did in school, depending on their job. If the audience is full of older adults, they would most likely have more practical knowledge. You can tailor your references and example to whatever age group you are writing for.
The readers want to know why your article or work is important, why it applies to them. If you make it clear, say to an audience of scientists, that your work furthers other research in the field, then they will be more likely to read it. This applies to any of the different disciplines that work on undergraduate research. If you have some new evidence or claim that Shakespeare was a fraud, then English teachers would be interested to read it, whether to agree or disagree. Humans are curious creatures as a whole, if you provide something interesting that they don’t know, they’ll read it. This is why it’s important to remember what your audience has read and how it is important and applicable to them. They won’t want to waste time reading information that they already know.
Altogether, these factors, education, occupation, age, and applicability, allow you to tailor your research presentation and make it more interesting to people who may read it. It is important to encompass all possibilities within each category and find the balance between the different styles you may use.