For this assignment, let's look at Nike. Go to nike.com and see if you can answer the following Audience Analysis Questions. Note that you might not be able to answer all of them. Thinking through all of this information, write a short paragraph 3-4 sentence analysis of Nike's audience.
In that vein, we determined that in this textbook, you'd want us to keep the paragraphs short, include personal stories, add images and videos, incorporate lots of white space and headings, and perhaps most importantly of all, make the textbook open source and free of cost. We did all this for you! Because we care. So far, we've had very positive feedback about our choice of conversational voice and interactive elements (not to mention the fact that it's free). But if you think of ways we can improve, please feel free to tell us in the end-of-chapter surveys. The beauty of an online textbook is that we're continually revising it, so bring on the feedback!
You also want to use strong visuals—especially if you want to portray data. Informational writing relies on facts, data, and statistics, but these need to be portrayed in easy, understandable ways, and visuals really help with that. Choose clear diagrams, tables, figures, and/or images to illustrate your point. Document design can also help—things such as bullets, headings and subheadings, bolded key terms or definitions, call-out boxes, color, and even white space.
The Power of Storytelling https://youtu.be/1rMnzNZkIX0
List 2-3 strategies that the author of the newspaper article used to translate the academic research article to a more general/public audience? Which strategies do you think are the most helpful and that you can use when you write for a general audience?
I hope you noticed things like the use of good visuals to draw the reader in, the conversational tone, the easy explanations of the research, the lack of jargon, and the use of direct quotes from the article's author himself. This made it feel like the wrtier was telling the story of how the research came to be rather than just reporting on data. These are all strategies that can come in handy when you're translating something academic into something for the public.
Here's a table that sums up the contrasting strategies generally used in Academic versus General Writing.
|Academic Audience Writing
|General Audience Writing
|Serious academic tone
|Engaging, friendly tone
|Synthesized claims/heavy referencing
|Logical progression/light referencing
|Clarity to avoid misunderstanding
|Clever wording to encourage insight
|Focus on knowledge and scientific advancement
|Focus on practical application
|Objective writing with solid backing
|Passionate writing with conviction
|Focus on data, methods, and results
|Focus on narrative and relevance to audience
|Most appeals are to logic and authority/character
|Most appeals are to emotions and authority/character
|APA in-text citations and reference lists
|Hyperlinks or endnotes for references
Finally, one of the best ways to learn how to write for a general audience is to read pieces written for general audiences. Shocking, I know. As a last exercise, choose of these examples of articles by undergraduate students in BYU's School of Family Life written and published for a general audience. Notice the strategies they use to make their article more appealing for a general audience, even when they're reporting on academic research that's been done on their topic.
Option #1: Love: The Greatest Motivation to Change
Which article did you read? What strategies did the author(s) employ to appeal to a general audience? How can you incorporate these strategies into your own writing?
With practice, you'll learn how to easily transition between writing for an academic audience versus a general audience.The last three chapters of this textbook will take you through the most important genres for general audiences: professional portfolios, public texts, and presentations.
Brigham Young University
Cristie Cowles Charles teaches writing and literature courses at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She enjoys sparking a love for writing in her students--or at least a love for having had written (it's always worth it in the end, right?). She thinks pumpkin pie counts as a vegetable, is married to a super hot mechanical engineering and neuroscience professor (yes, they exist), and adores her five magnificent children.
Nicole Clawson is an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University. When she isn't in her garden, she is busy knitting a new sweater while (re)watching Downton Abbey.
Julie H. Haupt is an Associate Professor in the School of Family Life. Across many years at Brigham Young University, she has taught advanced writing courses in family life, business, and psychology.
Jill Larsen is Adjunct Faculty in English at Brigham Young University and the Course Coordinator for Writing in the Social Sciences. Jill is a word nerd and a research hungry travel bug who loves her rigorous academic life. She raised a family before returning to BYU and starting her teaching career 16 years ago. Following the CCCC writing conference in Pittsburgh, PA March 2019 and a visit to the Heinz museum, she's into all things Mr. Rogers.
This content is provided to you freely by BYU-I Books.
Access it online or download it at https://books.byui.edu/writing/general_audiences.