Along with identifying a topic for your report, you should begin to learn more about the audience who will read your report. In some instances, your professor may be the only member of the audience. In other situations you might be asked to write for a specific audience. Use the following questions to help you understand the needs of your audience.
- Who will read the report? Will they be adults, children, members of a certain profession, other students, a potential employer, a civic group?
- For what reasons will different individuals read the report? Will they read it for pleasure, or do they require the information to help them accomplish a goal?
- What are the expectations of the readers? Do they expect this paper to provide them with all the information they will need, or will they read this paper in conjunction with other resources?
- How much do the readers of the report already know about the topic? To what level of detail should the report be written so that it is neither too basic nor too advanced for the audience?
- What is the audience's level of interest in the topic? Is the topic of great interest to them or is their interest minimal?
- What are audience members' prevailing attitudes about the topic? Does the audience generally agree with the position that you will argue or do they support opposing positions?