In addition to considering the assignment requirements and appropriate disciplinary approaches, you will also want to consider the audience for your paper. The following questions may help you:

  • What clues does your assignment provide about your audience? While certainly you are writing for your instructor, it may help to consider your broader audience to be an intelligent reader not intimately familiar with the topic or course.
  • What do you want your audience to learn? Are you trying to persuade them towards a particular view or action? What can you assume they already know?
  • What evidence is your audience likely to find most compelling?
  • What tone is most appropriate? What level of formality would your audience expect?
    • Can you assume your audience will understand technical vocabulary or will your terms need explanation?
    • Can you employ first-person voice in your writing (identifying yourself as “I”, such as “I will argue that…”)?
    • Is your audience expecting you to write as a friend or an anonymous expert?

Once you have reviewed the assignment requirements, see the Choosing a Topic module for information about developing a research question.