Audience Analysis Worksheet

Audience Analysis Worksheet
Ludeker, Fall 2010
Use the following questions to analyze who your audience might be, what you want your words to do to them,
and how they may react to your writing. Write as much detail as possible for each question. Getting/creating a
broad concept of your audience will better enable you to reach her/him/them with your message. In some cases
identifying your audience first (and what they expect from you) can influence the kind of argument you make
and can suggest what kinds of evidence will be most effective in convincing your audience of your message.
In other cases you may need to focus your purpose and your agument before you can determine who you’re
addressing. Answer these questions in addition to the audience analysis.
What’s my purpose?
What’s my argument (thesis/claim)?
Who has the power to act? Why THIS audience?
Audience Analysis Questions
Who am I writing to? Can I name anyone (President Obama)? How specific can I be (Republicans,
volunteers, activists, soldiers, students at HCC, administrators)? If not, how can I narrow my idea of
the group I’m writing to? There is no such thing as “this is for anyone/everyone.”
What are some of the characteristics (beliefs, attitudes, contexts, backgrounds) I KNOW about my
audience? How do I know this? How might these characteristics affect the reading of my text (what
will they think about my argument)? How should I gear my writing to reach this audience?
What are some of the characteristics (beliefs, attitudes, contexts, backgrounds) I ASSUME about
her/him/them? Why do I assume this? How did I come to these conclusions? How might these
characteristics affect the reading of my text? Be careful not to rely on stereotypes.
What does my audience already know about my topic? How do I know this? Do I need to include any
of this in my introduction or background to help set the stage? Or can I leave out most/all of what my
audience knows?
What does my audience need to know about my topic in order for me to make my point (background of
the issues, definitions, existing arguments, summaries of a story)? Why are these things important to
Ludeker Audience Analysis 1
What do I want my audience to know? Why should he/she/they know this? What do I hope for my
audience to do with this knowledge? Remember that an argument usually has a goal of getting readers
to act in some way (either through a changed mind, a resolve to donate money or volunteer, a promise
to pressure elected official, a motivation to vote, etc)
What kind(s) of appeals might work best to persuade my audience to act/change/think? How does my
evidence (support) work to build those appeals? An appeal is a style of support that relies on either
logic (facts and reasoning), emotions, or on the strength of the author’s character. Does my audience
need facts, figures and/or measurable support in order to be persuaded? Or will my audience be moved
to act more from examples that cause him/her to feel emotion?
What do I want my words to do and why (offend, chastise, motivate, change)? In other words, what do
I expect my audience to do after reading my argument? What is my purpose for writing this essay?
Once you determine what you want your words to do, return to the first bank of questions. Do the
answers to these questions connect well? Do they match? In other words, if you want your words to
convince readers to go vote you should identify your audience as potential voters (or undecided voters
or voters who already disagree with you, etc) and NOT the people running for office.
Ludeker Audience Analysis 2