Writing persuasively at a college level requires identifying a target audience and finding a specific focus for your topic. In English 102, you are asked to identify a topic that has significance in your field of study, your work, or your community. Topics debated at a national or international level, therefore, are too broad for the projects in this course. Writing to a “general” audience or “anyone who disagrees” with your position is also too broad.
Part 1: Analysis of your Community and Target Audience
1. In an effort to focus your topic and audience, determine which “communities” you are a part of and which target audiences exist within them. Are you a member of a club or society? An organization of professionals? A neighborhood association?
Next, describe the community on which you plan to focus your writing for Project 1.
Example: Let’s say you’re interested in writing about nutrition because you are pursuing a degree in a field related to nutrition. That makes you a member of a community of future nutritionists. However, “nutrition” is far too broad a topic. Now let’s say you also live in a neighborhood in a large city that has been struck by tough economic times and has a shortage of grocery stores. By living in a neighborhood that could be called a “food desert,” you are a member of a community affected by the impact of this phenomenon. Perhaps you are also a single parent trying to put food on the table in that community. That makes you a member of an even more specific community within that larger community, and being a member of the community of future nutritionists gives you a unique dual perspective. By exploring the specific causes that have led to lack of diverse nutritional options in your community, you can arrive at a specific cause/effect relationship that will serve as the focus of your paper.
2. Once you have settled on a community, identify your target audience. Is there a leader or group of individuals within that community who can be persuaded by your perspective? Or, perhaps it is an individual or group from outside the community whose understanding of your community is important to your community.
Now, describe this audience with specificity. Comment on their moral/ethical values, political views, religious beliefs, assumptions about society and culture,their age, gender, social status, and any other details that will help you understand the individual or group you intend to persuade.
Example: In the previous example of the food deserts, which audiences are affected by the topic within your community? Single parents? Community leaders?Local investors? Which audiences outside the community need to better understand the causes and effects of food deserts? Food producers? Investors with the capital to invest in grocery stores? Developers? Which audiences overlap with part of the community? City leaders? Local entrepreneurs? Which of these audiences can you persuade to see food deserts in a new light in order to produce significant change?
Part 2: Peer Response
Once your classmates have posted their thoughts on community and target audience, you must respond to one person. Examine how your classmates’ thoughts are similar to or different from yours and how your understanding of community and audience has been reinforced or changed by what you’ve now learned. Did any of your peers have ideas for which communities and audiences they plan to focus on that changed your sense of what can be defined as a community and target audience?
In order to receive full credit, you must not only create your initial posting but also respond to a peer.
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