Before writing any sentences or even an outline for a document, you should analyze the document's constraints: audience, purpose, and occasion. This analysis should become a regular part of your writing process. For instance, if a manager asks you to write a document, you should not leave that manager's office until you understand the document's audience, purpose, and occasion. This lesson examines such an analysis for technical documents.
Analyzing your constraints in scientific writing: audience, purpose, and occasion.
Example showing the importance of analyzing your constraints in scientific writing.
Exercises and Quizzes
For each of the following, write a description based on a document that you are writing or are about to write.
Who is the principal audience for that document? Are there any secondary audiences? For each audience group, describe how familiar that group is with the subject of your document? Also, assess why each group will read your document (or what information you hope to impart to each group). Describe how will your document be used by your audience? For instance, will they base a technical decision on the results?
What will be the purpose of the document (simply to inform someone of what you have done or to persuade someone of your findings)? What effect do you hope that the document has upon the audience?
What is the occasion for the document? Is the occasion formal? Is a particular format expected? If so, describe that format. Does the document have any political concerns such as proprietary issues? If so, what are they? Is there a fixed deadline? Are you writing the document individually or working on it as part of a team?
For the academic year 2019-2020, we are collecting comments, questions, criticisms, and suggestions for the films, text, exercises, and quizzes of each lesson on scientific writing. To help us assess your input, would please let us know whether you are a student, professional, or faculty member, what your discipline is, and what your institution is?