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Posts Tagged ‘audience’

10 November 2010  |  Posted in Research and Writing, Type of article  |  3 Comments »

Before you begin to write a research article, it is essential to have a clear idea about the intended readers, their degree of expertise, and their objective in reading the manuscript. A suitable journal should be selected after factoring in these constraints or requirements. The organization, presentation style and depth of the article should be tailored to the target audience.

The key steps in organizing a research article are to first define an overall structure for the manuscript, decide on specific topics or sections, and then finalize the precise content to be included. Articles can be broadly grouped into two types i.e. either those intended for experts or for a general/broad audience.

Articles written for an expert audience

Experts can be of two types: those who are knowledgeable about the overall subject area (general experts). A subset of these can have a detailed and in-depth understanding of the specific topic of research (specialized experts).

The aim of experts in reading a manuscript may be any one of the following:

  • Update or expand their knowledge and understanding of the specific topic or subject area
  • Learn about new concepts or techniques or obtain detailed information about existing ones
  • Seek solutions to problems encountered in the course of their own work
  • To evaluate the quality of the content of the article

When describing concepts, methods and results to general experts, sufficient background information should be provided, including any specialized conventions and terminology. This is usually not required for specialized experts, who can be assumed to have a considerable amount of knowledge. For an expert audience, it is essential to provide a detailed description of various parts and processes through the use of appropriate figures and tables.

Articles written for laypersons

These are people who possess little or no knowledge of the subject area or specific topic. Therefore, no prior knowledge should be assumed, and extensive and easily comprehensible background information should be provided. The use of technical terms should be kept to a minimum and if any are used, these should be explained thoroughly. Attempt to use examples or analogies with which people are generally familiar, and have a bearing on your article or research. Figures outlining the basic concepts should be presented along with those about specific results.

Laypersons may read your article for several reasons:

  • Enhance their general knowledge
  • Learn more about basics and current state of knowledge in a specific field with a view towards achieving expertise
  • To understand specific concepts or methods with the goal of applying these in given situations

When targeting either experts or laypersons, it is essential that the article be written such that it conforms to the journal style. Further, for improving overall readability and presentation, input from subject-area experts can also be taken into account. This allows you to generate more interest amongst readers and maximize the impact of the article.

This post was written by William Stevenson, an English editor with Enago based out of the USA.

20 October 2010  |  Posted in Conference material  |  Comment on this post »

Once you have gained control of your materials and practiced in steps 1 and 2, you can focus your full awareness on each moment of your presentation to truly give your audience the best possible experience. Live the principle, “Be here now,” and your audience will be there with you.

Step 3: Use this time-honored approach to making your presentation meaningful to your audience:

  1. Introduce yourself and your topic – build rapport with your audience and establish your credibility. Use a story or anecdote, a tasteful and relevant joke, or one attention-getting word, fact, or statistic.
  2. State your message – identify your specific goal. “At the end of our session, I hope that you will … [know] [understand] [do, take action].” Tell your audience, “We’ll be together for [## minutes], and we’ll use [##] of those minutes for [questions and answers, or discussion, or an activity in which you participate], so let’s get started.”
  3. Briefly tell the story of your involvement with the topic – why you care, how you became involved, what important results are for the research and applied communities. Reiterate your specific goal for what they take away from your presentation.
  4. Hit the highlights – introduce the main points you’re going to elaborate on.
  5. Elaborate on those points – use stories, examples, demonstrations. Remember, your allotted time may permit you to discuss only the major details, but you can hand out a more lengthy paper at the end.
  6. Lead up to the conclusion – help your audience think their way to the specific goal or impact you identified in step 2.
  7. Clinch your goal – state the conclusion you want the audience to reach or the action you want them to take.
  8. Engage them in a dialog or activity related to your research. At least, initiate a question and answer period. If time allows, have them take a sample of a survey used in your research or encourage them to discuss a point for further research in small groups and then have a member of each group tell the entire audience what they thought. Practice with colleagues how long this may take and leave time for it.
  9. Wrap it up with thanks – make your closing statement, usually a reiteration of your specific goal, and thank the audience for their participation with your wishes for their own successful research projects. Offer your contact information if you want to invite further questions or collaboration opportunities.
  10. Get written feedback – during your wrap up, distribute a one-page evaluation form with statements of the key elements of your presentation, each with check-boxes on the effective-to-ineffective or ‘loved it’-to-‘hated it’ or ‘totally agree’-to-‘totally disagree’ spectrum. Tell the audience you care about their response to your topic and ask them to complete the evaluation. Allow audience members the choice of handing you the form or placing it on a table anonymously on their way out.

What do you think? Please share your comments.

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