AcWriMo: How to Write for your Readership

You need to think about the target readership.  This is important to consider before you start writing because it will determine what you will include in each section. The purpose of this blog is to start thinking not just about what you, the author, want to say, but about what the reader wants to know.

As an example, let’s consider the Introduction section of an article.  What does the reader want from that section?

First, they’ll expect a general orientation to the problem.  If you are the author, the question you need to ask at this point is how general do you need to go?  That depends on the type of reader.  If your target readership is a specialist in your field, then you don’t need to be so broad at the beginning.  However, if your target reader is a member of the public with no academic or specialist background, then you will have to start from a place that they can relate to – this will probably mean starting very broad indeed.

So, at the beginning of the introduction, the first question the reader may well ask is: What is the general context that this paper is contributing to?

Next, they’ll expect you to show them the connection between that general context and your paper. That means that the reader’s next question may well be:

How does this paper link to the general context?

After that, the reader will probably want to know what you are going to do in the rest of the paper, and so their next question may be:

What am I going to read about in the next sections? 

If you start thinking of the reader’s expectations and needs, you will probably get a clearer structure for each of your sections.