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Gary Bortolotti, Biology Faculty

Audience

Why should I take my audience into consideration when writing?

Your audience is very important, and that's true. For example, I could write a paper that's more focused for one type of scientist, say, people who study behaviour, or I could write more towards physiologists or whatever. And, different cultures within a discipline have different ways of writing and reading and doing things. They're interested in different components. And, similarly, I would expect you, as a student, to write for me differently than you would to maybe a general audience. And, in fact that's something interesting as well: that almost all the... or, a lot of the big journals today require people to submit not only a summary, but a lay summary. And, they do that so that they can actually have Apportunities to quickly give the press ... about findings. But, it's an important exercise to be able to know how to write for different audiences. And, certainly there's ...if you were writing...I always think of, if you were writing for your average parent or something, who isn't familiar with your studies ... it would be very different from writing to the professor, who's going to know that field. So, you have to use different terminology and whatnot. Use of jargon is something that is a trap that a lot of people fall into. And that you have to understand... ... when something's jargon rather than sort of a bonafide technical term, and it's very easy to be within a field and not writing or not realize that you're writing just for other people in your field and their jargon.