How To Best Determine the Most Impactful Audience for Your Research

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When you write your research paper, who are you writing it for? In school, this was easy. You were most likely gearing your work toward the person who would judge it as acceptable or not, otherwise known as your instructor. But when you’re no longer a student, the concept of “audience” becomes less clearly defined.

As part of your career growth, your aim should be to reach as large of an audience as possible while still focusing primarily on one main sector. So, you want to go “broad” without going too broad. As you get comfortable with writing for an audience and completing manuscript work for publication, this will become easier. To get you started, here is some information on audiences to help you understand your own work better.

Types of Researcher Audiences

The idea of an audience is the crowd who will be reading, observing, hearing, or otherwise receiving your work. Typically, this is the person or people who will read your research paper and/or hear your oral presentation. As your audience varies, so should your style and tone, as well as other facets of your work.

Your instructor or stakeholder is one part of your audience, but not the sole or even the main part. Who will benefit from your work? That’s who you should be trying to reach. It could include other pre-grad students, other researchers in the field, the general public, or a government body, just to name a few.

Defining your audience before you begin writing will help you determine the level that your work should be at. It’s the same concept as writers use when they begin a novel or a script for a potential movie. They determine who their target audience is, what the average person in that audience knows, and what their needs are, and they write their content appropriately with those answers in mind. It’s where the “Young Adult” and other book genres come from, and how the film ratings are determined.

In your case, you need to determine the knowledge and reading levels of your audience, then adjust your writing to match those levels.

How to Choose an Impactful Audience Base

However, if you are in the fledgling stages of your project, it can be hard to discern the proper target audience to aim for. Some ideas are inherently geared toward higher-level learning, such as the origins of infectious disease and the results of protein in nutritional immunology. On the other hand, some ideas are more ambiguous, and the audience depends on the details of the research project. Should you want to study music therapy, your audience could range from the parents of autistic children who want to learn how music can help their child to scientists researching how the brain responds to different tones and pitches.

Choosing your audience base is, therefore, integrally tied to your topic. In order to decide the most impactful audience, ask yourself these questions: 

●      What is my research question?

●      If the solution to my questions falls in line with my hypothesis, who would be most interested in the answers to that question?

●      What will I be adding to the academic community or general public with that solution?

●      Why would a particular audience be interested in the topic?

●      How can I adjust the topic to expand the audience slightly further?

●      What will be some of the objections or obstacles I can expect to have to overcome with this topic and this audience?

●      How can I overcome those objections and obstacles in my paper?

With those questions carefully pondered and answered, you should be able to figure out who your audience is, and how you can write your research paper to reach them as widely as possible. 

Using Impactio to Determine the Reach of an Audience 

Your work is not done after you publish your paper, but now the fun can begin! The next step is to monitor your manuscript’s impact, and you can do that with Impactio’s academic analysis tools.

Impactio is the number one platform in America for analytics for good reason. The tools you’ll receive for free with your membership include everything you need to see your citation count, h-index, and other indicators of your work’s success. Use that data to determine if you met your audience reach and impact or not, and then adjust your next work accordingly. Take your understanding of your audience to the next level by using Impactio to guide your writing.

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