Audience Analysis

Subject: Audience Analysis
From: Mike Markley <mmarkley -at- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 13:10:24 MST

On 19-NOV-1996, John Engler posted:

>I am exploring ways that I can use the skills normally associated
>with other writing professions...to further enhance my ability to
>reach my audience. ...I'd also be interested in any published articles
>on the subject, theoretical or practical.

I've been interested in a very similar topic: using audience/need analysis
techniques to develop technical documentation. Communications professionals
in other disciplines spend a lot of time analyzing their audiences, and it
seems that the techniques they use would be helpful in planning and evaluating
technical documentation. However I have only found one published article on
the subject:

"The Five W's: An Old Tool for the New Task of Audience Analysis" by Geoff
Hoff; published in the May 1996 issue of Technical Communication (STC's
quarterly journal). Hoff applies this old journalism technique (who, what,
where, when, and why) to software documentation, pointing out the similarities
between the two disciplines.


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