Activity 12: Know Your Audience
Instructions: In class we discussed how an effective audience analysis can improve a persuasive
message, and we brainstormed different methods and types of questions to use if we were to
conduct our own audience analysis. For this activity, you will examine the extent to which an
opinion column from The Daily Athenaeum considers its audience – your university students – in
a persuasive message about becoming a resident assistant (RA).
to read the opinion column in The DA titled, “Saving money in college: How being an RA can
save on cash” and respond to each of the following questions:
(1) Why does getting to know an audience through an audience analysis tend to increase the
persuasiveness of a message?
(2) To what extent did the columnist take the audience into consideration? Identify at least
three specific factors from the article that reflect the columnist’s knowledge of you and of
other WVU students.
(3) Consider your answer to (2). Did incorporating these factors improve the persuasiveness
of the article? Why or why not?
(4) Identify two additional questions that the columnist could have asked the audience (your
university students) to make her argument even more persuasive. Explain why each of
these questions would be important to ask in relation to the topic of the column.
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