Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

1. This exercise will help you answer the question ‘Who is my audience?’ You are trying to persuade someone or some group of the value of your argument and conclusions. Ask yourself:
(a) Would you present the same thing in the same way to all audiences?
(b) What changes might you make and why?
(c) Can you identify your audience (in advance of making your argument)?
(d) If not, what could you do?
(e) Are audiences uniform or mixed?
(f) How should you pitch your argument for a mixed audience?

2. This will help you think about recipient design. Select two articles in your area of academic interest from two different journals or books. Work out the audience(s) at which the journal or book is aimed by reading the journal’s ‘Instructions to contributors’ or a book’s introductory editorial chapter. Then go through the steps below:
(a) In what way does each article attempt to reach its appropriate audience(s)?
(b) How successful is it in doing so?
(c) How could it be improved to appeal more to its target audience(s)?

3. Get invited to give a talk on your work and make sure that somebody attends who is prepared to give you good feedback. Plan the talk to reach the audience (e.g. students, staff, laypeople or a mixture). Having given your talk, ask the attending person for feedback on the success of your talk. Then consider how you could have improved the talk to appeal more to its target audience