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CRAFTING CONTENT FOR A GENERAL AUDIENCE

General Audience

By Kate Dougherty


The Made in Millersville Journal is geared towards a general audience. 


What does that mean? 


It means that anyone, from any discipline, can understand the articles we publish. Both the conference and the journal provide a great avenue for students, faculty, and community members to learn about topics in fields other than their own areas of interest. I might not want to take a whole class and study a particular topic, but I would like to understand what you find interesting about it! That is what we aim for in these summary articles. We want you, the authors, to explain to the average person why your topic is interesting, important, or relevant. 


Being mindful and intentional about addressing the target audience appropriately is a skill worth developing. A text that the intended audience is able to effectively engage with is the sign of quality writing.


How do you accomplish this?


  • One of the most important things to do is review your text and ask yourself, “Does the average person know what this term or phrase means?” If not, consider rewording it into simpler language, or provide a definition for necessary jargon. For example, jargon is any language specific to a particular field that is not commonly used in an everyday context amongst the general population.


  • Look at the big picture. The work you’ve done might be quite complex and detailed, but a general audience doesn’t want or need to understand complicated formulas or experiments. We want a broader perspective about why it matters. What impact does this topic have on the world? 


  • Along with the previous point, provide context. What information might help a reader understand the significance of your topic? Are there historical, cultural, social factors that can help set the stage? For example, if you are writing about a couple art pieces by a specific artist, and the impact they’ve had, it would also be helpful to provide information about the art movement that inspired it, or how the artist came to be a prominent figure, etc. 


  • Include narratives, examples, or images that exemplify your point or help readers to understand and visualize it. Avoid using graphs and charts that require much explanation; they are often more confusing than helpful.


  • Break up large chunks of text by using headings, lists, and shorter sentences and paragraphs. These help catch the eye, whereas large chunks of text are more likely to be glanced over.


If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to publishing in the Made in Millersville Journal. Feel free to comment below or email us at madeinmujournal@millersville.edu with any questions.



Used by permission of Pexels.

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