Identify the audience and purpose

Activity time: 17 Minutes

Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet


Unknown Author (Unknown Institution)


A classroom activity showing the importance of tailoring writing for a specific audience. Downloads can be adapted to be subject specific.


Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0

(This resource can be freely repurposed and reused)



Date Modified

Date Added

This information/resource was last updated in June 2021.

This post was originally added to LearnHigher on: January 15, 2012

About this resource

About the Activity

This activity is designed to focus on the importance of identifying the purpose and audience of their report. It shows how a report on the same topic may differ greatly if it is being written for a different set of readers.

Students are often so concerned with getting the structure of their reports right, they can lose sight of the fact that reports are not just a set of formal guidelines, they are intended to inform an audience about a set of actions and outcomes.

The activity has a selection of report briefs in pairs – each pair is aimed at a different audience and purpose. Students have to identify the audience, why the report is needed, and what the audience want to find out.

Activity Type

A small group activity, but it can also be used as a warm-up in a workshop, lecture, or seminar if you select just 2 of the report briefs to compare.


10 minutes to read and interpret the briefs

7 minutes to feed back and discuss

Suggested use

This can be used as an activity in a workshop on effective report
writing. It could also be used to spark discussion in a lecture or seminar – especially if students are finding it difficult to interpret their report briefs or keep their reports focused and relevant.

Subject lecturers can adapt the examples on the handout to use
briefs from their own disciplines.


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