Post-positivists assume that any attempt to ground knowledge outside human consciousness is futile. While post-positivists do not, of course, deny the existence of a physical world, they argue that all knowledge about that world is constructed by human consciousness through language. Related Concepts: Epistemology Why Does Post-Positivism Matter? Post-positivism is an important philosophical perspective that ...

Research Communities

Definition Methodological Communities are Related Concepts: Audience Awareness; Discourse Community; Epistemology; Research; Rhetorical Analysis Why are Research Communities Important? Just as people with similar religious beliefs, political loyalties, or cultural practices can be said to make up a community—even though they have never met—those who share research methods and philosophies of knowledge–ways of knowing–may also ...


What is Positivism? Positivism is a philosophical and scientific approach that emphasizes the use of empirical evidence and observable facts to develop and evaluate knowledge. Positivists assume Positivists conduct observational studies to uncover these regular, nonrandom patterns and the relationships among the patterns. Working collaboratively and inductively, positivists sort through a multitude of relationships, seeking ...

Discourse Community – Community of Practice

What is a Discourse Community? A discourse community refers to a group of people who are in conversation with one another. Members of a discourse community share interests, goals, or fields of study. They share language practices, employing jargon, genres, rhetorical appeals, rhetorical moves, and discourse conventions. For instance, the field of medicine serves as ...

Audience – Audience Awareness

What is Audience? Audience refers to What is Audience Awareness? Audience Awareness refers to Synonyms Audience may refer to and other recipients of a message sent by a Sender (e.g., an author, writer, speaker, knowledge worker) Audience Awareness may also be referred to as Related Concepts: Academic Writing Prose Style; Communication; Composition Studies; Professional Writing ...

Sign on door: Wheelchair accessible entrance available. Please see inside for assistance

Conducting a Spatial Analysis through the Lens of Universal Design

The sign in this image reads, “WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE AVAILABLE, PLEASE ASK INSIDE FOR ASSISTANCE.” Obviously, this picture was taken and turned into a meme because someone thought it was funny, which it is. But is it just funny, or does it reveal a deeper message about the way our society thinks about people with ...

Researching Your Audience

It is important to consider your audience when writing a technical communication document.  Categories like race, class, and gender, also known as demographics, can contribute to the way a person perceives a particular issue or document. Other important audience traits to consider are level of familiarity with the subject matter, knowledge of terminology, and educational background. These factors can help you determine what information your audience needs, what questions you should ask them, and how much jargon (field-specific language) you should use.

Audience Analysis for Technical Documents

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop professional/technical documents with a clear awareness of ethics.
  • Recognize and discuss important elements of how culture affects communication in collaborative workplaces.
  • Illustrate and analyze audience while creating various professional/technical documents with a sophisticated awareness of audience as a reader and a writer.
  • Demonstrate audience and rhetorical awareness in visual design while creating professional/technical documents to visually appeal to appropriate audiences.


What to Think about When Writing for a Particular Audience

Writers must have a clear sense of to whom they are writing (the audience) and what the audience’s values and/or opinions related to the topic are. Imagine a history professor who opens her lecture on the Victorian era by asking her undergraduate students, “Did you see the Victorian-era furniture on Antiques Roadshow last night?” Can ...