Developing Writing Skills: Purpose and Audience

Here’s a set of questions that I might use as a generic pre and post activity for a portion of my proposed Writing Workshop that I’ve been thinking about.

Purpose and audience
Purpose and audience


I want to have various interchangeable parts that tutors can put together, so this is one attempt at constructing a set of questions that learners might use when assessing their own work or that could be adapted for peer assessing one another’s work with regards to one of the writing skills focus areas: purpose and audience.

These are for adult learners working on their literacy skills in an adult education context.

Front loading: Words about writing that I need to know

  • Purpose
  • Goals
  • Register
  • Tone

Possible questions to ask before writing a draft

  1. What is my overall purpose for writing here? In other words, why am I writing?
  2. Can I break down my overall purpose for writing into a series of purpose-related goals? In other words, what are my specific goals here with regards to this situation and audience?
  3. How can I use these goals to shape how I plan, compose, and revise my writing?
  4. Who am I writing for? In other words, who is my audience?
  5. What is (and is not) appropriate for me to say to this audience?

Possible questions to ask after writing a draft

  1. Purpose: Is it obvious why I wrote this? Have I achieved my purpose? 
  2. Communicative effect: Have I achieved the specific, purpose-related task goals that I set earlier? Have I oriented the reader? Have I supported the reader’s understanding? Have I influenced the reader?
  3. Register: Is it obvious that I know who I’m writing to? Have I addressed the reader in a way that is appropriate for the task? Does this have a written or oral “feel”? Which is more appropriate?
  4. Information: Have I provided enough information? Are there any gaps? Is the information relevant to the task here? Have I expressed myself clearly? Is my information easily understood?

What do you think? What else could I add (or take out)?

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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