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Journal Article

The Effects of Audience Specification on Undergraduates' Attitudes, Strategies, and Writing

Theresa M. Redd-Boyd and Wayne H. Slater
Research in the Teaching of English
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 77-108
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40171289
Page Count: 32
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The Effects of Audience Specification on Undergraduates' Attitudes, Strategies, and Writing
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Abstract

This study investigated the effects of assigning an audience on undergraduates' attitudes, composing strategies, and persuasive writing. Eighty-seven students in an intermediate composition course took a writing pretest without an assigned audience. Then, they were randomly assigned to three posttest conditions: (a) imaginary assigned reader, (b) real assigned reader, and (c) no assigned reader. For all participants the posttest was a second draft about the pretest topic. When the assigned reader and English teachers rated the essays for persuasiveness, assigning an audience had a limited effect on the assigned reader's scores and no significant effect on the teachers' scores. However, analyses of questionnaire and interview data indicated that assigning an audience increased students' interest, effort, and use of audience-based strategies. In addition, the questionnaires revealed an audience effect across groups. That is, students who said they had thought of someone like the assigned reader were twice as likely to persuade the assigned reader as students who had not.

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