One final note in Val's assignment helps as well. It says to "assume the audience has little background knowledge on the topic."
Val had figured that Professor Sage was the audience for her paper, but she now realizes that Professor Sage wants her to imagine an audience for her paper - people who know very little about the issue of tattoos in the workplace.
Val recalls what it was like to read a textbook when she knew very little about the topic. It was helpful that the textbook gave a lot of background information, such as definitions and history of the topic, to help her understand.
On the other hand, Val did not want to be bored with facts she already knew. When the information was too basic, it seemed like a waste of time. Val realizes that she needs to build on the audience's prior knowledge of the topic.
Val now understands that the characteristics of her audience - what they already know, and what they need to know - about the topic, should help her decide what information to include from her sources.
The bottom line: When deciding which information to include, consider the characteristics of the audience, such as their current knowledge and what they need to know about the topic.
In the activity on the following page, help Val choose the most useful background information for her audience.
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