Writing for STEM Audiences
by the Excelsior Online Writing Lab
When you begin a writing assignment in a Health Sciences course, you want to ask yourself some questions first:
- Who is your audience?
- Another health professional? The general community? A government official?
- What kind of tone is most appropriate based on your audience?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide what kind of voice you use, the kinds of technical terms you may include, and the structure your writing will follow. Thinking of who your audience is and what their expectations are will also help you decide what kind of introduction and conclusion to write.
For example, if you are writing for a colleague or another health sciences professional, your tone may be somewhat formal, and you will be free to use technical terms that are specific to your field. However, if you are writing a community blog post for the general public, you can use a more relaxed, even conversational tone, and you might want to avoid overly technical terms that not everyone understands. Knowing who your audience is will help guide you through the writing process.
As you write your piece, whether it is a case analysis, a letter to an elected official, community outreach, or a blog post, try to imagine what information your audience will need on your topic. You should also think about how your writing will sound to your audience and make sure you are writing in the appropriate voice. As always, your job as the writer is to communicate your thinking in a clear, thoughtful, and complete way.