Adapting to Your Audience
Ask yourself what you know about the professor and about the discipline.
- Is the discipline itself in transition? Do teachers who have just completed their degrees do different kinds of research than teachers who have been established in the profession for 15 years? Do they write different kinds of papers?
- What kinds of research does your professor do in his own work? Does the professor expect you to use the same kinds of research techniques?
- Has your professor assigned paper topics like this one for a number of years? Or is the prof experimenting with a new approach in the paper? (If this is a new assignment or approach, the prof might be more open to having students experiment with a wider range of responses.)
- What kinds of evidence do professionals in this discipline find most convincing? For instance, a philosophy professor might well be convinced by an argument that relies solely on logic and never refers to tangible evidence. An engineering prof, on the other hand, might respond to a logical paper by asking for a mathematical or physical model. Be sure to understand what "counts" as proof in the discipline you’re writing for.