COMM 339 -- Persuasion

Dr. Lee McGaan  

  Office:  WH 308  (ph. 309-457-2155);  email
  Home:  418 North Sunny Lane (ph. 309-734-5431, cell 309-333-5447)

Fall 2016 Office Hours:   MWF:  9:30 - 10am, 11am - Noon & 1 -2pm TTh:  2-3pm & by apt.  |  copyright (c) by Lee McGaan, 2006-2016

Last updated 10/5/2016


Campaign Overview and Audience Paper

This assignment has three sections: I.  A description of the topic of your campaign, its exigence and purpose and the substantive arguments and appeals you intent to make,   II.  A description of your audience with an explanation as to why those in this audience are a good target for your persuasive campaign messages and goals, and  III.  A description of some preliminary thoughts on strategy including your goals and obstacles to accomplishing them.


I. Topic - Exigence & Invention.    (1 - 1 and a half pages)


This section of the paper will be divided into two labeled sections.    A.  Topic/ Exigence.  Introduce the topic (product or service) of your campaign and your concept for why it will sell (sort of like your thesis) and explain why it is likely to work at this time, especially to your selected audience (in other words, exigence) and what you generally hope the result will be.   B.  Invention.  Present the key arguments/reason that you believe will lead audience members to become favorable to your campaign -- arguments that you hope will get people to support your campaign goals (donate,participate, change behavior, etc.).  Use the rational model to develop these arguments (2 - 3 arguments at most) and use B+V/M to describe them.


II. Audience Analysis. ( 3 to 4+ pages)


In this section of the paper you will need to write a description of the audience in two sections.   You will need to make use of the information we have covered on the nature of audiences for this section of the paper. 

A.  Explain demographic and other characteristics of your general audience in a paragraph or so.  THEN incude several key dimensions of the audience  (typically 3-5 dimensions) that you deem important in designing persuasive messages for the audience.  Describe each of the relevant dimensions you select in a paragraph or two. 

B.  Identify (and name) at least two specific segments of the general audience that you believe make it's members especially likely to be persuaded to contribute to the goal of your campaign and explain why. Again, indicate key dimensions of each segment that you will be able to use to persuade the segment to support a campaign goal


Read the "Note" below before beginning Part II of this assignment.

NOTE:  This is not an assignment in which you describe all or any of your plans for persuading your target audience.  Your goal is to describe characteristics of your audience as they are NOW before the campaign begins.  DO NOT tell me your strategies for persuading the audience.  DO NOT describe messages you will create.  DESCRIBE characteristics of the audience


III. Preliminary Strategy  (1 - 2 pages)


A.  Present an outline of your realistic goal(s) for the general audience. Be as clear and specific as you can in describing the outcomes you desire from your campaign. In discussing outcomes be sure to include multiple outcomes necessary to accomplish your goal including attitude or belief changes required, behavior(s) sought, etc. You may have developmental goals (e.g. STAGES:  "First I will gain awareness, then I will .... ") to accomplish step by step over time.  (one to two paragraphs)


B.  After you have described your goals, discuss obstacles that must be overcome in order to accomplish your goals. What do you think will interfere with success in persuading your audiences.  Justify your conclusions (concerning goals and obstacles) based on audience characteristics described in B. above.  (one to two paragraphs)



Grades will not be based on the technical accuracy of your analysis but rather on correct use of terms and concepts from audience analysis and persuasion theory, the logic of your case for identifying and using a particular segment, and the completeness of your analysis. As always, proofread and correct errors. Impress me with what a credible student you are!

Paper Due:  Wednesday, October 26

COMM Portfolio Requirement Guidance


This assignment is related to the following COMM Major Learning Outcome Goals:

II.  Knowledge

III.  Application

If you intend to save this assignment for potential use in your COMM Professional Portfolio, you will need to save

  • an electronic copy of your Audience Analysis paper