The audience refers to the people who will be reading your paper. It is important to write your paper keeping the audience in mind, especially as you may need to adjust your writing to suit your audience. Remember – the purpose of your writing is to inform or persuade your audience. Yet, you cannot do this effectively if your writing doesn’t engage the audience or uses language the audience won’t understand.
If you aren’t sure if your audience has a full understanding of the topic, then you may have to provide some background information. On the other hand, if your audience has a good understanding of the topic, you don’t need to go into too much detail about the background of the topic. The art of writing is knowing your audience and walking that fine line of providing enough information without adding too much or not enough.
When doing post-secondary studies, your audience will likely be your instructor; however, depending on the assignment your audience may be fellow classmates or even someone outside the institution if, for example, an assignment asks you to write a report that could be presented to your direct supervisor.