The burden of diseases caused by smoking is growing rapidly imposing significant morbidity and mortality rates. Different population categories in search of credible but comprehensive information about the effects of nicotine on the human body are exposed to a variety of online sources. However, it is important to differentiate between different types of resources, depending on their target audience. In this memorandum, two websites, Healthline and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) will be compared to investigate the differences between their primary and secondary audiences. Also, the memo will address such characteristics of writing as persuasive strategies, use of technical language, organization, style, and illustrative material.
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The broad presentation of the health impairments caused by smoking cigarettes is provided on the NCBI website. Since the article is written in an academic style with references to research and with the indication of statistical data, the primary audience of this resource is a knowledgeable population with a degree in medicine or students of medical educational institutions. People of all genders and cultural backgrounds whose age is relevant to the ability to obtain a degree might be considered a primary audience of the website. On the contrary, Healthline presents data in a more easily comprehensive way, mostly omitting medical terminology or giving simple explanations of sphere-specific words. Therefore, people of all ages, genders, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds are the primary audience of Healthline. This resource could be beneficial for individuals who are either trying to quit smoking or want to help someone in this attempt. Therefore, Healthline aims for a broader population in comparison to NCBI.
As for the secondary audience, the information provided on NCBI might be forwarded to health care organizations’ authorities or governmental representatives as the basis for anti-nicotine program development. Community workers or school educators might be regarded as a secondary audience of Healthline since they could use the easily understandable information for the purposes of healthy lifestyle promotion.
To reach their respective audiences, the two analyzed websites utilize different persuasive strategies. The types of these strategies depend on the task an author has and the audience’s characteristics. As NCBI represents a scholarly source, the author uses accurate facts, references to reputable literature, and verifiable statistical data as a persuasive tool to indicate the reliability of the information and the need for change. It is implied that the knowledgeable audience is aware of the harmful effects smoking might cause on people’s health. In comparison to NCBI, Helahtline applies a strategy that is similar in its informative content but is different in the aim. While NCBI’s task is to encourage medical workers to apply effective interventions when working with nicotine addicts, Healthline aims for helping smokers quit. For this reason, Pietrangelo and Cherney (2017) appeal to the emotions and feelings of a reader expressing sympathy in phrases like “quitting smoking is difficult, but your doctor can help you” (para. 22). In such a manner, the authors try to connect with the audience and deliver their message clearly.
The use of technical language is different in the two resources. NBCI demonstrates a high level of medical jargon usage which is presented in the following examples: “peripheral vascular disease,” “neonatal death,” “hypoxia,” and others (West, 2017, p. 1020). The use of this terminology is validated by the educational level of the primary audience. However, Healthline abstains from jargon usage, providing understandable explanations for the medical terms when such appear in the text. For example, when drawing on the harm of smoking, the authors mention the following: “emphysema, the destruction of the air sacs in your lungs” (Pietrangelo & Cherney, 2017, para. 9). Technical language is more appropriate for the audience with a sufficient level of knowledge in the area.
The organization of the text on the two websites differs significantly. The sentences of the article on the NCBI website are approximately 25-35 words long while an average sentence on Healthline consists of 10-15 words. As for the paragraphs, the scientific article on NCBI is constructed of substantial, informative paragraphs ranging from 100 to 200 words in each. On the contrary, the text of the Healthline article is divided into many small paragraphs, with an average size of 50-80 words. This implies that the audience of a technical text is trained to perceive large amounts of scientific information when the target audience of Healthline needs clear facts being interpreted in small portions of data.
The styles of writing in the analyzed texts also differ. The formal academic style used in the NCBI article does not contain personal pronouns, contracted grammatical forms, or informal language. However, the other article contains many contractions and such personal pronouns as “you” or “your” referring directly to the audience’s experience (Pietrangelo & Cherney, 2017, para. 8-22). There is no advertising on either of the websites. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that Healthline contains links to social media, while NCBI is free of such information. It shows that the audience of the first website is the general population. Finally, both websites contain illustrations in support of their claims. The author of the NCBI article provides tables and graphs containing research findings and scientific data. These visuals are used to validate the claims but not to simplify the message, as is done in the second article. Indeed, Healthline contains one picture that shows the harmful effects of smoking on the body in a very simple manner.
To sum up, the identification of the target audience is essential when constructing a text. The examples of the two analyzed websites showed that the level of education, professional background, and other factors might be decisive in a choice of language, persuasive strategies, illustrations, structure, or style. Therefore, to succeed at message delivery, one should be able to adapt the text to the audience’s level.
Pietrangelo, A., & Cherney, K. (2017). The effects of smoking on the body. Web.
West, R. (2017). Tobacco smoking: Health impact, prevalence, correlates and interventions. Psychology and Health, 32(8), 1018-1036. Web.