48 Writing Purpose

You should identify your purpose before you start writing. This purpose will guide your writing process and your decisions about how to write and what to include. Sometimes your instructor will provide a purpose for your writing. Other times, your purpose will depend on what effect you want your writing to have on your audience. What is your goal? What do you hope for your audience to think, feel, or do after reading it?

To figure out your purpose, start by looking at the course assignment guidelines. The verbs in your guidelines can help you determine the purpose of your writing. Once you know your ultimate goal, you can choose appropriate language. The verbs that you use will help your audience anticipate the direction of your work and also ensure congruence in your writing. For example, if your purpose is to argue, the audience can expect a debate with information strategically presented to convey a point of view. Instead, if your purpose is to inform the audience, your writing may be neutral with no specific point of view.

Here are a few possible purposes:

  • Persuade/inspire your audience to act or think about an issue from your point of view.
  • Challenge your audience or make them question their thinking or behaviour.
  • Argue for or against something your audience believes or change their minds or behaviour.
  • Inform/teach your audience about a topic they don’t know much about.
  • Connect with your audience emotionally and help them feel understood.
  • Motivate your audience to continue to research/investigate and learn about the topic.
  • Inspire your audience to share and apply what they learn to their nursing practice.


Student Tip

Purpose Statement

When writing a purpose statement, consider the audience. Write your purpose clearly, concisely, and in present tense. As you do this, choose your verbs purposefully and limit the number of verbs you use.


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The Word on College Reading and Writing by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.Download for free at: https://openoregon.pressbooks.pub/wrd/


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The Scholarship of Writing in Nursing Education: 1st Canadian Edition Copyright © 2019 by Jennifer Lapum; Oona St-Amant; Michelle Hughes; Andy Tan; Arina Bogdan; Frances Dimaranan; Rachel Frantzke; and Nada Savicevic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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