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Justin Magnuson

Lecturer, A&S Communication
Communications 111

Justin Magnuson wanted students in his public speaking course to develop an audience awareness questionnaire which they could then use in developing their own persuasive speeches. According to Magnuson, "students understand the concept of audience analysis, but do not reliably translate this knowledge into the development of speeches that incorporate these concepts." Students often demonstrate in class discussion their understanding of how another person's speech fails to resonate with the audience effectively, and they may be able to make useful suggestions for improvements. However, these same students "often struggle with applying [this understanding] and creating their own work." Magnuson, having observed "student apathy towards their audience," also wanted to make sure his students didn't complete an audience awareness analysis that was "fairly rote" and which "didn't allow much insight."

The audience analysis required students to write a minimum of 5 questions including a mix of Likert scales, a semantic differential scale, and open-ended questions.

—Justin Magnuson

Magnuson instructed his students to create a survey which measured their classmates' beliefs, attitudes, and prior knowledge of their speech topic. They then wrote a reflection on the feedback they got from classmates and described how they planned to use that feedback to "tailor the message" in their two final persuasive speeches for Communication 111.

Magnuson reports that about an eighth of the student speeches "reflected support and ideas that were directly influenced by the questionnaire feedback." However, the majority of the students' reflections "conveyed an understanding of how the feedback would shape the student's speech development." Moreover, in their final feedback to the instructor, most students reflected how they "had not considered how important public speaking will be in their future academic and professional careers."

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