Chapter 2. Write Your Document's Five-Part Purpose Statement

After analyzing purpose and audience, write a five-part purpose statement that defines the purpose of your document. You use the purpose statement to focus yourself as you write. Later, you make the purpose statement the first sentence in the introduction to focus the reader. If the reader doesn't quickly understand the purpose for the document, the information seems irrelevant, and therefore illogical. Indeed, the purpose statement is the most important sentence in the document.

Here are the five parts of the purpose statement in a typical order, plus an example:

  1. Type of document—report.

  2. What the document does—describes.

  3. What information the audience needs—three energy-saving tips.

  4. The audience—homeowners.

  5. What the audience does with the information—reduce utility bills.

This report (type of document) describes (what the document does) three energy-saving tips (information the audience needs) home-owners (the audience) can use to reduce utility bills (what the audience does).

Step 2 builds on the analysis of Step 1. In Step 1, you analyzed your audience and developed three of the five parts of the purpose statement: who is the audience, what the audience does with the information, and what information the audience needs. In Step 2, you make two decisions about the document: type of document and what the document does.

These two decisions provide the remaining two parts you need before you assemble and use your five-part purpose ...

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