On Academic Writing

31 March 2010 at 4:19 pm 4 comments

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Entry filed under: - Klein -, Cultural Conservatism, Education, Pomo Periscope.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Art Carden  |  31 March 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for this!

  • 2. Beccy  |  31 March 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Indeed. As writing tutor and (hopefully) future academic, I get really sick of a lot of people writing in such a dense, obscure, pretentious manner for the sake of it. (Can you tell I am a humanities student?) I suppose postmodern and poststructural academics figure that if their writing is impenetrable, they won’t have to worry about things such as structure, grammar, a logical and sustained argument, and correct word usage. It makes it easy to hide a myriad of flaws in both style and content.

    If they’re not doing it on purpose, the only alternative is that their professors haven’t told them that one can be clear and concise without losing the sense of writing in an academic manner. I am constantly telling my students not to use ‘big’ words for the sake of it when they don’t quite understand their meanings. It leads to some very funny contextual errors.

  • 3. Mark  |  1 April 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I love it!

  • 4. Rafe  |  1 April 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Hard to know what does the most damage, the recruitment of conformist students to this method or the anti-intellectualism of students who think, “if that is the life of the mind, screw it”.

    As Pete Boettke says “write like a Popperian”!

    Popper used to say to his students “write it for Tirzah” (Joe Agassi’s daughter, who was 8 years old at the time”.

    another nice line from Popper, to Alan Musgrave when he asked him about a thesis topic `Would you ask me who to marry?’, he replied, adding with a twinkle in his eye `A good thesis topic, like a good wife, should give you sleepless nights’.

    That came out of this fascinating interview with Musgrave on Popper, Lakatos and the LSE.

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