24 feb. 2008

What does your scholarly writing do?

Treat, examine, consider, take into consideration, look at...

That's a good start. But those words simply name your subject matter!

Explain, account for, clarify, give an account of...

Ok. You're not only treating, but explaining; that's better.

Narratiing, tracing the trajectory of, telling a story, summarizing, paraphrasing

Now there's a forward movement, a momentum, a taking into consideration of other scholars' work. Beware of merely summarizing too much, though. It sounds rather dull.

Problematizing, analyzing, calling into question, re-evaluating, etc...

A more critical scrutiny than a mere treatment or consideration. What's the next level. An even more precise vocabulary for describing your particular task.

Look over a paper you wrote a year ago, with the proper perspective time gives. Which of these words do you use? Could you have done better work by conceiving of what your set of tasks is in more precise and descriptive language?

1 comentario:

Thomas Basbøll dijo...

Yes, there is an important difference between "This paper is about ...", on the one hand, and "This paper argues that..." or "...shows that...", on the other.

There is also a difference between "This paper shows how organizations handle complexity across cultural boundaries," and "Organzitions manage cultural complexity by means of ..."

The latter forces you to chunk out a list of, say, three means. These can then be developed in the paper.

"Inter-cultural communication in organizations fails when ..." gets you into critique, problems, questions, evaluations.