Wired Pursuits

Archive for April 2011

After 2 years of PhD classes, research, writing, and reading of academic literature I’ve finally become used to the thick descriptions, multi-syllabic words, and long, long, run-on, very complex sentence structure sentences (as this sentence would illustrate).

Coming from business and writing for the web, academic writing was the antithesis of what I was used to (yes I just dangled my participle). But over time, I’ve come to feel comfortable with academic writing and have even somewhat adjusted my writing style. Who’d of thought? It’s a cultural thing. It’s not that one style is better than the other, they’re just different.

I have come across authors who are great at weaving an argument, moving the reader from one point to the other, and supporting their arguments with well-written prose. I have also come across those who like to throw in ridiculous words such as “finalizability” or “multiperspectival.”  I typically roll my eyes and say, “seriously who are you trying to impress?” But I’ve gotten used to academic writing (made up words and all) and I find that within academic literature there is a wide variety of styles just like within business writing.

I will likely always have a conversational tone to my writing, but some academic reviewers have said that it’s “refreshing.” When I first started reading academic literature I wasn’t sure that there was room for different styles. But as I’ve become more familiar with academic literature I am beginning to find my style. This will no doubt keep evolving, but I’m glad now that even with the thick descriptions and multi-syllabic words there is also room for individuality.

P.S. Speaking of academic language, if you’re a PhD student and aren’t aware of PHD comics (Piled Higher and Deeper) you need to check it out. Case in point…deciphering academese…


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