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S4 Ep6 Unnecessarily Complicated
Episode 617th November 2021 • It's going to be all write • NMBU Writing Centre
00:00:00 01:18:16

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Why are some published research articles so difficult to understand?

Some authors make their writing unnecessarily complicated, which means that their true meaning is obscured and readers must struggle to figure out what the point of a text is. Following up on our last episode about Critical Thinking, Niklas and Clay critically read and examine a piece of published, peer-reviewed writing. The authors present what seems to be an intelligent piece of writing but unnecessarily complicate the text with jargon, interruptions, prepositional phrases, and nominalization. On the surface, the text looks highly academic, but upon closer inspection and revision, we discover the authors have very little to actually say.

Our conclusion?

Some authors overcomplicate their writing to hide the deficiencies of their research, ideas, and argument or to position themselves within an academic niche. Remember, just because a piece of writing is published and is complicated does not mean that the text is good quality.

Resources

The Student Life News opinion piece - Unnecessary complexity in academic writing: https://tsl.news/opinion-unnecessary-complexity-in-academic-writing/

Critique of discourse analysis: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0957926508095894?casa_token=xedOlzzuSv0AAAAA:gGjYz4VkY-D6ns1BisibWUk917osxjaABmzbZETNz-dtkkQjbCkx_hKWUycSq5jkDD44v4HZQv1zdw

Understanding 'In-Group' Jargon: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/using_appropriate_language/group_jargon.html

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