Accessible writing

This afternoon I read through a collection of abstracts for a conference.  It was a very mixed set of abstracts.  For the purposes of this post I’ll split them into “hard science” abstracts and “not hard science” abstracts.

Some of the “hard science” abstracts were talking about immensely technical and specialised subjects and yet I still found them more readable and understandable than some of the “not hard science” abstracts.  It reminded me of my comment on this post.

So why did I find the “hard science” abstracts, on the whole, more approachable?

Maybe I have a “scientific brain” that can’t cope with more complexity than “works or doesn’t work”, “yes or no”, “on or off”.  I won’t rule this out.

Maybe it’s the nature of the subject matter.  With the “hard science” abstracts it didn’t feel like anybody was trying to be clever.  The results of their work would tell the story and provide the mechanism for any ego boosting that the author(s) may or may not be looking for.

Maybe it’s easier to talk about subjects that provide repeatable experiments that deal in certainty.  In <insert conditions> you will always get < insert result>.  When you stray into anything involving the social sciences or anything involving people do things inevitably become less certain?  Does this encourage the application of mindw&nkery?

There could be a model in this.



2 responses to “Accessible writing”

  1. I can relate to this. I feel sometimes authors can be really fierce and take a ‘I am right and you are wrong!’ stance. With technical papers I guess you can see exactly what it is they are trying to prove because you can easily see cause and effect but really with social science fields how exactly can you be ‘right’?

  2. I love your about Tim btw

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