Good morning colleagues
Welcome to another dissertation writing tip–the focus on clarity. In a recent consultation with a student and their chair, we talked about the idea of clarity. As we have talked before, the role of a writer is to avoid leaving questions in the minds of our reader; questions mean kickbacks as part of the review process. While students understand this conceptually, the art of writing practice is often a challenge. Consequently, the idea of becoming a radio announcer may be a helpful strategy.
Think about the difference between radio and TV–audio vs. visual. When I am not able to watch my college football games —The Fighting Illini–I listen to them on The Fighting Illini Radio Network. I can still hear the play-by-play action as if I am in the stadium, as if I am watching them on the TV. Why? The radio announcer(s) have to paint a picture only with their words. Their words must capture every detail about the game as if I was actually either there in person or watching on TV with the help of moving pictures.
When I was in college, I remember dating a man who helped me learn to hear art, and I taught him how to see music. Think about this statement for a moment. I am intentionally confusing these metaphors. The goal is to provide the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. As a writer, you have to create the situation for your reader to experience for themselves to include all the visual and nonverbal clues. In other words, you have to help them see music and hear art. You are in charge of how they experience what you are trying to tell them.
In the doctoral dissertation or the graduate capstone, your writing must tell the complete story. You are taking your reader on a journey. The proposal (Chapters 1-3, or Sections 1 and 2) are simply what you propose; Chapters 4 and 5 or Section 3 is about what actually happened. You must paint a picture as if your reader is right next to you every step of the way. You must make sure that they can follow you and understand what happened and why.
In qualitative research, there is a term called member checking, where after an interview a researcher must transcribe the interview verbatim. But, there is a challenge as there are TWO parts to member checking, not only what was said, but what was meant. Think about how meaning may change based on facial features, non verbals, or mood. Are they mad or sad or sarcastic as they answer a question? Do they have raised eyebrows or a scrunched up face? Perhaps they rolled their eyes or gave a look of disgust? All of these emotions and non verbals are part of the COMPLETE story that a writer MUST offer to their reader to avoid leaving questions in the mind of your reader as to what really happened. Dig deeper.
Let me invite you to listen to our radio show regarding this topic: The Refractive Thinker: Write Like A Radio Announcer.
The Refractive Thinker BlogTalk Radio. 11/8 9 am MST Radio Show: Write Like a Radio Announcer
Dr. Cheryl Lentz