Writing Best Practices: Avoid Listing Information: Stay in Control

Good morning

This week our focus is on staying in control of the writing narrative. Often, as both faculty and editor, I see many writers who simply list information in their paragraphs.  Smith (2017) said this, Jones (2018) mentioned that, and Peters (2016) stated this.  Then they stop, leaving their reader to wonder why any of this is relevant.

Remember, as a writer, we are taking our reader on a journey.  We must stay in control of the conclusions we want our reader to draw as a result of listing this information.  In reading the paragraphs that lack synthesis, the challenge I have is to mind read.  What was the intention of the writer? Why did the writer feel this information was important to their argument or conclusion? What was their conclusion? How does this information connect specifically to their conclusion?

Finally, often the issue includes lack of information to support their conclusions. If you can’t prove it, you can’t use it.  Your audience/reader will not take your word for it (whatever it may be). Using the credibility of experts enhances our ability as the writer to convince our audience of the merits of our conclusions. Our opinions cannot stand alone. Solution? Simply share with your reader the resources that prove why you’re right.

Thus, the best practice is to ensure to stay in control of the narrative. At the end of EACH paragraph, simply ensure a statement that tells your reader the conclusion YOU want them to draw.  Do NOT leave them hanging or to their own devices as what if they come to a conclusion you did not intend?

For example, I see many writers start and end a paragarph with quotes.  Quotes are supposed to SUPPORT NOT SUBSTITUTE for YOUR writing. Always begin and end with YOUR words, to ensure that you as the writer are in control of the meaning YOU want your reader to take away from your paragraph and your overall writing.

Success is in the details!  Happy writing!

Sincerely,

Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur

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March 22nd, 2018 by admin

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