ERIC Number: ED216385
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Teaching Researchers to Write for Decisionmakers.
Researchers in many disciplines dislike writing and view it as an additional and unnecessary irritant. Teaching researchers to write for administrators who must make decisions about highly specialized topics, but who lack the specialist's knowledge, means inducing a change in the researchers' perspective. They have to learn that they are writing for intelligent laypeople who need conclusions more than discussions of method and who must be provided with interpretations. They must work on each sentence instead of assuming that the substance will dictate syntax and vocabulary. Organizationally, researchers want to drag through the old introduction, method, and results rigmarole because the structure is there and they don't have to think about it, but they need to learn to structure writing to suit the needs of the audience and the subject. They also need to learn alternate means of discussing methodology, such as presenting it in appendixes, separate papers in disciplinary journals, or sections of reports with clear indications in the introduction that they may be skipped by the decision maker. Because researchers abhor journalistic style, they must be convinced that writing can be readable without being conversational. Researchers should learn to stick as far as possible to a simple sentence structure, where the agent performs the action in a strong verb. Finally, researchers need to learn to write rough drafts and to revise. In other words, they need to learn a respect for the underlying structure of the written product. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association (96th, December 27-30, 1981).