October 6, 2009

Academic Writing

Sometimes (Johnson 1999; Stevenson 2004; Philips 1995; Mathers 2008; Williams and Davis 2003; Frank 2004) it is a little difficult (Anderson 1990; Radcliffe-Brown 1952; Huxley 1865; Gould 1993) to see exactly where (Henderson et al 1982; Spivak 2000; Hale 1975; Foucault 1977; Davis et al 1964; Johnson 1998; Allen 1972; Martin 1980) the point is.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

this made me smile although perhaps the proper response is to cry

Marcel said...

Like.

Maximilian C. Forte said...

Hahaha!

I am very happy that people are noticing this. Some writers seem absolutely paralyzed by fear of getting any negative feedback that they hide their few words behind mountains and chains of references -- as if to say, "Hey I did my homework!" Or "If you disagree with me, you're really disagreeing with some prominent, sophisticated, complex thinkers who have done excellent work."

As an undergrad, a professor cautioned me: there are researchers, and then there are free thinkers/intellectuals. His complaint was that most profs are researchers, drones who read ceaselessly, quote excessively, permanent pupils who never get around to doing their own thinking because they are too busy answering someone else's questions, and seeking the approval of peers.

Ryan Anderson said...

@anon: I hear you. This stuff drives me crazy.

Ryan Anderson said...

@max: This is why I think that literature and creative writing should be a bigger part of science...in a methodological sense. All of these people use the craft of writing as a tool, but they aren't always paying attention to what works for those who actually have to read it.

Just an opinion.

For me, mountains of citations get in the way of reading what the author actually has to say. If they do have anything to say...

I think this is why I actually like end notes or footnotes better than in text citations. If you want to list 1.5 million references, fine. But at least pull them out of the body of the text so I can still read it.