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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Saying the same thing 5 times

does not make it clearer. It's a paper, not a lecture to undergrads.

I may kill myself if I have to review another paper in which each section goes: I am going to do XX. XX. I just did XX. And a long winded introduction listing AA, BB, ..., XX and a conclusion restating AA, BB, ...,XX.

I don't think that the extra pages improve the chances that I will understand the paper. They just bore me. I am smart enough to figure it out --- if you explain it clearly, one time.

</rant>


link | posted by vegreville at 9:34 PM |


2 Comments:

Blogger Unknownprofessor commented at 11:24 PM~  

McCloskey's book "Economical Writing" has some very good comments on the "flow" of a paper. One in particular hit home - the tendency to conclude introductions with the paragraph that says something like "the remainder of the paper pproceeds as follows: Section 2 blah, blah, blah".

I've been trying to get away from that style, but it's hard. It's too easy to get into the "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them" mode.

Without all the superfluous "roadmap" comments, papers would be a lot shorter (and easier to read). After all, if the paper doesn't flow without these comments, putting them in won't help (and just prolongs the agony).

Blogger vegreville commented at 3:26 PM~  

I will check it out-thanks for the information. Sometimes the editor makes you put in the roadmap paragraph in the introduction. But the beginning of section one really annoys me now.

I

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