Monday, February 18, 2019

Why is academic writing so complex?

This article complains about it. As both a critic of and participant in this form of writing, it is a delicate balance. Some academic topics require foundational education in order to understand the material, so by nature they are not easily assimilated by a general readership. Still, within that constraint, the writing can also be more considerate of the general reader.

I tried to do that with my latest article on the collaborative commons but I still get complaints that it assumes prior knowledge and therefore is not easily digested. True, but given the above the general reader has some responsibility in getting up to speed, so to speak. If an academic writer had to spoon feed every beginner in every piece then the content would be useless to those already in the know. It's a matter of depth versus span and the demographic one is trying to reach. Academia is not intended for mass consumption.

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