Professor Pedantic 教授的考究學問

The professor awaits your query on academic writing, though in all honesty, he doesn’t have a lot of time for you. He is a tenured full professor and working on yet another magnificent academic tome. Even so, he has graciously consented to entertain your question. Submit it and prepare to be edified.

QUESTION: My classroom instructor tells me that my papers are disjointed and disconnected. I read them and I think my ideas are sound and my writing clear. I don’t understand what more he wants from me. Can you help?

Well, I don’t know if I can help you or not. Perhaps the problem is merely one of communication. Do you understand anything your instructor tells you? If not, you might think seriously about switching to a discipline you more easily grasp and your instructor more effectively teaches. However, before you consider giving up, let me suggest that the problem might be that you are talking about apples while your instructor is talking about oranges.

It well may be that your ideas are perfectly sound—perhaps even sagacious—and your writing as clear as glass. That is not what your instructor finds objectionable. Rather, the instructor’s apparent complaint is that regardless of your writing’s clarity and your thinking’s sagacity, they do not come together into a holistic document. Your papers apparently are collections of thoughts and words that wander to and fro inconclusively. Academic papers are not intended to be pointless.

What your instructor is looking for in your papers, and not finding, are transitional phrases and paragraphs that connect your ideas into a theme that progressively builds toward a conclusion. Unless your individual thoughts are linked to one another in this way, they are orphans. They may be handsome thoughts, but, unlinked, they have no relation to the other thoughts in your paper. Consequently, they indeed are… disconnected and disjointed. Talk to your instructor.

Posted at 2011-06-01 17:12:38

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