Messaging with structure

Messaging with structure

As writers, we are always sending our readers messages:  some are deliberately articulated while others are implied by our choices.  For instance, the structure of a paper conveys its own message, quite apart from the words.  

 

Let's have a quick demonstration: what message does the structure of each paper below convey to you?  

 

 

Paper A

 

  I.         Introduction

 II.         Model

 III.         Empirical Results

 IV.         Conclusion

Paper B

 

 I.         Introduction

 II.         Empirical Facts

 III.         Model

 IV.         Conclusion

 

Most readers make an inference about the paper's main contribution just by looking at these outlines; not every reader makes the same inference.  

To make sure everyone sees our paper as it truly is, we need to be careful not only about the explicit messages we articulate but the implicit ones we send by making structural choices.  Ideally, the structure we choose will accurately reflect the argument we are making and allow readers to correctly infer our main contribution.

 

If you want to learn more about structure and strategy, take one of our writing courses.

 

 

 

Image by Parinda Wanitwat 

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