Flip it!

Flip it!

"You're coming on a 46-mile trek with me RIGHT NOW!  No no, don't ask questions--just put on your shoes and let's go!"

We don't communicate this way in real life.  So why do we do it in writing and expect readers to go the distance?

 

For instance, take this paragraph:

We find that X increases A by 12 percent and B by 5.3 percent, which is slightly lower than previous findings of 13 percent (Pickwick, 2005) and 6.2 percent (Jingle, 2003), respectively. The effect of Y, while statistically significant, is not different from zero. In the literature, hours worked are only found to increase A by 12 percent at most and B by 6 percent.  Importantly, we find that when hours worked increase by 10 percent, A increases by 43 percent and B increases by 20 percent.  Our findings are significantly higher than previous findings that do not use data across industries.  Thus, the most interesting finding relates to hours worked.

 

A lot of research writing is structured exactly this way: it demands that the reader trek through countless uninteresting details before discovering the one piece of information that they really would have liked to see.

 

 

 

Let's look at it from the reader's perspective: it is the MAIN POINT that makes the details worth reading.  So why not start there?  Once readers have seen the main point, they understand the big picture, and are now ready to start sorting through the details. 

 

How do you do it?  Sometimes, it's as simple as flipping a block of writing .

 

 

 

Literally, flip it.

Literally, flip it.

 

 

Here are the words, once the whole block has been turned upside down.

[Thus] the most interesting finding relates to hours worked. Our findings are significantly higher than previous findings that do not use data across industries.  Importantly, we find that when hours worked increase by 10 percent, A increases by 43 percent and B increases by 20 percent.  In the literature, hours worked are only found to increase A by 12 percent at most and B by 6 percent.  The effect of Y, while statistically significant, is not different from zero. We find that X increases A by 12 percent and B by 5.3 percent, which is slightly lower than previous findings of 13 percent (Pickwick, 2005) and 6.2 percent (Jingle, 2003), respectively.

 

 

Of course, the paragraph needs more work.  For instance, it needs connectors.  But flipping the text to begin with something closer to a main point is a good first step.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post by Varanya Chaubey
Efficient Drafting

Efficient Drafting

3 times when longer ≠ better

3 times when longer ≠ better