Episode 6

Published on:

17th Nov 2021

S4 Ep6 Unnecessarily Complicated

Why are some published research articles so difficult to understand?

Some authors make their writing unnecessarily complicated, which means that their true meaning is obscured and readers must struggle to figure out what the point of a text is. Following up on our last episode about Critical Thinking, Niklas and Clay critically read and examine a piece of published, peer-reviewed writing. The authors present what seems to be an intelligent piece of writing but unnecessarily complicate the text with jargon, interruptions, prepositional phrases, and nominalization. On the surface, the text looks highly academic, but upon closer inspection and revision, we discover the authors have very little to actually say.

Our conclusion?

Some authors overcomplicate their writing to hide the deficiencies of their research, ideas, and argument or to position themselves within an academic niche. Remember, just because a piece of writing is published and is complicated does not mean that the text is good quality.


The Student Life News opinion piece - Unnecessary complexity in academic writing: https://tsl.news/opinion-unnecessary-complexity-in-academic-writing/

Critique of discourse analysis: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0957926508095894?casa_token=xedOlzzuSv0AAAAA:gGjYz4VkY-D6ns1BisibWUk917osxjaABmzbZETNz-dtkkQjbCkx_hKWUycSq5jkDD44v4HZQv1zdw

Understanding 'In-Group' Jargon: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/using_appropriate_language/group_jargon.html

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About the Podcast

It's going to be all write
Discussions about scientific and academic writing with Niklas and Clay
Niklas and Clay want to make scientific and academic writing enjoyable. We're Academic Writing Advisors at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and we're sharing our ideas and experiences about scientific writing. Our goal is to demystify writing processes, share tips to improve writing practices, and explore our own thoughts on challenges and opportunities in the field of academic communication for undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students.

About your hosts

Clayton Gouin

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Clayton is a Ph.D candidate and Senior Writing Advisor at the NMBU Writing Centre

Niklas Mintorovitch

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Niklas is the NMBU Writing Centre Coordinator