Saturday, September 2, 2017

Disruptive Writing Style

In the pursuit of science, under whose umbrella I consider all intellectually rigorous activity to fall, the formulation and communication of ideas are critical. Here, I'll outline aspects of my own attitude to scientific communication.

In an earlier post on jargon, I advocated against over reliance on familiar terminology, as this can often give a false impression of understanding. I recommended occasionally throwing out unusual pieces of vocabulary, in the hope of ensuring that one's audience is engaged in the concepts, and not just semi-consciously following the signposts. This technique is a significant part of a communication strategy we might call 'disruptive writing style.'

When I say disruptive, I'm not talking about the content of an essay, article, speech, or whatever. I don't mean that the matter under discussion is disruptive, the way the birth of digital electronics represented a disruptive technology. Instead, I'm talking about the vehicle by which one conveys one's ideas to a wider appreciation. I'm talking about a style that occasionally strives to prevent the smooth progress of the reader (or listener) from beginning to end of your piece, in order to ensure that your thesis is being taken in.