Thursday, 10 October 2013

week 6 blogging question

In our last class we looked at several pitfalls to avoid in research and proposal writing, including some examples of sentences that go off the rails for various reasons. For the week 6 blog post, let's balance those negatives with some positive examples. What is an example of research writing (broadly defined) that you admire, whether at the level of the sentence, paragraph, or larger structures? What makes the example admirable, and what specific qualities would you point out for the benefit of others? In addition to a example of good research writing, are there any examples of writing of any kind -- fiction, blogging, poetry, movie taglines, whatever -- that you believe exemplify qualities that could inform research writing? Put another way, what kind of reading helps you write? Keep in mind that for the purposes of our class, the term research writing could encompass many genres and disciplines.

My own offerings in the latter category would include George Orwell's short story "Shooting an Elephant." You could call it a literary exploration of the themes of ethics and social forces that Dean Sharpe and Kristin Luker unpacked for us earlier in the course. I'd also offer the final paragraph of James Joyce's short story "The Dead" (from Dubliners). Both examples show a real economy of language -- there's not much fluff in either of them -- yet they also reveal that their writers were  sensitive to the rhythms of words and phrases. Both examples also seem fitting given that the Nobel Prize for literature was just awarded to another master of the short story.

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