Sunday, July 17, 2016

I was asked today, as a tutor, for my No.1 tip for getting one's research written up

Bring your topic to life for the reader. Do not narrow yourself down to academic language and reference, on the assumption that that person reading it knows the context anyway. Instead, go back one or two steps and describe each term and the content you are going to be working with.  The fact is the more you look into a subject, the more interesting it becomes and yet doubt hovers in your mind if it would ever be of interest to another. Imagine describing the significance of the research question and the possible difference the answer might make. This can obviously be from the sublime to the ridiculous.

In the instance of the girl I spoke to she mentioned a couple of my favourite words. 'Lamina flow bubble' to be exact. I love the concept of a lamina flow, it is a stream that flows in the opposite direction to the main current but creates no resistance. It is a flow I have often stepped in to energetically, since I heard about it. It is also a word I suggested that my brother in law should include in the Oxford dictionary…what a classic job, revising the dictionary and definitions and new inclusions!

Still, the girl said that this lamina flow bubble was a time consuming scientific process for the hygienic preparation of eyedrops with no preservatives in them, that allows them to remain sterile for 7 days after opening. It had turned out that even leaving the process out, the safe period shelf life remained the same. There are so many fantastic things about this research, for example that it might save time, save money, promote chemical free pharmaceuticals, reduce cost etc etc. the key is draw these elements out.

Be excited, give detail, give background, describe your scientific and social context and pretend that you are telling your Dad or your best mate. Someone anyway who was always interested in what you had to say but you always make the effort to make sure you were good company for. I would go as far as to say, don't let the truth get in the way of a good story… but colleges are so picky about literature reviews and referencing these days, you better adhere to all that carry on so that your work ticks all the boxes as well as engaging your reader. Be your marking tutor for a minute having to really read 5-25,000 words at a time...Make it interesting!

If you need help getting started or someone to sharpen up your work, give me a shout.  

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