posts tagged “writing”

New methods are key to developing new hypotheses and testing old ones. It would be difficult to imagine social sciences today without regression models, or social network analysis, or online ethnographies. Each has been developed and used to expand what we think that we know about the social world.

Black and white picture of a Victor snap trap
Image by pepperberryfarm via Flickr, Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

But social scientists, especially junior researchers, too often fail to justify their new methods. They demonstrate their creativity and document the often considerable work they put into developing their new approach. But scholars should take care that they're not just building a better mousetrap.

Have a message. State it. Write nothing else.

Those are the first instructions to Demographic Research authors on their submission pages. I've heard variations on this theme before, but nothing as clearly stated as this. You might say that the Demographic Research editors had a message, stated it clearly, and wrote nothing else.

I started using this advice to reframe several papers that I have hanging around. What I have found in my first week using this advice is that the organization of papers has become easier. My writing becomes crisper. My papers are shorter. And I find them to be more compelling.

I noticed improvement in a couple ...