Learn to write badly Chapter One.pdf (80.1 kB)

Learn to write badly: how to succeed in the social sciences

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posted on 24.07.2014 by Michael Billig
Modern academia is increasingly competitive yet the writing style of social scientists is routinely poor and continues to deteriorate. Are social science postgraduates being taught to write poorly? What conditions adversely affect the way they write? And which linguistic features contribute towards this bad writing? Michael Billig's witty and entertaining book analyses these questions in a quest to pinpoint exactly what is going wrong with the way social scientists write. Using examples from diverse fields such as linguistics, sociology and experimental social psychology, Billig shows how technical terminology is regularly less precise than simpler language. He demonstrates that there are linguistic problems with the noun-based terminology that social scientists habitually use - 'reification' or 'nominalization' rather than the corresponding verbs 'reify' or 'nominalize'. According to Billig, social scientists not only use their terminology to exaggerate and to conceal, but also to promote themselves and their work.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Citation

BILLIG, M., 2013. Learn to write badly: how to succeed in the social sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 244pp.

Publisher

Cambridge University Press © Michael Billig

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date

2013

Notes

This is the introductory chapter (pp.1-11) from the book, Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences [Cambridge University Press © Michael Billig]. Reprinted with permission http://www.cambridge.org/

ISBN

978-1-107-67698-5

Language

en

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