Saturday, October 11, 2014

The art of explaining

Never had to pull an almost-all-nighter and skip all of my classes to turn in a report, but it had to be done. The satisfaction of turning in the completed Mod 1 report (and a long nap afterwards) was worth it.

There was one part that I really struggled with though, and it took me forever to finish. There was an explanation that I thought would explain most of the data. Excited about it, I wrote on and on about it in the report, spelling it out in painful details. I thought it was crystal clear and made perfect sense. I asked the BE writing people to take a look, and lo and behold, they were confused. Absolutely befuddled.

I realized that my biggest challenge was how to explain a concept clearly but concisely. How do you make sure you've said enough for readers to follow your reasoning, but not so much that they get lost? How do you emphasize a point without being repetitive or going in circles? That was my big struggle. I did my best in the report, and I hope it at least makes some sense.

So far, I've realize that the organization of the explanation is most important: if it's written in an order that follows the logic, the reasoning makes a lot more sense. I tend to delve into trying to explain what's in my head instead of trying to map out my argument step-by-step before writing it all out. Besides that, I'm assuming that practice makes perfect... but other tips that people have would be greatly appreciated!

It's high time we catch up on sleep; see you guys next week, hopefully without the aid of coffee.

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