Sunday, March 2, 2014

Academic Lite

On rewriting an academic article as a magazine article…
Stephen: Ever cut an academic article back to a magazine article?

Meryl: Yes. You have to think of your audience. Academic articles are for other researchers in your field. Magazine articles could be for anyone trawling through a midden of general articles. Best to scrap the original academic article and start over.

Stephen: I read somewhere, “Identify your audience before you start to write.” Then I read that some other writer suggested, “Forget about the audience. Just write your story passionately.” 

Meryl: A confusion of voice and passion. But both are valid. In a magazine article, you don’t use footnotes or references, it’s more like an essay. You plunge in and tell the story. Cover the five wh words.

Stephen: And the one H word. How.

Academic articles tend to be longer, more complex, with citations, perhaps peer reviewed. Magazine articles are generally shorter, written simply and clearly for a general audience.

So what is academic lite? Cite a reference and add a table or two perhaps but don’t go overboard and flood it with jargon. Strunk and White principles still apply.

Acknowledgements to a scholar of illuminated manuscripts.

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