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Chloe Tan

December 2nd, 2015

On Academic Writing – The Threads of Simplicity

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Chloe Tan

December 2nd, 2015

On Academic Writing – The Threads of Simplicity

0 comments

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Here is my endeavour at simplicity in prose, whether it be a feeble attempt or solid progress remains uncertain. Yet I would like to divulge my experiences in academic essay writing at this institution which may earn shared sentiments from some of you, or serve as a hint of what to expect from writing in university.

As a first-year law undergraduate, I’ve recently obtained some feedback for my first essays. A common pattern is to be traced across all pieces which remarked that I might benefit well from a greater simplicity and straightforwardness in expression, rather than detracting into the abstract and conceptual forms of writing which I’m unfortunately accustomed to. Since this is an experimental piece, you, dear observant reader, might notice the struggle I’m facing here in clinging to the essence of words while naturally gravitating towards the edge of the denominator in striving for lucidity.

It is of my belief that thought patterns dictate one’s expression whether in speech or writing, yet filters function as adaptive measures in order to tailor the output for greater suitability to the medium addressed. In a social science-focused institution such as LSE, directness in expression becomes a challenge from certain aspects despite its importance in all types of writing given that the audience intended is not constrained to a hipster, chaotic bunch.

This challenge exists due to the inherent ambiguity of the social sciences open to various interpretations and opinions from opposing academics who all represent different “schools of thought”. When all considerations lie in a grey area, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the exact answer which one can affirm with conviction without addressing the other relevant contradicting points of arguments as well. Perhaps this is a phenomenon restricted only to the domain of law, but others with “qualitative” elements in their degree have also chimed in with agreement. For those with “quantitative”-based degrees, problem sets with the one universal answer shall be their sole nemesis or oasis, depending on one’s perception.
Achieving clarity in thought which manifests in the form of writing structured for clarity is the formula to a legible and good essay. Even if one has profound ideas, it may end up being submerged beneath the drapes of flair and flamboyance. After all, it might be wiser to save that side of you for other purposes, like blogging!

Image: diary writing by Fredrik Rubensson, CC BY-SA 2.0

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Chloe Tan

Posted In: Student life

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