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Mar 16, 2019 05:01:29

Hedging

by @vickenstein | 236 words | 205🔥 | 207💌

Victoria Maung

Current day streak: 205🔥
Total posts: 207💌
Total words: 52625 (210 pages 📄)

The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb, and Williams, is a valuable book, not only to researchers and scientists. The booth is written on how to conduct research, from coming up with an idea to researching your thesis.

Part of telling a convincing story, the authors write, is legitimizing your statements. The first way to do so is by following up your statements by "acknowledging limiting conditions." For example, we conclude that A is true, unless B occurs.

The second way to do legitimize your statements strongly resonated with me. And that is hedging to limit your certainty. The authors of The Craft of Research share Watson and Crick's paper on the helical structure of DNA. Their paper contains phrases such as, we wish to suggest, in our opinion, we believe, some, and appear. The stronger a claim, the more researchers would seriously consider it if the claim were padded with these hedges.

The use of hedges vs. absolute, or definitive, statements is a delicate balance. I think about this constantly whenever I write or have a conversation. I don't want to appear forceful and aggressive by making absolute statements (e.g. every, all, never, nobody), but I also don't want to seem timid by seeming unsure of everything I say.

But thinking about this also constantly reminds me that speaking and writing are sort of like public performances that you must tailor accordingly to specific audiences. 


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