4 Key Features of Academic Writing # 4– Use Hedging Language 學術寫作四大要訣之四:抽離

撰寫學術論文必須遵守某些特定風格和技巧的規範,雖然這些規範不至於讓創作學者寫得縛手縛腳,但某些經濟的寫作方式和表達法的限制向來被視為奉行不悖的圭臬。本專欄為撰寫學術論文的四大要訣,每項要訣都會刊登在TPS 粉絲頁,最後集結於 TPS 學術電子報。
Academic writers must conform to certain expectations about writing style and techniques. The rules are not so tight as to place a creative scholar in a straitjacket. However, certain economies of writing and constraints on expression are generally considered de rigueur. Following are four of the principal guidelines for writers of academic papers. Each part in the series will be presented on the TPS Fan page before being compiled.

4th Writing Guideline – Use Hedging Language

Hedging is a term that describes a writer distancing himself from what he writes. Wait a minute! That sounds a lot like imprecision! How can a writer concisely assert that a source or conclusion is valid and then vacillate about it? Strange as it sounds, this apparent dichotomy actually is quite complementary. A writer can, and should, make important points in a paper with both firmness and caution. After all, test results, experts and historical records often can be shown to produce opposite results, depending upon interpretation and circumstance. Writers need some cover.

Scholars produce papers for peer review and dialogue, so it is not necessary that a writer have the final word on a subject, in disciplines where finality on a subject actually is achievable. Rather, the purpose of writing an academic paper is to contribute to the body of knowledge. Therefore, a writer can assert a truth and base it on best available evidence, leaving the door open for other research on the subject. Hedging essentially invites observations on a topic and encourages additional research. Peers are not alienated by hedging, often joining in the discussion.

Such dialogue is accomplished through phrasing. A writer displays professional humility in these phrases: “It may be possible to…” and “Such results suggest…” and “The probability is high that…” Compare those assertions to these more rigid declarations: “It proves that…” and “The results show…” and “There is little question that…” The standing of a scholar is not undermined when he uses more conciliatory language in a paper. The opposite is true. By hedging, a scholar demonstrates confidence in research and methodology—and conclusions speak for themselves.


Posted at 2014-10-24 15:03:25

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