What I Really Mean Is…

After talking about my paper with my blog group, I realized that I needed to do a better job addressing between the sciences and the humanities. For the most part, the definition of the sciences is pretty defined for some people, whereas the definition of the humanities is a little fuzzy. In general, we know they are different, but how? I attempted to define them at the beginning of the article, somewhat abruptly. I stated that the sciences were any field that was based on the scientific method. The humanities, on the other hand, were fields based on the study of human creations.

I discovered the importance in explaining how the different types of analysis for each. A little over a week ago, I was at my sociology lecture, where my professor talked about a period when the sociology was finally acknowledged as a field of study. He described how it arose from philosophy, a humanities field, and became a science. I was curious about how that happened. So I went up to him after lecture and asked him about it. He pointed me to a paper written by Mayer Zald, a sociologist who wrote about how sociology in several ways, should be considered a semi-scientific and semi-humanities field. In it, I found some in-depth descriptions about the kinds of analysis needed in the sciences and the humanities.

I hinted at this distinction in several parts of my article, but I believe that I should elaborate more. And in turn, this will help me in making the point that people should learn to make both types of analyses to some extent, to the extent that will be most helpful in understanding the world and improving themselves.

Well, that's one reason why we need both.
Well, that’s one reason why we need both.

One piece of feedback I was surprised to hear was that people saw my article is as a research paper. I didn’t have the citations conventions of a research paper. But it also made a lot of sense. My paper was filled with statistics and facts, which aimed to support my claim. Something I forgot about Atlantic articles is that they can be narrative.

This lead to the piece of feedback that stuck out to me the most. It was a question: Why does this matter to you so much? I had some stories written up in another document that I restrained myself from putting in. I feared that my anecdotes would be less effective compared to my facts. After all, I am one person, with one life, one perspective. Why does my situation matter? Now I understand why. Of course people would want to know why this important. As a young on a pre-professional track with a science major, a path that some would consider “practical,” why would a diverse education matter to me?

While walking home the other day, I contemplated what my stories would do to the audience. I suddenly realized that my primary audience would be other students, especially those who are afraid that their interests in a field won’t allow them to make a living. And for a brief moment, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to reach anyone else. But then I remembered the genre. Through the genre I’ll not only reach students. I’ll also reach parents, teachers, and maybe even members of education boards. But will I? Is there a better way I can reach these people, or am I on the right track?

If anyone else, I mainly want to reach the students. I want to tell them “Hey, I can relate to you. I love the sciences, but I also love the humanities. Whatever it is you’re interested in, if it makes you a better person and the kind of person you want to be, then it’s more than okay.”

Katrina Soyangco

Katrina is a BCN and writing minor student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She hopes to someday become a physician, although not quite sure what kind yet. She’s not as cool as her older brother but strives to be.

3 thoughts to “What I Really Mean Is…”

  1. Hi Katrina! It sounds like you have a solid plan for revising your project. I had almost an opposite issue with my own project, I think I included too much narrative and not enough stats. I make some bold claims and then only back it up with stories, but using facts would make my argument stronger. Choosing when to be factual and when to be personal is one of my biggest challenges, too. Good luck adding in some of the anecdotes you mentioned!

  2. Hi Katrina!
    I think that it is definitely important to find a happy medium between the science and humanities. You mentioned that your article was perceived as more of a research paper rather than an article. I think that when you are providing scientific facts that could be difficult to distinguish the original medium. However, it sounds as though you are resolving the problems you found within your feedback. I think it is great that you are confident in your choice with establishing your audience. I think that you are covering an interesting topic that will definitely intrigue students.

  3. Hi Katrina! I’m also trying to combine two genres and I would definitely agree that it’s challenging. I’m trying to mix scientific research into a fairly casual, opinion-based article, and it’s difficult to not overload on jargon. I can see how writing about both humanities and the sciences would be hard, but I think you have a really noble goal of reaching out to students and letting them know that it’s OK to pursue multiple interests.

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