The Curious Relationship Between a Writer and a Reader

The main point ingrained in me after that reading is the importance of the reader ‘picking up what the writer is laying down,’ in casual terms. I have never stopped to think about how if the two perspectives don’t fit together, the reader will become super frustrated and the writer’s work will be pointless. For, after all, in research writing the writer’s purpose is for his or her work to be read, contemplated, and discussed. It might even stem new research from there. It is much different than a journal entry written to flesh out some personal thoughts, or even a blog that is written just as much to get the writer’s energy and opinion out there as it is to gain readership.

 

I kept thinking about my research project and about how I am still not sure about how to narrow down an audience or a mode… The author sums up the importance of these decisions quite nicely:

 

“…readers judge a writer, but a thoughtful writer has in advance also judged her readers, by imagining who they are, what they are like, what they know, what they need and want. And then she uses that judgment to shape what she writes” (18).

 

Obviously, I need to make these decisions before I begin writing, otherwise my writing will have absolutely no purpose and be lacking in distinct style or tone. I hadn’t completely seen this now obvious point before.

 

I also particularly liked where the author points out that researcher bias can happen even if you don’t consciously make subjective choices. Just before doing this reading, actually, I was trying to find a reading for another class with results that matched an argument I wanted to make for a music video’s content ramifications. I read the article but my ears mentally perked up whenever I read a sentence that I could use towards my argument. I would then skim the rest of the research until I found another corresponding sentence. Because it made my job so easy!! All I had to do was the use a bit of these arguments to support my claims, and I was golden. However easy that might have been, it obviously wasn’t a quality research method and I wouldn’t subject my readers to such inadequacy. Oops.

 

Although I did appreciate the advice contained in this article, I felt that it was lengthier than need be. I understood its purpose in a couple sentences and it did go on forever…. The evidence and examples were nice, albeit overdone and a little condescending. For readings on a topic like this, (minus his/her minute insight here and there) I would truly appreciate a condensed version. If it were truly written for someone attempting a huge first research project and busy students, whom would you expect to read all of this?? Not much free time allotted there for those brave souls…. But you can’t win ‘em all, and the author did a fine job acknowledging this.

2 thoughts to “The Curious Relationship Between a Writer and a Reader”

  1. Hi Emily!

    I too thought about researcher bias. I think that’s just something unavoidable no matter how hard you try. Though we as researchers may use techniques such as the Devil’s advocate or even a slim recognition of the “other” argument, our opinion is forever engraved in the back of our minds, and trying to escape it may be nearly impossible! We must learn how to pretend I suppose.

    I also agree with what you said about the length. I felt like I was reading on and on and on about the same ideas. I understood the point from the beginning! Great post 🙂

  2. Emily – I’m so happy to see that I’m not the only one struggling to narrow down my audience for Projects 1 and 2…it’s a bit of a daunting task. I also appreciate that you voiced your opinion about the lengthiness and condescending tone of the article. While many of the author’s arguments are sound, there are several questionable ideas that are worth pointing out. And that’s what great readers do, right!? We analyze and critique, because we won’t always “like,” “need” or “want” what the writer portrays. Well done!

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