One of the best pieces of advice given to me by an academic
tutor was the question, But why? She said to imagine someone constantly
asking Why you ve written that sentence/made that statement/quoted that fact. Why
is it relevant? How does this contribute to your aim or to the body of text?
Whether you re writing a scri pt for a presentation, research article, an essay
or even a dissertation, it s helpful to not only state What, but Why.
For example, the following statement gives a short glimpse into an example of clinical
is a severe life-threatening illness.
Aside from the fact this statement would need referencing
(depending upon your Institution s requirements and academic level), this
statement alone doesn t really provide any context. Yes, we know this condition
is dangerous the statement tells us so. But without context, there isn t much
else to go on. If we were to change direction and start exploring the pathophysiology
of disease, we wouldn t completely address why aortic dissection is so serious.
Developing the above example provides some context:Aortic dissection
is a severe life-threatening illness immediate mortality occurs in 40% of
patients, with the remaining survivors enduring a 1% morality rate per hour
from onset if left untreated (Criado, 2011).
This expands the example, but itself needs more expansion. Think
about the questions you would ask when reading this statement.
We ve quoted
a statistic to elaborate upon the fact, and this shows the extent of the severity
of disease. Yet I would want the following questions to be answered:
What causes the mortality? (This may be explained
in the rest of the question, but the link needs to be made clear)
What determines the difference between immediate
mortality and late-onset mortality? (Pathology-focused explanation)
What patients are affected? Is there anything
that distinguishes those who are affected immediately or who survive the
initial aortic dissection (patient-focused explanation)A plan for this answer could be as follows:
Outline the anatomy/physiology of the healthy
aorta, to compare with aortic dissection
Outline the pathophysiology of aortic dissection
Establish patient demographics and risk factors,
linking with the pathophysiology (e.g. elderly hypertensive patients may possess
elevated risk of dissection due to high blood pressure which induces increased
haemodynamic stress to the aortic endothelium and tunica intima)
Classifications of Aortic dissection and links
to mortality ratesObviously, it is best to know the level of depth that it
required for the explanation writing about the anatomy of the heart for GCSE
Biology wouldn t require a complex analysis of aortic dissection. Know the
level you re aiming for, but always bear in mind, Why am I writing this?
How will my audience perceive it, and do the sentences flow nicely? Even in
science writing, you are creating a (non-fiction) story that should be engaging
and comprehensive to demonstrate a thorough level of understanding.I hope this article has helped give you some hints and
motivation, and I wish you the best of luck in your studies, whatever your subject!Reference
Criado, J. (2011). Aortic Dissection A 250-Year Perspective.
Texas Heart Institute Journal, 38(6), pp.694 - 700.