Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ah, you crazy, run-on sentence loving, social scientists!

My father, who works in public health, often has to read sociology articles/books for his job. According to him, sociologists take the cake when it comes to run-ons (he must not have read much Faulkner in his day).

Anyway, I'm forced to agree that sociologists (and social scientists more generally) are, what my husband would say, "wordy bastards." I ran across one such example just now while reading an article. Does this sentence make anybody's else brain hurt? It makes sense, but it takes a couple readings to put it all together in logical order. Perhaps we should all strive for more parsimony in our sentences, even if we end up with twice as many.

"We hypothesized that this effect would be enhanced when youths were asked explicitly to focus on similarities between the self and successful others or on differences between the self and failing others versus situaitons in which they were asked to focus on similarities between the self and failing others or on differences between the self and successful others" (Oyserman, Grant, and Ager 1995).

3 comments:

Anomie said...

oh, well, that's just ridiculous. i mean the sentence, not the idea that social scientists are excessively verbose. that, unfortunately, is probably true.

sorrel2 said...

omg, that's hilarious. it makes me feel like a genius...er or something.

Practicing Idealist said...

It, too, makes me feel at least a step above. : ) I'm glad you liked it.