Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Today's Writing Quiz

Today, my writing students are going to get the following, non-graded quiz. All the examples here are taken from actual student papers handed in to me in the past. Although there are some outright errors below, most of the sentences are serviceable but wordy or convoluted.  

What is either wrong or weak about the following sentences?  Revise to remove those problems.

 1.  In order to analyze their results, the researchers used an ANOVA.
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2.  The study would seem to suggest that males are more physically aggressive than females.
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3.  It has been found that honey bees can detect ultraviolet radiation.
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4.  The study examined the role of anxiety levels in racial stereotyping.
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5.  The researchers were interested in studying the effects of temperature on test taking.
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6.  The patient exhibited flattened effect.
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7.  When the participant was exposed to the test stimulus they showed a strong reaction.
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8.  Charles Darwin finds that there are remarkable similarities between humans and other primate species.
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9.  There have been a lot of studies done to investigate the role of anger in punishment.
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10.  Heroin is an elicit drug.
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11.  They gathered data from 17 women; all of whom were taking birth control pills.
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12.  Participants were asked to sign a consent form before filling out the survey.
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18 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can see several really convoluted ones. Let us know how the students do.

Cloudia said...

Not the obvious mistakes I expected.

Lucky students have a great opportunity today indeed.



Aloha

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, will do.

Cloudia, a main issue with many of these is wordiness.

Brian Miller said...

ha. how many flattened patients do you see...hold the elicit drugs as well...i think some are trying to sound more intelligent than they need...and are missing the mark.

Erik Donald France said...

Gaseous words / not made of iron.

Charles Gramlich said...

Brian, we talk a lot about them trying to write "academically," and why it doesn't usually work.

Erik, lol. Glad they didn't have that phrasing on The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I learned something too. For instance, ANOVA had me reaching for the dictionary. It's meaning left me none the wiser. "Elicit drug" — I hear that kind of thing often at my end, like "illegal" and "illegible."

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, ANOVA is just a statistical procedure for determining probabilities. We use it in evaluating the results of experiments to see if the results are more likely to be due to chance or to the effect of the variables we are examining.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Not bad at all.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, thankee.

Riot Kitty said...

Oooooooh, I HATE the misuse of the semicolon. HATE. IT.

the walking man said...

1) ANOVA was used to revise the research results.

2)The study suggests males are more physically aggressive than females.

3)Honey bees can detect ultraviolet radiation.

4)The study examined racial profiling using anxiety as a metric.

5)

the walking man said...

5. The researchers first cooled to 37(f) and then heated the test room to 95(f) to torture the test takers.
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6. The patient flat lined.
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7. When the participant was exposed to the test stimulus they got really stoned man.
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8. Charles Darwin finds that people are not always as smart as apes.
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9. A lot of studies investigate the role of anger in kicking someone's ass.
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10. Heroin has uses as a drug but only if it goes corporate.
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11.17 women gave data; all of whom were taking birth control pills. It was pretty cool man.
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12. Participants were slipped $50 to sign the pretest consent form. We would have paid them $100 but they got suckered for less.
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pattinase (abbott) said...

Most use more words than are necessary, making it more difficult to understand. A very tempting thing because it makes your sentence seem more knowledgeable.

PS I was able to cut many words from this comment and could probably have cut more.

G. B. Miller said...

Okay, my head hurts from reading those.

Reminds me of what the guv'ment practices all the time: GIGO.

Jodi MacArthur said...

I see you're upping the weights on your student's creative mind barbell. Good exercise!

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot Kitty, it's a pet peeve of mine as well.

Mark, your answers are better than mine!

Patti, yeah, we were talking about wordiness this week. I gave them numerous examples and we did a lot of editing practice.

G. B., shortly I will get twenty, ten page papers with, no doubt, some of that kind of writing.

Jodi, gotta make them work.

jodi said...

Charl3s, I can d3+c+ som3 +hings, bu+ my son would +3ar +ha+ lis+ up