What form of communication is someone practicing when they tell you what they did, then tell you what the topic they studied is, then tell you again what they did, and then that’s it — no hint of why they did it or what they were trying to figure out. Have a look at the abstract of a paper that I just saw tweeted. I would give this abstract a 2 out of 10 for narrative structure. And they wonder why the education system is such a mess — one word: obfuscation.
OBFUSCATION IN ACTION: The ABT analysis of narrative structure involves color coding each sentence of a text — BLUE for agreement, RED for contradiction, GREEN for consequence. Nothing like skipping the set up and problem as you go right to “here’s what we did.”
GREEN WITH UNENVY
The standard exercise for Story Circles Narrative Training is to read the abstract of a published paper and give it a score where 10 is perfect ABT structure, 1 is a mess. Above is the abstract of a paper in this month’s issue of the journal Research in Education Science titled, “Epistemic Frames as an Analytical Framework.” It’s a narrative mess, and gives you a little insight into the minds of academics who can’t think a simple thought.
It starts with what should be last, jumps back to what should be first, and never includes what should be in the middle. It’s not that the content is wrong, it’s just that the form is terrible, making it more difficult to absorb the content.
You might wonder, is this just the obligatory style of this discipline? No, it’s not. If you want to see excellent ABT structure in the abstract of another paper in the same issue just look at this one. It gets the ABT structure right. And look at the name of the author — it might well be someone for whom English is a second language. Which is impressive.