NU Ideas Volume 4, Number 2

 

Nagoya University Multidisciplinary Journal

Proceedings of the Second
Symposium on Academic Writing and Critical Thinking

Pre-conference abstracts

Plenary talk
How to be Clear and Convincing in Research Writing
Paul W.L. Lai, Nagoya University

Invited talk
Critical Thinking and English Education in Japan
Christopher J. Long, Tohoku Gakuin University

Invited talk
Developing a Graduate Writing Curriculum: A Ten-Year Journey
Katerina Petchko, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Beyond Forumlas and the 5-Paragraph Essay: Towards Sophisticated Academic Writing
Paul Wadden, International Christian University

Colorful POWER Cubing: Three Powerful Tools for Academic Writing
David Kluge, Nanzan University

Six Steps to Critical Thinking Skills
David Gann, Tokyo University of Science

The Necessities for Building a Thesis Statement
Nathan Hamlitsch, Nagoya University

Friendly Writer, Friendly Reader
Cássio Sozinho Amorim, Nagoya University

Writing Support in Higher Education: Why Native Checking Services Do Not Help Improve the Quality of Research Writing
Thomas Kabara, Nagoya University

Statistics – A Way to Support or Weaken One's Argument?
Miriam Seel, Nagoya University

Plagiarism in Academic Writing
Gavin O'Neill, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

语言的对比研究与问题意识「言語の対照研究と問題意識」
楊凱栄,
Tokyo University

Apprendre l'art d'écrire à la française, c'est hériter des trois traditions intellectuelles européennes
Tatsuya Ito, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

Incompréhensions culturelles et méthodologiques — Des difficultés rencontrées par les apprenants japonais dans l'apprentissage des productions argumentées orales et écrites du français
Julien Menant, Alliance Française de Nagoya

Communication interculturelle et logique textuelle dans le monde académique: des difficultés rencontrées concernant l'évaluation des articles lors de la direction d'un numéro franco-japonais d'une revue à comité de lecture
Nicolas Baumert, Nagoya University

Ein Schritt zum wissenschaftlichen Schreiben auf Deutsch
Miho Isobe, Shinshu University

The Consecutive Interpretting Approach and its Potential for Academic Presentations and Writing
Hideki Iizuka, Jichi Medical University

Akademische Kommunikation: Grundelemente Akademischen Schreibens und ein Plädoyer für interdisziplinäre Transparenz
Markus Rude, Nagoya University

Proceedings table of contents


How to be Clear and Convincing in Research Writing
Paul W.L. Lai

At the first international symposium on academic writing and critical thinking in 2013, I have explained why logical thinking education is needed for academic writing. This time I shall introduce how the education is implemented to help graduate students write a clear and convincing research paper. Specifically, I will begin by introducing what we do as a department of academic writing education, highlighting our education programs as well as the philosophy behind. Then I will turn my focus to a practical method of applying logical thinking skills to research writing. The core of the method is divided into two parts. The first part is about how to develop a thesis statement for a research paper, which is the basis of the clarity. The second part is about how to build an inferential relation that connects the statement with a major supporting premise, which is the basis of the convincingness. I shall explain these skills through some examples.

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Critical Thinking and English Education in Japan
Christopher J. Long, Tohoku Gakuin University

In regards to the question of whether we can or even should teach critical thinking (CT) in non-Western contexts (e.g., Japan), Long (2003a, 2003b) argues that (1) there is a clear mandate coming from within Japan (i.e., we should) and (2) that CT consists of a set of skills (as opposed to a single ‘culture-specific’ skill) to which people from different cultures bring different strengths/weakness (i.e., we can). The current presentation builds on these arguments by considering them in light of developments over the past 10 years. It demonstrates how the mandate referred to by Long (2003a, 2003b) has grown in strength as reflected in recent changes outlined by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) regarding university level curricula. In light of these changes, a goal of the current analysis is to consider the connection between CT and English education in Japan. Specifically, I present findings on Japanese attitudes towards their own English (e.g., Butler, 2007; Horie & Long, 2007) and argue that these attitudes hinder not only English education, as has been noted by others (e.g., Butler, 2007; Horie & Long, 2007; C. Long, 2008a, 2008b, 2010), but that they also potentially impede the development of CT skills. Central to this argument is the belief that identifying such underlying factors is a necessary first step towards the implementing of policy (at both the macro and micro levels) which allows for the effective teaching of CT skills within the Japanese educational context.

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Developing a Graduate Writing Curriculum: A Ten-Year Journey
Katerina Petchko, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

The language of research is a foreign language to all students new to graduate study, regardless of their native language. Acquiring this language involves developing disciplinary-appropriate ways of thinking as well as learning to ask appropriate questions, evaluate the validity of knowledge claims, and design appropriate studies. In this presentation, I will describe the work that has been done at GRIPS to develop a comprehensive graduate writing program, which teaches students to understand the requirements of the target discourse community and produce “text-responsible prose” (Leki & Carson, 1997, p. 58). The program is built on the genre-based theory of writing; it views writing as an act of communication in which the language, style, and rhetorical strategies are determined for the writer by the target discourse community and it teaches students to approximate their writing to the writing of experts in their field. The efforts to develop this program have spanned over ten years and encompassed developing a series of writing courses with a focus on research, rather than language, skills; designing and institutionalizing a system of mandatory review cycles in which students’ papers are evaluated by a professional researcher; creating a school-wide placement test to determine incoming students’ academic writing ability; and negotiating with school executives to move from occasional, optional, non-credit workshops to credit-bearing, yearlong courses required for all incoming students. I will describe the driving forces behind these efforts, highlight main challenges, and propose strategies for maximizing success.

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Beyond Forumlas and the 5-Paragraph Essay: Towards Sophisticated Academic Writing
Paul Wadden, International Christian University

This presentation will argue that university language teachers should go beyond simple formulaic prescriptions in teaching writing and should show students–and allow them to experiment with–the more sophisticated constructions actually used by essay writers in English. EAP and CBLT writing instruction tends to be dominated by the 5-paragraph essay form—and its variations— which use, in Dombek & Herndon’s terminology, simple “cumulative development”: thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph, body paragraphs with first sentences announcing the topics of their discussion, followed by a summing-up style conclusion. This is also the rhetorical form favored by standardized tests such as the TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT. In reality, however, sophisticated readers of English such as university professors expect students to be able to write in more complex forms using “periodic development”: employing sentences at the beginning of a paragraph that drive ideas forward and link reasoning between paragraphs. Such writing often purposely withholds the thesis until late in the essay, such as until the conclusion, when it has been more fully developed and supported. This rhetorical structure is frequently seen in essays addressing charged topics that members of a target audience may be predisposed to reject out of hand, and thus the essay invites the reader to follow the reasoning and to “reason with” the writer in elaborating an argument and arriving at a conclusion. The presentation will briefly explain Dombek and Herndon’s characterization of cumulative versus periodic rhetoric and present examples that illustrate this more sophisticated approach.

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Colorful POWER Cubing: Three Powerful Tools for Academic Writing
David Kluge, Nanzan University

Academic writing is a necessary skill to have for university students, but it is a difficult skill to learn and teach. Three tools will help teachers make academic writing easier for students: the POWER system, the Cubing system, and the Color Coding system. The POWER system is a system that helps students go through the different stages of writing, from pre-writing to rewriting. The Cubing system helps students explore a topic from a variety of viewpoints to find the best approach to write about the topic. The Color Coding system helps students to go through each writing move of the particular type of composition, and makes it easier for teachers to see that the students have included each move. All three systems, when used together, makes academic writing easier to teach and learn. The presenter will explain the three systems and will demonstrate how to implement them in a writing class. Bio: David Kluge has been teaching English for 34 years, 30 years in Japan and 26 years at the university level. He is co-author of two textbooks, Basic Steps to Academic Writing and Basic Steps to Writing Research Papers (Cengage Learning).

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Six Steps to Critical Thinking Skills
David Gann, Tokyo University of Science

Since 2010, David Gann has been producing online materials for use in his classes. This presentation is intended to demonstrate a method of teaching basic critical thinking skills through a Six Step Process which includes: (1) explicit instruction in argument analysis delivered via podcast; (2) two kinds of online text reconstruction exercises that facilitate noticing of: (a) salient textual features associated with premises and conclusions; and (b) dialectical discourse items used in professional, academic and otherwise civil argument; (3) online asynchronous computer mediated class discussion threads in which problem solving or hypothesis forming and testing is planned; (4) in class or out of class hypothesis testing and data gathering; (5) consolidation through further online class discussion thread work; (6) online collaborative writing involving (a) small group online document discussion threads (in which the composition process is discussed); and (b) small group online document work (in which the abstract composition is carried out). Attendees will learn about a course design that: – Is student-centered – Has realistic goals and produces significant results – Is based on a concrete definition of critical thinking – Guarantees a high degree of student engagement – Uses blended learning and a flipped classroom style of teaching to foster actualized learner autonomy – Provides teachers with both qualitative and quantitative bases for assessment —and tools for performing that assessment – Is a tremendous amount of fun. Gann will show a video that briefly illustrates each of the six steps. These materials are now available for free use by any interested language teachers.

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The Necessities for Building a Thesis Statement
Nathan Hamlitsch, Nagoya University

In this presentation, we will look at what the necessary elements are for constructing a thesis statement, and the consequences if one of these elements is missing or mistaken for the thesis statement itself. Since a research paper is essentially about providing well-argued support (and/or counterevidence) for a claim (i.e. the thesis statement), it is hard to overstate the importance of understanding how to create a thesis statement, yet constructing one from scratch can be most challenging for a new researcher. Other methods (Tajino, Stewart, & Dalsky, 2010; Swales & Feak, 2012) have suggested steps (i.e. brainstorming) that a researcher could take leading up to the formulation of a thesis statement. These approaches, although useful, don’t discuss necessary elements for constructing a thesis statement. In the present work, I propose that before a thesis statement is built, it is essential to have the following: an observed phenomenon and a research question, in that order. Creating these two elements first will lead directly to the construction of a meaningful thesis statement. Unfortunately, many new researchers don’t progress beyond the observed phenomenon stage. This usually leads to a paper that devotes most of its pages to categorizing or describing parts of a phenomenon, which leaves the writer no choice but ending the paper with only a summary, rather than a conclusion. Additionally, when a researcher stops short of creating a thesis statement but formulates a research question, the research question (in many cases stated as an objective) gets confused as the thesis statement, or the researcher inadvertently creates the risk of post hoc reasoning when interpreting results.

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Friendly Writer, Friendly Reader
Cássio Sozinho Amorim, Nagoya University

Argumentation's importance in academic communication is certainly recognized by anyone who has ever written academic texts, from student’s homework to journal paper. Nevertheless, while language aspects are commonly considered when building up an argument, aesthetic and presentational aspects are often ignored, based on the assumption of an interested and motivated audience. Such reasoning can actually be misleading and result in a counter effect: the audience may become bored by the unbalanced effort between the study and its presentation. In other words, this assumption may easily lead to a dense and impenetrable argument that may become unconvincing even if it is very solid. Hence, I propose the consideration of varied forms of argument presentation, thinking critically about the presentation style, aiming to make it as free as possible according to the relevant audience and objective. The main purpose of the aesthetics suggested here is to reduce the distance between the author and the reader, aiming to have a more embracing and stimulant communication, keeping the logic of the argumentation at the core. As I should focus on discussing the matter of distance, which also has its function for impersonality and objectiveness, the difference of communication majorly between experts and communication between a more diverse group, including students, should be properly considered, looking at linguistic and literary tools in parallel. Indeed, I should emphasize that not only grammatical aspects are useful to reinforce an argument, but also a supportive plethora of technics are of potential usefulness.

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Writing Support in Higher Education: Why Native Checking Services Do Not Help Improve the Quality of Research Writing
Thomas Kabara, Nagoya University

Writing a research paper poses the dual requirement of constructing a convincing argument and expressing it in a manner that can be grasped by the reader. This requirement becomes even more challenging when writing in a foreign language. In Japan, as the number of international students continues to grow, many graduate schools offer a type of copy editing service to authors writing in non-native languages (mainly English or Japanese). This service, often called a “native check,” aims to help authors revise issues with grammar and expression that are frequently found in non-native writing. This service is thought to produce a research paper that expresses the author’s argument fluently. In this light, the present paper will examine the utility of native checking in research writing by closely analyzing an example of this service in practice. This analysis will demonstrate that, in the end, native checking does not help improve research writing. Although native checking can help authors produce writing that is more natural, it cannot help them satisfy the above two requirements of quality research writing since the second requirement (a clearly expressed argument) is dependent on the first (the presence of a convincing argument), and native checking provides no mechanism to ensure a convincing argument. Thus, ultimately native checking does not help produce writing that is convincing.

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Statistics – A Way to Support or Weaken One's Argument?
Miriam Seel, Nagoya University

Writing is an essential part of creating a thesis or article. During the course of writing, theories are introduced and connected and the line of argumentation is carefully built. Nowadays, students and researchers from various fields rely on data in order to test their research hypotheses or to support their arguments. Often, these data are quantitative in nature and are analyzed with the help of statistics. If statistical methods are used properly, they are a powerful tool to support one`s argumentation. However, there is also the danger of misusing or abusing statistics or simply making mistakes. For instance, although graphs are a good option to give the reader an idea about certain data, they can also be manipulated in a way so that readers have a hard time to understand the graph. Furthermore, data might be interpreted incorrectly, for instance assuming causes and effects where there are none. In turn, all those mistakes may weaken one's argumentation: If the data do not support or, even worse, contradict one's line of argumentation, the article or thesis is meaningless. In this paper, I will discuss common problems in statistics related to data analysis, data presentation as well as data interpretation.

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Plagiarism in Academic Writing
Gavin O'Neill, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Plagiarism has been and continues to be an issue in tertiary level and professional academic work (Howard 1995; Sun, 2013). There has been a good deal of valuable research that tries to identify and clarify the students’ perspectives on plagiarism (e.g., Abasi & Graves, 2008; Eret & Gokmenoglu, 2010, Gu & Brooks, 2008); however, students may not be the only parties whose perspectives on plagiarism require exploration. For some years, a growing body of research has been calling into question whether there exists any clear and shared understanding of what plagiarism is in the 21st century (e.g., Marsh, 2004; Sutherland-Smith, 2005). This presentation will provide opportunities for the attendees to redefine and hone their concepts of plagiarism in the 21st century by sharing their reactions with the other attendees to cases of possible plagiarism in work done by students from various countries and cultures. These cases—and the reactions to them—will then be further analyzed in light of research concerning the citation practices of professional and senior academics also from various countries and cultures. The ultimate purpose of the presentation is to encourage “an enlarged range of definitions and motivations for plagiarism, which in turn enlarges the range of acceptable responses” (Howard, 1995, p. 769).

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语言的对比研究与问题意识「言語の対照研究と問題意識」
楊凱栄,
Tokyo University

本讲座主要讲述论文写作时应如何发现问题,然后使用什么方法去分析和论证问题。通过一系列的分析和论证,我们不仅可以解决一些实际问题,而且还能学到一些语言理论。我们将通过一些具体事例来说明汉日语言中存在的差异及其这些差异产生的动因。

本講演は論文執筆の際に、どのようにして問題を発見すべきかをお話しするとともに、発見した問題をどのような方法を用い、如何に分析し、如何に論証するか を説明する。このような作業を通して、実際に問題を解決することができるだけでなく、言語理論の勉強もできる。実際に講演において具体的な事例を通して日 中両言語の差異とその差異をもたらす動因などについても明らかにする予定である。

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Apprendre l'art d'écrire à la française, c'est hériter des trois traditions intellectuelles européennes
Tatsuya Ito, Nagoya University of Foreign Studies

La dissertation qui constitue la base de toute écriture française (mémoire, thèse, article de presse, compte-rendu) est aussi un fondement de la pensée à l’européenne. Cette forme d’argumentation écrite en trois parties sur un sujet précis peut s’opposer à l’idée d’écriture à la japonaise, libre et émotionnelle, majoritairement présentée en quatre parties. Je suis convaincu qu’il est possible et même nécessaire d’apprendre cette forme écrite logique pour transmettre une idée dans une des langues européennes. En effet, la dissertation est une matière éducative même pour les Français, qui s’y exercent dans la dernière étape de la formation secondaire. Elle intègre les trois traditions de la pensée européenne : raison (17e siècle), critique (18e siècle) et dialectique (19e siècle) et demande aux élèves de maîtriser ces trois facultés intellectuelles. Ainsi, les Japonais ou les non-Européens qui apprennent la dissertation française s’imprègnent de ces traditions intellectuelles. Il s’agit donc, sous forme d’un apprentissage d’une langue étrangère, d’entreprendre une formation intellectuelle complète.

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Incompréhensions culturelles et méthodologiques — Des difficultés rencontrées par les apprenants japonais dans l'apprentissage des productions argumentées orales et écrites du français
Julien Menant, Alliance Française de Nagoya

Dès le niveau B2, la maitrise des outils méthodologiques est requise pour mettre ses idées en valeur tant dans les productions écrites qu’orales ; ces compétences pragmatiques comptent même pour moitié dans l’évaluation qu’on en fait. Or, ce que les Français pensent souvent n’être qu’une simple recette d’agencement formel des idées – stigmatisé par le fameux et réducteur « thèse-antithèse-stynthèse » – semble exiger au contraire chez les apprenants de longs effort d’adaptation et de familiarisation. Nous nous proposerons ici d’aborder les points d’incompréhension récurrents lors des cours de préparation aux diplômes du DELF et du DALF, tant du point de vue des apprenants comprenant rarement les attentes d’une épreuve d’argumentation en français que de celui des examinateurs ayant des préjugés culturels en matière de méthodologie.

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Communication interculturelle et logique textuelle dans le monde académique: des difficultés rencontrées concernant l'évaluation des articles lors de la direction d'un numéro franco-japonais d'une revue à comité de lecture
Nicolas Baumert, Nagoya University

En se basant sur l’expérience de la direction d’un numéro spécial franco-japonais d’une revue à comité de lecture publié en 2014, la communication montre les difficultés rencontrée dans l’évaluation des articles. Les différentes propositions rédigées par des auteurs japonais ont posé en effet beaucoup de problèmes aux évaluateurs français, non pas sur leur qualité scientifique, mais dans la logique de l’argumentation qui souvent n’a pas été comprise. Les propositions traduites ont quant à elles posé un problème aux traducteurs qui ont dû souvent beaucoup transformer le texte original en vu de le faire accepter. A partir des retours d’évaluation et du travail de compromis des directeurs du numéro, nous détaillons ces difficultés qui se situent principalement dans les différences de logiques textuelles propres aux deux langues.

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Ein Schritt zum wissenschaftlichen Schreiben auf Deutsch
Miho Isobe, Shinshu University

Mein Beitrag befasst sich mit einer empirischen Analyse des Verfassens von Leserbriefen bei japanischen Deutschlernenden. Das Ziel der Arbeit liegt in einer didaktischen Strategieerstellung für das wissenschaftlichen Schreiben auf Deutsch. Einen Leserbrief schreiben ist eine der Aufgaben in der Sprachprüfung für das Niveau B2, die heute am Goethe-Institut abgelegt wird. Die Kandidaten müssen möglichst logisch und grammatikalisch richtig einen deutschen Text in Form eines Leserbriefes formulieren. Bei der Textsorte „Leserbrief“ fasst man kurz den Inhalt eines Artikels zusammen und schreibt seine Meinung dazu. Der Text soll thematisch wichtige Punkte des Artikels treffend aufgreifen, um anschließend überzeugende Argumente für oder gegen dessen Hauptaussage vorzutragen. Diese Fertigkeit dient als didaktisch ergiebiges Mittel zur Verbesserung der akademischen Schreibkompetenz auf Deutsch. Ausgehend von diesem Standpunkt zielt die vorliegende Arbeit darauf ab, methodische Hinweise zum Schreiben eines Leserbriefes als ein Schritt zum wissenschaftlichen Schreiben auf Deutsch zu geben. Die Arbeit setzt sich vor allem mit der Frage auseinander, wie sich der Leserbrief im Deutschen als Fremdsprache konstituieren soll oder kann. Zur Analyse verwende ich Texte, die von StudentInnen, die Germanistikkurse an der Universität Shinshu belegt haben, als Hausaufgabe geschrieben wurden, denn die GermanistikstudentInnen müssen bei der Abschlussarbeit eine zweiseitige Zusammenfassung auf Deutsch schreiben. Dazu üben sie schrittweise das wissenschaftliche Schreiben auf Deutsch. In dieser Hinsicht soll dann untersucht werden, wie stilistisch adäquat die StudentInnen einen Leserbrief formulieren können, wie die wichtigen Informationen zum Ausdruck kommen und wie die textuelle Kohärenz realisiert wird. So kann der komplette Gedankengang beim wissenschftlichen Schreiben beleuchtet werden.

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The Consecutive Interpretting Approach and its Potential for Academic Presentations and Writing
Hideki Iizuka, Jichi Medical University

In an English as a foreign language (EFL) environment in which students have very limited exposure to English, it is difficult to effectively train them to improve their verbal communication skills in English. In order to address this issue, the author has developed a prosody-oriented instruction method, the Consecutive Interpreting Approach, the basis of which is comprised of shadowing to enhance students’ prosodic awareness and reproduction to induce their own utterances. The approach has a potential for academic presentations in English held by Japanese, since it is an effective compromise between reading out a manuscript and free talking. The initial aim of this approach was to develop EFL students’ speaking skills, however, when writing activities to reproduce texts were included to analyze Interlanguage data, 96 students succeeded in accurately writing out 82.33% of the text consisting of 167 words. The same approach was used in Medical English Communication class at our institute. Again, many students were able to accurately write out much of the text, which suggests that this approach could likely be expanded into academic writing as well. On the day of the presentation, the author will discuss the theoretical background of this approach and introduce both a video recorded in a class and samples of written reproduction produced by students to show an audience how this approach actually functions in a classroom.

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Akademische Kommunikation: Grundelemente Akademischen Schreibens und ein Plädoyer für interdisziplinäre Transparenz
Markus Rude, Nagoya University

Soll akademische Kommunikation gelingen, so müssen die Kommunikationspartner eine gemeinsame Sprache sprechen. Egal ob im geiseswissenschaftlichen oder technischen Bereich, ein wissenschaftlicher Autor muss wissen, dass wissenschaftliches Schreiben das Gegenteil eines Romans ist. Während dort der Leser selbst auf Entdeckungsreise geht, muss hier der Autor den Leser an die Hand nehmen, muss ihm Wegweiser zur Verfügung stellen, muss eine klare und präzise Sprache sprechen, muss einen roten Faden definieren und behalten und somit doch eine Geschichte erzählen – aber eine ganz anderer Art. Mit den erforderlichen Grundelementen Akademischen Schreibens beginnt der Vortrag. Er stellt dann aber die These auf, dass mit einer gemeinsamen Wissenschaftssprache erst eine notwendige Bedingung für fruchtbare Kommunikation erfüllt ist. In einer immer stärker vernetzten Welt dürfen unter Akademikern keine “Kommunikationsinseln” entstehen, innerhalb derer Kommunikation gelingt, zwischen denen aber nur noch ganz wenig kommuniziert wird – besonders zwischen geisteswissenschaftlichen und technisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Disziplinen. Das Gegenteil ist erforderlich, wenn die Wissenschaft ihre Gesamtverantwortung in der Gesellschaft ernst nimmt. Darum besteht eine weitere Bedingung an akademische Kommunikation in der interdisziplinären Transparenz: Autoren sollten immer auch für die “secondary audience” schreiben, für wissenschaftlich gebildete Leser, die NICHT vom Fach sind. Im Beitrag werden darum auch Anregungen gegeben, wie wissenschaftliche Texte gestaltet werden können, um auch Nicht-Fachleuten teilhaben zu lassen an Forschungsfrage, Methodik, Ergebnissen und Relevanz. Im Ausblick wird von einem Versuch an der Universität Nagoya berichtet werden, durch sogenannte 5-Minuten-Präsentationen mit anschließenden 20-minütigen Diskussionen die Sprachlosigkeit zwischen den Disziplinen zu brechen.

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Table of contents

NU Ideas Volume 4, Number 2

Guest editor
Chad Nilep

NU Ideas editorial board
Hsu Peihsin
Isabelle Vea
Wang Qian Ran

Contact NU Ideas:
nuideas@ilas.nagoya-u.ac.jp