3.6- Paragraph Editing II

دوره: Writing in the Sciences / فصل: strong paragraphs / درس 6

3.6- Paragraph Editing II

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Second sentence says, "It seems almost counterintuitive to suggest an energy dense food that is high in sugar and often seen as a treat or a dietary sin could offer such promise." Third sentence says, "However, a large volume of mechanistic and animal model studies has been undertaken demonstrating the potential benefits of cocoa and chocolate for both glucose regulation and modification of complications associated with diabetes." Finally we get, however, the hypothesis of chocolate having a beneficial effect remains counterintuitive to the average consumer and has yet to gain support among the wider medical and health care community.

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In this next module, I’m going to edit two more paragraphs for you. Here’s an example from the published literature. I want you to pause the video now and read it on your own, then restart the video. If you have time you might even want to attempt editing this one on your own. If you want to do that, I have provided the text as a resource alongside this video. Okay, hopefully you noticed all the repetition here as well as some passive voice, several howevers. The paragraph really meanders and we can do a lot to make it more focused. Before I do any sentence level editing, I first need to step back and figure out exactly what it is the authors were trying to say. A paragraph should carry one main idea and we need to figure out what the main point is here. For this example I’m going to go through each sentence and translate it into a quick and dirty summary. I’m going to give the upshot without worrying at all about making the prose sound nice or worrying about keeping in every detail. We’ll worry about all that later. So here’s the first sentence. The concept of chocolate having potential therapeutic benefits for people with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes presents a number of intellectual challenges from both clinical and sociological perspectives. I think that just boils down to something very simple. It’s surprising that chocolate might be healthy. Second sentence says, “It seems almost counterintuitive to suggest an energy dense food that is high in sugar and often seen as a treat or a dietary sin could offer such promise.” This boils down to, it’s counterintuitive that chocolate might be healthy. Third sentence says, “However, a large volume of mechanistic and animal model studies has been undertaken demonstrating the potential benefits of cocoa and chocolate for both glucose regulation and modification of complications associated with diabetes.” This boils down to, many studies suggest that chocolate is healthy. Then we get, Cesar Fraga in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition first proposed the potential of chocolate for people with diabetes in 2005. This just boils down to, the first of these studies was in 2005. When I edited this paragraph I actually decided that some of the specific details about this first study aren’t really critical and actually detract from the main idea of this paragraph. So in my final edit you’ll notice that I take out the author’s name and the journals name. I don’t think those specific details are important in this context. Next we get, it was suggested that we should consume more cocoa and chocolate to reduce the burdens of hypertension and diabetes. That boils down to, the study showed benefits for hypertension and diabetes. Then we get another study, Grassi and colleagues further reinforced this potential for its anti-hypertensive, that’s talking about blood pressure, and insulin sensitizing effect, that’s talking about diabetes, with the mechanistic data. That boils down to, another study showed benefits for hypertension and diabetes. Again when I edited this in the end I ended up taking out the specific authors names here because I thought that detail wasn’t necessary and detracted from the main point. Finally we get, however, the hypothesis of chocolate having a beneficial effect remains counterintuitive to the average consumer and has yet to gain support among the wider medical and health care community. That boils down to, it’s counterintuitive that chocolate might be healthy, so consumers and medical professionals are skeptical. Okay. We can put this all together now. I extracted those upshots that I wrote and put them all on one slide. So we get, it’s surprising that chocolate might be healthy. It’s counterintuitive that chocolate might be healthy. Many studies suggest that chocolate is healthy. The first of these studies was in 2005. That study showed benefits for hypertension and diabetes. Another study showed benefits for hypertension and diabetes later. And then it’s counterintuitive that chocolate might be healthy, so medical professionals are skeptical. So we can see a lot of repetition there and in fact we have three sentences that are basically saying, it’s surprising and counterintuitive that chocolate is healthy. I’m going to move these all together. This is going to help me with organization. So I’m going to move these down here and put all the surprising and counterintuitive sentences together at the end. So I just moved those to the end and I’m going to use this now to kind of help me organize my ideas. So what I did here is I decided to start with many studies suggest that chocolate is healthy. I think that’s the main point to this paragraph. The first of these studies was in 2005 and what did these studies show? They all showed benefits for hypertension in diabetes. Then we get, I don’t need to say that another study showed benefits for hypertension and diabetes. I’m just going to say that all of these studies show those benefits. Let me get three sentences about counterintuitive and surprising. I crossed out all but one of those and I decided to start with the idea that medical professionals are skeptical and then end with the idea that chocolate is counterintuitive. So this kind of boils down the whole paragraph into these main points. I use that to guide my edit, and so here’s my edited version. Many mechanistic and animal studies suggest health benefits for cocoa and chocolate particularly for patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes. These studies suggest that cocoa and chocolate can lower blood pressure, improve glucose regulation, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce complications from diabetes. But the idea of chocolate is medicine has yet to gain widespread support among consumers or among the wider medical and health care community. It seems counterintuitive that a high sugar energy dense food one often seen as a treat or dietary sin could promote health. You can see that I’ve got this down to 87 words and I’ve hit all of those main points from my outline of the upshots of the various sentences. I’m actually going to show you my edited version with tracked changes on it. If you want you can actually pause the video and look carefully at the changes that I’ve made at the sentence level. All right. The second example is other example for something I was editing. This was a paragraph on headaches. Go ahead now and pause the video and read this through once and then restart the video. Again, if you have time you might even want to try editing this one on your own before you restart the video. Okay, so hopefully you noticed all the repetition and clutter in this paragraph. We’re going to strip away this clutter and get to the main points. I’m going to do the same thing I did in the last example which is just to boil each sentence down to its upshot and use that to help me organize and edit the paragraph. First sentence says, “Headache is an extraordinarily common pain symptom that virtually everyone experiences at one time or another.” The upshot there is that headaches are important. Then we get, as a pain symptom, headaches have many causes. Well that’s just headaches have many causes. The full range of these causes were categorized by the International Headache Society in 1988. That third sentence just boils down to, the International Headache Society classifies headaches by cause. Then we get, the IHS distinguishes two broad groups of headache disorders: primary headache disorders and secondary headache disorders. Well that boils down to, the International Headache Society classifies headaches into primary and secondary. Then we get, secondary headache disorders are a consequence of an underlying condition such as a brain tumor, a systemic infection or a head injury. That boils down to, secondary headaches arise from another condition such as brain tumors. Then we get, in primary headache disorders, the headache disorder is the fundamental problem. It is not symptomatic of another cause. That just defines primary headaches, primary headache disorders are disorders themselves. Then we get the two most common types of primary headache disorder or episodic tension type and migraines, so here are examples of primary headache disorders. Then finally we get this last sentence, although International Headache Society is the most broadly used, recognized classification system used, a brief comment on others would be appropriate especially if there are uses that have epidemiologic advantages. This is sort of going off on another point and it’s saying, we’re going to also tell you about other classification systems. So let me pull all of those sentences together now and use this to help me organize and edit the paragraph. So we get, headaches are important. Headaches have many causes. The International Headache Society classifies headaches by cause. They classify headaches into primary and secondary. You can see the repetition here. Secondary headaches are this, primary headaches are this. Here are some examples and then this. Well, we’re going to also to tell you about other classification systems. I went through and kind of took away the repetition and just sort of boiled this down. We get, headaches are important. Yeah, that sentence is probably not necessary but I’ll allow the authors to leave it in. The next three sentences you can boil down into one sentence. The International Headache Society classifies headaches as primary and secondary by cause. They decide if it’s primary or secondary by cause. That’s the main idea of this paragraph. Is really just to say how headaches are classified. Then we get, what are primary headache disorders? Well, notice that I moved this up and the original secondary headache disorders came before primary. I didn’t like this because I wanted primary to come before secondary. It’s just the natural order of things. So I moved this first. This is the definition of primary headaches. After the definition of primary headaches we can get the examples of primary headaches and then we get the definition of secondary headaches and the examples of secondary headaches. So it’s a fairly simple structure that we’ve boiled it down to. So now I’m going to show you my edited version. I’ve got the word count down from 139 words to 76. It says, “Headache is a pain symptom that almost everyone experiences. That’s the headaches are important sentence. The International Headache Society groups headaches into two types based on cause. Notice my use of the colon here. Primary headache disorders and secondary headache disorders. In primary headache disorders, the headache itself is the main complaint. The two most common types are episodic tension type and migraine. Secondary headache disorders result from an underlying condition, such as a brain tumor, a systemic infection or a head injury.” Again, if you want to look carefully at the edits I’ve made, I’m showing you my track changes here so you can study the edits I’ve made. It’s a good way to learn editing yourself.

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