Story and research writing


You often hear that writing about research is story telling. This is partly right and partly not. Partly not, because a lot of academic writing is better thought of as argument. Argument relies on evidence to make a case for a particular research result. And partly not story, because some research writing is reporting results. Reports rely on a standard order of content. So here then is the question, how is research writing like telling a story?

And one answer to this question is man in hole. Man in hole is an answer which can guide your writing. Man in hole is attributed to the late Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut developed five classic story structures. Now, Vonnegut is not the only person to develop universal story structures. But let’s stick with Vonnegut and his man in hole structure for now.

So if you’ve watched this little video, you’ve probably worked out…

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