Why is Academic Writing so Confusing?

The author writes (and I agree):

To me, the choice is clear. In order to get people to listen, we need scholars who are skilled at translating complex ideas into accessible language.

Academic elitism should be shunned.

It’s a story many students will find familiar. You sit in the library, doing your assigned readings, and notice yourself stumbling over the same few sentences. You re-read them but you’re still perplexed; the author uses advanced terms without explaining what they mean, and structures his sentences in the least straightforward way imaginable. You read them again. Once you finally feel that you understand the message, you’re crushed by the discovery that the next paragraph is even more confusing than the last.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry — you are not the problem. If the purpose of academic writing is to clearly communicate one’s ideas and research to the reader, then writing that is difficult to understand is bad writing. Period.

Many academic papers skip the process of defining basic terms and concepts; perhaps the authors assume that their work will only be read by other scholars in their field.

via Why is Academic Writing so Confusing? | Opinion | The Harvard Crimson

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