“Many intellectuals and economists use obscure language when they write as a way of disguising that they are not saying a heck of a lot.”
Gary Becker, Nobel Prize recipient (economics)
Four years of not reading academic literature has brought my tolerance for a lot of the b.s. way down. I just finished slogging through a chapter that was heavy on favorite academic pastimes of making lists, categorizing factors (there are three levels of environmental influences – the microsystem, the mesosystem, and the exosystem, oooh!), referencing lots of studies in an unfocused manner, and pointing out in overly verbose language that every professional field is “influenced by a variety of other disciplines, dynamic, has made lots of progress in the last 50 years, and still has many challenges and unanswered questions.” Duh, duh, and duh.
Within these lists and categories, there are many references to vague factors/influences/settings/etc. that might be important to something. THIS ISN’T TELLING ME ANYTHING. To make a useful point, you have to tell me what factors actually DO matter and why. Look at these ugly sentences:
“The model proposed by Booth and others (2001) identifies twelve behavior settings in which eating commonly occurs, ranging from home and work to automobiles and shopping malls. A multidisciplinary panel proposed sixty-three environmental influences in these behavior settings that could affect eating.”
Wow. Your blue ribbon panel categorized why and where people eat. I wish I could say that the text went on to make a useful point about eating habits. But the paragraph finished like this:
“Because of the large number of potential influences on eating behavior, models that help to set priorities for action and that can place a large array of diverse variables in a coherent framework are likely to be particularly helpful.”
No. This writing is not helpful to me at all.