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“Accommodation” is the technical name for what happens when a scholarly source becomes popularized. This wiki post will examine how and why information from an original text is accommodated. The scholarly source used is recent research conducted on brain degradation from sleep loss published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The accommodated source is on the same topic but is presented to my community, the business community.
Journal of Neuroscience Article Rhetorical AnalysisEdit
The Journal of Neuroscience explains the study’s findings over several categories: abstract, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, footnotes, and references. In the first sentence of the abstract, the researchers identify their audience, “modern society,” and explain the purpose for their research about “long-term consequences of extended wakefulness on the brain are largely unknown”(Journal of Neuroscience).
Keith Grant-Davie, author of “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents”, would describe the relationship between the researchers, modern society, and the lack of existing research on sleep deprivation as it relates to brain injury, as the study’s exigence. Grant-Davie defines exigence as “a problem or need that can be addressed by communication.” Since the demands of modern society are continually cutting into sleep time, there is a need to know the consequences of doing so (Grant-Davie 265).
The genre of the writing for the study is a lab report. The “several categories” listed above are the constituent parts of a lab report. Keep in mind that as the analyses of this text and accommodated texts continue, the original presentation of the scientists’ work is in a lab report.
The sources used in this study are other peer-critiqued studies. The research the scientists’ cite deals specifically with certain brain chemicals and various parts of the brain. The sources used by the researchers are cited in a “References” section at the end of the lab report, which is standard practice in the scientific disciplines.
The main contradiction to in the study is that during short-term sleep loss brain injury can be prevented. This is contradictory because sleep loss is sleep loss, no matter how much sleep loss is being considered. This contradiction is mentioned in all accommodations of the original text. Other contradictions include: pre-disposition to injury because of age, stress in lab animals as a confounding variable, and that “wake active neurons, have great metabolic demands across wakefulness” (Journal of Neuroscience). These lesser contradictions were not included in the accommodations of the study.
In the article many specialized terms like “apoptosis”, “acetylation”, and “vacuolization” are used. Without having taken a biology or microbiology class, most of modern society wouldn’t understand what these words mean. The reason the scientists chose to write this way is because when you look past the exigence of this rhetorical situation, you see that they are writing to fellow researchers. Therefore, the jargon they use helps them communicate most efficiently to their audience.
In a blog post titled, “On Jargon, and Why it Matters in Science Writing”, Ed Yong explains other reasons why these researchers chose to write the way they did. See the link below: "On Jargon, and Why it Matters in Science Writing"
Forbes and Journal of Neuroscience Article Rhetorical AnalysisEdit
Forbes describes itself as “a leading source for reliable business news and financial information” (“Forbes”). Readers of Forbes include the audience this article specifically describes: college students, truck drivers, and cubicle and office-dwellers, as well as the business community (Haiken). The author writes about the study because her audience feels “increasing pressure to prove our dedication – and best the competition – with longer and longer hours” (Haiken). This rhetorical situation’s exigence can be identified as the need for the business community to understand the effect that the lack of sleep, from the need to perform better at work, has on their brains.
Unlike how the researchers use a lab report to convey their study’s findings, Forbes presents the findings to the business community in a magazine article. This genre shift from lab report to magazine article is necessary because the scientific community is going to value different information from the study than the business community. The scientific community needs to know enough information to ultimately recreate the experiments done in the study. Whereas, an office worker would only be interested in consuming the information from the results. In the business article, Haiken alludes to the surprising large number of people who “burn the midnight oil”, when addressing her readers. One of those readers who is already pressed for time each day wouldn’t be interested in every detail of a study because they simply wouldn’t have time to read all of it to the end. The business community values information that takes less time to decode than the science community.
In order for the scientists to demonstrate the significance of their claims, they explain the process they went through to come to that conclusion. For example, the main claim of the study, “the work shows, for the first time, that extended sleep loss is a metabolic stressor to LCns, and that extended wakefulness can result in LCn loss” is stated as the last sentence of the lab report after having explained everything that lead the scientists to that conclusion. When the same claim is stated in Forbes it is stated at the beginning, in the second sentence, then the author cites other sources to prove why the study is significant. A reason for the difference in the way findings are presented is that a neuroscientist has background knowledge of the subject matter before reading, and a business professional doesn’t. The business professional, in this case, needs to have that background information overtly stated in order to deem significance from the claim.
Advice for Translating Scientific Research into Business WritingEdit
Despite sharing a similar end goal (to better understand the effects of sleep loss on the brain), we’ve seen in the analyses above how science writing is written for groups of people that share specific knowledge, or that share the same niche, while business writing is written for many different types of people. The difference in audiences called for two ways of communicating the same information.
|Forbes Article||Lab Report|
|Length of text||Short||Long|
|Language used||Not niche-specific ||Niche-specific|
|What the audience values||End results||Process of obtaining the end results|
|Sources used||Variety||Peer-critiques only|
Overall it was the same information that was conveyed in both. The business article omitted details that the scholarly source included, but none of the details were significant enough to change the meaning of what was being said.
Something that the Forbes article did not do that would have been okay was to include more discussion of statistical evidence. The majority of business professionals have taken some kind of business statistics class and would have understood discussion of confounding variables, ANOVA, p-values, etc. Including such data analysis could have helped prove the significance of the claim to business professionals. Sometimes, however, the expected length of business writing doesn’t allow for full disclosure of how conclusions are drawn.
Brumfield, Ben. "Shift Workers Beware: Sleep Loss May Cause Brain Damage, New Research Says." CNN Health. N.p., 19 Mar 2014. Web. 10 Apr 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/03
- /19/health /sleep-loss-brain-damage/>.
"Extended Wakefulness: Compromised Metabolics in and Degeneration of Locus Ceruleus Neurons." Journal of Neuroscience. 34.12 (2014): 4418-4431. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Forbes . n.d. n. page. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Grant-Davie, Keith. “Rhetorical Situations and Their Constituents.” Rhetoric Review 15.2 (1997): 264-279. Print.
Haiken, Melanie. "Lack of Sleep Kills Brain Cells, New Study Shows." Forbes. 20 Mar 2014: n. page. Web. 16 Apr. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2014/03/20/lack-of-sleep-kills-
Yong, Ed. "On Jargon, and Why it Matters in Science Writing." Not Exactly Rocket Science. Discover, 24 Nov 2010. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.