When small words mean a lot: Transcripts, black boxes and evaluation

By Gordon Rugg

You can get a fair amount of information out of what people tell you in interviews and questionnaires and focus groups. However, you can’t get at all the information in a person’s head using those methods. The result is that you often have to use different methods, and/or that you have to glean more information out of what you got with the interviews or questionnaires or focus groups.

One very rich source of information is small, apparently insignificant words that people use; words that often get left out of transcripts because they’re not “real words” or because they’re swearwords or whatever.

This article is about how you can use these words to get an extra dimension of information about real-world problems.

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Scientific writing and humour

By Gordon Rugg

There are three humorous golden rules that are invaluable in public speaking and in writing for public consumption.

Rule 1: Don’t lie.

Rule 2: Don’t try to be funny.

Rule 3: Above all, don’t panic and blurt out the truth…

When you understand why the third rule doesn’t necessarily break the first rule, then you’re ready to face an unkind world.

There’s a humorous post on Distractify about how the third rule operates in scientific writing. Even if you’re not a scientist, you might find it entertaining and inspirational.