Tutor profile: Niki K.
How can I make my writing sound sophisticated yet accessible?
In the academic world, it can be tempting to write papers brimming with jargon and complicated, decorative language in an effort to exude intelligence and mastery of a topic. Unfortunately, this style of writing encourages the reader to lose sight of the big picture, getting bogged down by words they do not understand. The goal of an academic paper should be to state ideas as concisely and precisely as possible. It should seek to answer: how many ideas can I convey to the reader using the fewest words? In practice this is difficult, so here are a few ways to get the most out of your writing: 1. Write first, edit later. Type the words that initially come to your mind and then go back to trim away excess. 2. Ensure that every sentence makes a unique contribution. If a sentence does not introduce a new idea, build on an old one, or synthesize information in a unique way, delete it. 3. Avoid jargon whenever possible. There are times when a paper will necessitate the use of a technical term (particularly in APA style science writing), but if the demand is not there, plain English is usually a more effective way to communicate an idea.
What are the root causes of psychological disorders and mental illnesses?
When we conceive of a disorder, say, arachnophobia, it is important to consider the biological, psychological, and social components that comprise the disorder. In the case of arachnophobia, a person might have a genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders (the classification of disorders under which phobias fall). Ordinarily, this alone would not be enough to cause a disorder. However, if this person were to have a negative experience involving spiders, like being bit by a poisonous spider, they might now have a psychological vulnerability. Together, the biological and psychological vulnerabilities might cause this person to develop a fear of spiders, which may be perpetuated by social factors (e.g. depictions of spiders as dangerous in the media). All three of these components would then be working together in an anxious feedback loop to maintain this individual's arachnophobia.
Subject: European History
What caused the fall of Weimar Germany and the subsequent rise of Nazi Germany? And what can we learn from it today?
The reasons for the rise of fascism in 1920s and 1930s Germany is multifaceted, but may be traced back to a few root problems. First, a prevailing culture of militarism paired with the humiliation and poverty in the wake of the Treaty Versailles set the ground for sociopolitical unrest. Second, the Great Depression wore heavy on Germany's already crumbling economy, exacerbating the already existing discontentment among people who needed someone to blame, which leads us to the third reason for the fall of the Weimar Republic. Society became increasingly politically fractured, with the left splintering into 30+ different parties and the right consolidating around the Nazis who promised to uplift the impoverished working class and used scapegoating to give them someone to blame. Finally, a few fatal cracks in the constitution (namely Article 48) allowed the Nazis to gain irreversible power in the wake of a state of emergency. Today, things have changed drastically since this era, but some lessons still remain. Most importantly, the present splintering of moderate politics and the retreat to radical ideologies is an echo of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Increasing political division among more centrist groups is what ultimately allowed the Nazis to gain power, and this fractured center paired with consolidated extremes is a common theme today across Europe and the U.S.
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