Another dot in the blogosphere?

Internal consistency in writing

Posted on: July 18, 2019

Being internally consistent is critical whether you are designing a survey or a test, or writing argumentatively.

In the case of a survey as a data collection tool, this might refer to how sets of questions are aligned to provide answers to research questions. In a test, internal consistency might measure how well the questions are aligned to explicit learning outcomes.

These are specific skills that can be taught to ensure the rigour of a survey or test. The same could be said about writing.

The same should be said about writing, be it for a scholarly article or a tweeted tech piece. I use the latter to illustrate.

This was the tweet.

It left out the word “lower” or “slower” after “35%”. This made it sound as if the drop in performance was more drastic than it actually was.

If you read the actual article, you find that “the read speed is down 35%”.

Why harp on a seemingly innocuous mistake? What is in print, be it paper or electronic, is not as fluid or negotiable as what is said in real time. It is your word in concrete form.

If we are to say what we mean and mean what we say, we should practice being internally consistent. A headline, or a tweet in this case, should be aligned to what is in the body of an article.

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