Reading between the lines…

September 15, 2010

Seen in a scientific report:

Limitations on collection of data due to restricted visibility into [raptor] nests was recognized as an issue with field methodology. Additionally, aggressive behavior displayed by adult birds during the survey inhibited visually assessing nest contents.

I think they meant that the researchers got attacked by the birds every time they stuck their heads into the nests!

Here’s my one-minute Plain English rewrite — it’s one-third the words, and you don’t need to read the sentence several times to figure out what’s going on. With a little more time, I’m sure I could improve on this rewrite too.

Restricted visibility into nests and attacks by adult birds meant that researchers were limited in the data they could collect from the [raptor] nests.


  1. Nice rewrite, Rhonda. Much clearer. (Though I think it should be one-third fewer words.)

  2. Well done.

    [Though, of course, in real life, you’d want to interview the SME!

    After all, aggressive behavior could mean that the birds made some display recognized as aggressive. Or something.]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: