How to obscure your message.


    © Kathryn Tosney
    Chair of Biology
    The University of Miami

Tosney home page
Society for Developmental Biology

9. Never draw conclusions.

Never specify real information.

    Don’t commit yourself:

    Cover your ass

Avoid committing yourself to any
strong statement. In the conclusion section, instead of interpreting your data, merely repeat the results.

“Antibody to X abolishes the response” is vastly preferably to “Substance X is essential to apoptosis in Y cells.”

Make the title as non-committal as possible: O ne title that is usually safe is “The effect of X on Y”-- just insert your own X and Y.

Merely conclude that “The relation of X to Y needs further study.” Since virtually everything needs further study, you can’t be faulted.

If you are vague enough, no one will ever discover why you wanted to do your study.

Use qualifying words in abundance, such as: probably, perhaps, may, might, involve. Above all, hedge.

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examine negative series in order:
next: page 10 of negative examples

or compare positive example:
positive page 9