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Well-Written! This Study Shows, But Doesn't Tell


A+! This new study out of Penn Medicine is being hailed by the English Department for its wielding of a popular writing technique entitled “show not tell.” 

The study, which focuses on the effects of binge drinking on college students, excludes a closing paragraph with deductions from the study. While some say it “blatantly disregards the tenets of the scientific method,” its author, Dr. Yushinki, Ph.D., defends her writing, explaining that she wants readers to draw their own conclusions from the findings. 

“It’s like, that’s for you to decide. We’re not gonna sit here and say ‘binge drinking unequivocally has a negative impact on your health.’ Nope, that’s just not our style. We’ll show you the scans of the liver, and then it's up to you, the reader, to find meaning. Isn’t that life? The endless search for meaning, the quest for truth?” 

The Director of the Creative Writing program, Dr. Huang, loves that these medical paper uses the ‘show not tell’ writing technique. 

“No one wants a paper to be spelled out for them! Readers should experience the study through senses and feeling, rather than exposition and summarization. Does the main participant of the study eventually slip into a coma due to a dangerously high blood alcohol level? I don’t know, do they?” she said with a coy smile and a wiggle of her eyebrows.