Being a Writer and Writing Skills

The kind of language and writing style that an author adopts is very significant in the training arena. Various writers use different aspects of writing skills to bring their message. However, this is always determined by a number factors, including the type of audience targeted, the kind of message conveyed (whether formal or informal), the author’s writing skills, etc. In reviewing different sources that cover the subject of fragrant compounds, two articles were analyzed. Chapter 16 of the school textual content book and the Khan Academy online article both address the study area while using different writing techniques. They discuss the elements of benzene, along with its formation, stability, direct effects, and the reaction process. From the comparative review, it is evident that the Khan academy provides better information regarding aromatic compounds, its credibility and academic styles are implemented due to its comprehensive presentation and writing style that the author adopted.

The audiences that the two sources target are different; while Khan Academy may aim at providing knowledge to a college or tertiary student, the textbook considers a more experienced audience with professional skills on organic chemistry. In addressing the topic of aromatic compounds at the Khan Academy website, the language used is very understandable. Although they are scientific terms, the words used can easily be understood by a student of a higher level. For instance, in the “naming of benzene derivative,” the author states, “In this tutorial, Sal and Jay explain how to name benzene derivatives, the sometimes sweet-smelling cyclic molecules that can be used in the synthesis of explosives and plastics” ( n.p). This introduction informs the reader of what to expect in the particular lecture or reading, and understand the concept that is to be covered. Thus, it may target undergraduate science students or those at the tertiary (secondary) education level. On the contrary, the textbook has been written in a complex language with few guidance on what is covered. In explaining the structure of benzene, the author states in his first sentence, “Historically, benzene and its first derivatives had pleasant aromas, and were called aromatic compounds.” (Chapter 16 1). This introduction statement does not offer any background information about aromatic compounds, except for the fact that they have sweet smell. This ambiguity may be associated with the fact that the audience targeted has pre-existing knowledge regarding the molecule.

There is also a differing component of academic style used by both authors. While the Khan Academy site provides a clear illustration of the discussed concepts, the chapter notes are only previews with no illustrations or explanations of the basic concepts. Khan uses videos to illustrate various aromatic compounds. In one of the videos, the author addresses the structure of benzene and why it has double bonds. It further explains how the pi electrons move around the hexagon ring which also explains the double ring. The illustrations also enable students to familiarize themselves with the different benzene molecules. This academic writing style, therefore, encourages learning among students as it ensures that students understand all the key concepts. The textbook chapter offers a contradicting scenario. Although the author has drawn different diagrams to illustrate the text, there is less description information provided to enhance understanding of the readers. The author also introduced calculations and numeric figures that are not clearly elaborated for starting learners. After drawing diagrams to explain the hexagonal nature of benzene and the equal distance of its carbon molecules, the author states, “This resonance description lets us draw a more realistic representation of benzene, with 6 sp2 hybrid carbons, each bonded to one hydrogen atom” (Chapter 16 3). The author assumes that the audience is aware of the meaning of sp2or hybrid carbons; this indicates that the target audience are professionals with prior knowledge of aromatic molecules. Many students may have the prior knowledge of such terms and symbols, but it is important to remind them.

The differing organizational structure of the two articles also renders the Khan Academy article more comprehensive. The article has been organized in a manner that enhances easy flow and understanding among the students. The author first includes the table of content in the left pane of the site to inform the reader of the key concepts covered. In the “About” link, all the topics that are to be covered in the section are clearly and briefly highlighted, including naming of benzene derivatives reactions of benzene, aromatic stability, electrophilic aromatic substitution, directing effects, other reactions and syntheses, and nucleophilic aromatic substitution ( n.p). This arrangement of information provides the reader with the preview of what is to be covered in the subsequent lessons, and, thus, can do prior preview of the subjects before the lesson. In the case of the text book, however, the author assumes that the “students” are informed about the topics and no clear structure of concepts is highlighted. After discussing the two different structures of benzene (Kekule and Resonance), the author abruptly introduces the “unusual behavior of benzene” which is further complex in understanding. Under this topic, the author illustrates, “For example, we know alkenes can be oxidized to syndiols (KmnO4) and undergo electrophilic additions with halogens (Br2)” (Chapter 16 4). The author uses organic chemistry terms such as “syndiols” and “electrophilic additions” but fails to illustrate what they are. The author also highlights different chemical symbols, including KmnO4and Br2. The text could have been more effective if the names of the chemical were mentioned before indicating the symbols, i.e. potassium permanganate (KmnO4) and Bromide (Br2).

It is also valid to argue that the presentation of information at the Khan Academy site is more accurate than in the text book. In the site, the author uses different font sizes and colors to show the different text levels. All of the headings have been written in larger fonts and with different font colors. For example, “Naming benzene derivatives” is the second topic; it is written using a large font with a maroon color. To provide further clarity, the links of the concepts are highlighted on the same page, which allows for easy navigation. When a student fails to understand related concepts, he/she can easily navigate on the previous section and do further review. Additionally, all the headings in the site have been center-aligned to create uniformity and easy identification of the topics. On the contrary the textbook chapter omits the aspect of presentation. First, the headings are of the same font and color as the text. While some of the headings are bold, others are not with some aligned at the center while others on the left. This system is usually common in the cases where headings and subheadings are used; however, in this case, one is unable to tell the difference in the headings since the fonts have been used randomly.

The credibility of the two texts vary in regards to the information presentation and the information content. In the Khan Academy site, students can easily understand the various concepts of benzene due to the presentation technique adopted. The author understands that organic chemistry is a technical subject and, as such, aims at enhancing the understanding of the students. He, thus, considers the use of video for illustration. When one previews the concept of benzene stability, the information provided aids in the understanding. The author explains how benzene achieves its aromatic stability which includes the fact that it has a stable ring with 2 pi electrons. One understands that because of the free electrons, the p-orbital overlap and can further be explained by the presented MO theory. In the textbook, however, the concepts of the benzene stability and the MO theory are not elaborated. Under the heading, “Unusual Behaviour of Benzene,” the author notes, “Benzene has much more stability than predicted by the simple resonance delocalized structure.” First, the topic is informal as it refers to an “unusual behavior” of a chemical. The author also states the stability of benzene which is elaborated by a diagram. If the two presentations are compared, it is evident that Khan Academy site is more comprehensive. In considering the information content, both sources provide valid data regarding aromatic benzene; however, Khan Academy site offers simpler version of the concepts with clear presentation.

In summary, presentation of information and the writing style adopted are significant components of writing that every author must adhere to. In presentation, it is important to consider the different aspects of a scholarly paper, including the introduction section, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The language adopted should also be clear and formal, especially in the case of academic presentation. The Khan academic presentation is clearer and more formal compared to the text book which uses a complex language and organic terms that require advanced students. Through the review, it is evident that an author must ensure different fonts are utilized to enhance visualization and understanding of the concepts. Khan Academy ensures that the headings are clearly presented, followed by subtopics and clear links that are used to illustrate the concept of benzene. The text book uses variable font styles, such as bold and underlining, although this is presented irregularly. This hinders focus of the students as they are unable to understand the varying levels of headings. The use of illustration video has also proven to be very effective. Although the tow sources discuss the same topic, Khan Academy site is clearer due to the fact that every step is illustrated in the visual system. Thus, it is evident that the source at Khan Academy is better and more focused towards the audience compared to the textbook.

Works Cited

Khan Academy. “Aromatic compounds.” 2017.

Chapter 16. Aromatic Structures.

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