This memo seeks to analyze two different writing perspectives on a similar topic. The article by Ken Flieger is a periodical in the popular general audience FDA Consumer magazine (19). Meanwhile, the technical research paper by Emmerson is a scientific publication in a respected academic New England Journal of Medicine (445).
The magazine article is aimed at the general public without a specialized or medical background. The magazine was created by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a method of informing the common population and consumers about health concerns and causes. It is directed towards readers with a general level of education who are interested in acquiring general knowledge about a health condition. The main purpose of this article is to provide a summary of information regarding the medical condition, symptoms, and potential treatment options in a comprehensive and informative manner that engages its readers.
Meanwhile, the academic journal article is an example of technical research writing, directed specifically towards specialists, researchers, or scholars in the medical field. It requires specialized knowledge and education that allows readers to analyze complex medical complications, biological factors, laboratory results, and treatment options. The purpose of the article is to present scientific information acquired through research that can expand the general knowledge base of the discipline that can be used for further academic inquiry or application in medical treatment. In this specific publication, the author is attempting to establish factors that contribute to one of the symptoms of gout. Possible medical applications are set through advice on diagnosis and patient education.
The difference in audience and purpose has an impact on some elements in the article. The magazine periodical has a broad scope that attempts to encompass a variety of components about the medical condition. It is an informative summary that seeks to educate on the general topic of gout and answer any potential questions a regular reader might pose. This affects the organization of the article as well. As a piece of journalistic writing, it begins with an anecdote that intrigues the reader and introduces the topic. The organization mimics the actions of a potential reader that would evaluate personal health, examine symptoms, and then seek treatment based on the presented information. As a journalist, the author has the task of intriguing the reader while accurately relaying the facts. Meanwhile, the academic research paper maintains a narrow scope by describing the molecular-biological causes and syndromes of gout. It introduces the direction that the paper takes by discussing diagnosis criteria and laboratory results that are common and unique indicators of the condition. In academic writing, it is appropriate to present the topic through a thesis or hypothesis, followed by methodology and a brief description of the results. Technical writing is a direct presentation of information. It follows a structure similar to the process of scientific experiments. The publication by Emmerson is a review of the literature on the topic which combines information from a number of scientific publications. The structure is divided based on the discussion of medical treatments.
There are differences in stylistic presentation. As a magazine, the Flieger article encompasses visualization on every page to illustrate the described concepts. This method aims at presenting information that benefits from a visual representation as well as entertaining the reader, who might feel overwhelmed without images. This is evident in the presentation of headings as well, which are large and easily capture attention. Overall, the text is positioned in columns that are easy to read, deliberately leaving white space blank and creating a balanced and organized visual experience for readers. Meanwhile, the research maintains a tight text composition. Headings are slightly larger than the text and are bolded to stand out. Instead of images, there are several tables that present the information from the text in a structured manner. The positioning of the text within the white space complies with professional standards without attempts at stylization or variation.
The technical level of writing varies tremendously based on the prospective audience of the article. The magazine periodical uses a simpler language. Both use complex sentence structures, but the message within the text varies. There are elements of emotion and sensationalism that are present in the periodical. This is evident in sentence structure and vocabulary which appeal to the emotional connotation of certain words such as “agony” and “havoc” (Flieger 20). Both articles use medical terminology to define the condition and its treatments. However, the magazine article utilizes general vocabulary that can be understood with common knowledge and minimum research. There are explanations and definitions which are used to supplement difficult jargon. Meanwhile, the research paper presents an academic and scientific perspective that is supported by complex terminology. It is assumed that the reader has a background in medicine. The sentence composition revolves around the non-emotional presentation of factual data since it may be an indicator of bias, which is inappropriate in academic research.
As with most magazine periodicals, the FDA Consumer article lacks any in-text citations. There is one source cited underneath a quote which is not part of the main text. The presented information is unverifiable for validity and relevance. Despite the impression of credibility, the sources of information of the article may be inaccurate or outdated. The reader cannot identify the source without any citations, which makes this article an unreliable source for professional academic or application purposes. The research article has 85 references which are all internally cited in the text each time the author states a piece of information from that source. If needed, each source can be validated and compared to the existing research. It is important to note that at the time of publication, each type of article undergoes a different process. Magazine articles usually have a single editor to correct the paper for style without verifying the information. Meanwhile, academic journals undergo a process of at least a double-blind peer review to eliminate the possibility of bias and professionally evaluate the validity of the presented research.
Emmerson, Bryan. “The Management of Gout.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 334, no. 7, 1996, pp. 445-451.
Flieger, Ken. “Getting to Know Gout.” FDA Consumer, Mar. 1995, pp. 19-22.