Research Mentor(s): Patrick Barry, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Law School,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 3
The Good Sentences project started by Professor Patrick Barry is about answering one question: what makes good sentences good? Knowing this can help us improve our own writing and speaking. This project started out in the law school in order to enhance the writing and speaking skills of law students, but over the years, it has expanded greatly: it’s now composed of many sub-projects all dedicated to the same cause. To actually determine what makes good writing good, the research team analyzes popular pieces of literature that society deems to be good writing. We analyze the most memorable phrases and break them down grammatically so that we can learn what aspects of those phrases are the most powerful. Professor Barry then shares these phrases within his class, sparking a discussion on them that allows for further analysis. Next, those class discussions are published as books by Professor Barry and his team. The sub-projects within Good Sentences are all fundamentally based on the material within these books. To address our fundamental research question, I as a member of the team reviewed Professor Barry’s class at the University of Michigan and his Coursera courses. I also took part in the editing process of his books, which are transcripts of prior classes. While these methods along with others get us closer to answering our question, the research is always ongoing; however, we can use what worked for other pieces of good writing/speaking and teach others to implement it within their own writing.
Authors: Saket Kulkarni, Patrick Barry
Research Method: Library/Archival/Internet Research