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Design patterns for articles here

This blog is a technical journal. A wide variety of articles show up here. Most articles pitch new ideas in some field or the other. But there are some patterns. Recognising these design patterns is useful in parsing and writing articles. This article is an attempt at describing some of these design patterns.

Unveiling a paper


This is an article which is a 1000-2000 word summary of a new research paper. The summary is written for the (sophisticated) readership of this blog; it is not at the level of a newspaper articles. There is the luxury of space (1000-2000 words), floating objects (tables, graphs, equations) and links. Most readers will stop at reading the summary, a few will click on the link and read the paper.

Examples:


Analysis of draft law or recently enacted law


In an ideal world, all new law would be preceded by a notice-and-commment process. In India, this takes place some times. An important class of articles are those that critique draft law or recently enacted law.

Examples:

 

Post-mortem of a new policy initiative


After the fact, it is important to look back at policy initiatives. What was the problem in the world that the initiative set out to solve? Did the problem get addressed as was originally intended? Under the Indian Financial Code, these kinds of post mortems would be mandatory.

Examples:


Watching markets work


The market economy bubbles with activity every day. It's often interesting to take a deep dive into an event and better understand it. This generally yields general insights into how markets work.

Examples:

 

Unveiling a government committee report


Government committee reports are a vital part of the Indian policy process. Many committee reports make novel contributions to the analysis of problems and to the range of solutions that are within the realm of possibility. They are key pillars of the literature in Indian public policy.

Examples:


Table of contents


Many times, it is useful to pull together multiple writings into a unified set of links, that shine the light on an issue of contemporary interest. The thumb rule that is worth applying is: would it make sense to make a mini e-book where each of these writings are a chapter?

Examples:

 

Policy counterfactuals, alternative histories


How would a recent event have worked out if a hypothetical policy framework have been in place? These are very interesting exercises in which we can visualise the clanking machinery that is proposed.

Examples:


Drafting hall of shame


There are endemically low standards of quality in the drafting of law in India. `Drafting hall of shame' articles show examples of law (either Parliamentary law or Subordinate legislation) where there are egregious errors in drafting. The articles border on humour, showing outrageously bad examples, performing a certain name-and-shame function. They help foster a new culture of better drafting of law in India.

Examples:

The state of the art


These articles are literature surveys that show what is known and what is not known, at a point in time.

Examples:


For some conferences/workshops, it's possible to put all the ideas of the meeting into your head, and write a state of the art article. Some of the articles above have come about in this fashion. When you do this, you must ensure that the article is readable and interesting, in and of itself. A log of what you heard in the meeting does not pass muster.

Novel methods and their applications


These articles push on the frontiers of technique.

Examples:


Original quantitative research


These are analytical articles which pose questions and obtain persuasive answers to them.

Examples:


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