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The level of focusing

For readers with a specific information need, the original versions of the articles A05 and A08 are not sufficiently focused. By meeting the communication criterion that separate subjects should be dealt with in separate units, the modular versions allow readers to consult specific modules representing the specific types of information they are interested in, and also to pass over the presentation of other types of information. For example, when the reader wants to understand the reasoning of the interpretation of the measurements, he can consult the module Interpretation, without consulting the full description of the theoretical methods in the module Theoretical methods.

Focusing on the representation of the required information in a separate module can cause problems, because the information may depend on the information presented in another module.5.12 For instance, the interpretation of experimental results depends on the theoretical methods used to interpret them. The reader has to be sufficiently aware of these methods in order to understand and assess the interpretation. Even if the reader thinks he understand it, he may be misled, if he is not aware of the restrictions of the methods and therefore of the validity of the interpretation. Hence, readers (in particular less informed ones) must be careful in consulting a separate module and using the information in their own work.

This problem is not restricted to modules. Readers of traditional articles must be sufficiently aware of information presented in other publications as well. It is impossible to include in a single publication unit all information that is relevant to a full understanding. It is the reader's own responsibility to familiarise himself with that information, as long as he has the opportunity to do so. A modular article explicitly provides the reader with this opportunity, as each module is connected to the modules on which it depends, by links explicitly expressing the dependency relations. Thus, readers are made aware of the existence of the related modules, informed about the relation between the module at hand and the other modules, as well as enabled to consult them. The main reason why we distinguish focused modules is that at least experts with a specific information need can consult the modules separately in a useful manner, as they already are sufficiently aware of the context of the module.5.13

As the various parts of the modularised article are distributed over separate presentation units, it can be more difficult to follow the  discourse of the entire article. The linear, essayistic article is, in the first instance, better suited for linear consultation of the entire article than the modularised version, because the modular structure has been designed to allow for  selective reading. However, in the modularised articles, the essay-route guides the reader through the complete line of reasoning. Moreover, the structure of the modular article is visualised in a map of contents expressing the organisational coherence of the article. The structure is also made explicit in an abstract expressing the coherence of the scientific discourse in the entire article, as well as in various module summaries that express the coherence of the discourse in  complex modules. This allows the modular article to meet the criterion for a complete and readable discourse.  


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Index
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Table of Contents
Index
Glossary
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Next: The level of detail Up: The adequacy of modular Previous: The structure in general