If you fancy giving recipe writing a go then start here for a few tips and ideas.
One of the reasons we settled on the recipe as a format was the recognisable template. The recipe is immediately accessible to anyone but still contains some quite serious epistemology (get the book and read Why recipes? on page 8 for more on this).
Think about it:
- The background to a recipe can be narrative, context or conditions – anything that led to the recipe being created in the first place.
- The ingredients are the artefacts and actions that are needed to make it work, to give it some characteristic or modify it some particular way.
- The method is, well, the method – what you do to make the recipe work.
- The other elements (cost, time, tips, notes etc.) are all additional information to help you organise recipes or are relevant supporting pieces of information.
Does any of that sound a bit like the basics needed to form a piece of research output? A nice way to summarise an interesting piece of your research?
So why not give it a go. Here’s a few more tips.
- Write as if you are writing a recipe – not an academic paper. Imagine who you are writing for and try to keep the tone of your text appropriate to that audience.
- Have a look through some example recipes and even cookbooks you have at home – you might find some styles you prefer to others.
- Don’t underestimate the power of an image to help you set the tone of a recipe. This doesn’t just make things look good, it contributes to the conception of the recipe.
- Depending on your subject or stage of thinking, make good use of the Background section as a narrative for your recipe. Some recipe books go into great detail and story-telling to introduce recipes as more than simple sets of instructions.
- The magic of recipes is that they are not fixed – they get tweaked, added to, mashed up with other recipes. If the template doesn’t do it for you – bend it!
- Use recipes as sketches – I find I still use recipes if I have an idea for a paper or a research question.
- Collaborating on a recipe is much easier than collaborating on a disorganised paper – that’s because the framework is already there and discussions about where things go are actually discussions about the epistemology (sometimes even the ontology!).
- For larger pieces of work, think about making a recipe book…