BITE Recipe Writer’s Guide

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…

So, give it a go and see what new flavours you can come up with.

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