What design tells you about priorities?

I’m intrigued by an apparently accidental case study in design priorities arising from two different posters produced to advertise the same forthcoming lecture. Despite initial appearances, the two posters in the photo both promote a keynote speech by Professor Mary Dixon-Woods on Evidence for Improving Quality and Safety in Healthcare.


To my mind, the design on the right clearly conveys the content of the lecture (the interesting bit). This crucial information is almost entirely lost in the left-hand version, which massively over-emphasise the series of talks in which the lecture is to be given. It is entirely speculation, but I suspect this emphasis reflects the priorities given in the design brief.

Anyhow, I am looking forward to an engaging presentation from a former colleague.


Getting referencing right: applying the 4 Cs

For a variety of reasons, I have been reflecting on principles that undergird good citation practice. So far I’ve come up with “the 4 Cs guide” (I say I’ve come up with them, as I’ve not done any reading on this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this or something similar has co-evolved elsewhere).

When advising students or colleagues on appropriate organisation of their references at the end of a document, I encourage them to check that they’ve followed the 4 Cs guide:

Correct: Have they cited the correct sources? This might mean drilling back to the first occurrence of an observation (e.g. in the primary literature) rather than a review article. Clearly we don’t want to be encouraging people to cite the original paper if they’ve not read it, but you sometime see statements such as “Smith and Bloggs have shown…” when actually Smith and Bloggs wrote the review in which they discussed the experimental work of Ramone and Farnes-Barnes who made the observation described. Continue reading

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