Can anyone help me. I am just doing the VERY last edits to a paper and my husband (who has proof read it for typos etc) doesn't think that one of the phrases in the abstract is academic enough. I tend to agree with him but I can't think of an alternative.
The phrase is "comfort zone" and I just can't think of an alternative (the paper is on musuem attendance and cultural capital etc).
feeling of control?
feeling at ease?
that's really difficult!
Hi Jepson, please don't think I'm speaking out of turn, and it is just a suggestion, but actively trying to "sound" academic seems like the wrong way to go about it. By this I mean, you wouldn't want it to sound contrived. Personally I use cliched terms from time to time and I think 'comfort zone' is fine. Sometimes I might use inverted commas or add an opening phrase such as "what are commonly referred to as 'comfort zones', that is, a place or situation where one feels at ease and is reluctant to leave despite the lack of prospects or challenge available...'
Failing that I have another word to throw in the mix: security?
I've edited it a bit to try to maintain anonymity but the sentence is something like
The findings from this small study indicate that exposure to xxxxxxxxx may take them out of their comfort zone, increase their cultural capital and change their xxxxx choices.
I'm tempted to stick with comfort zone (maybe in inverted commas) - I'm sure my head of dept who is goign to read it through beofre submission will pick it apart if he doens't like it (He was the one who told me I had something interesting in my research beyond what I thought I had) This is pre PhD research but he keeps telling me to write it up (probably because I got a trip to Turkey to present the results from the first cohort at a conference and I now have two more years of data and he is under pressure to make sure peopel who get funding for conferences actually write up for publication)
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On second thoughts, and subjective of course, I think it's the "take them" that is reading clonkily. Maybe "lead them from their ..." or "remove them from ..."?
I think 'comfort zone' is perfectly fine, but (as already suggested) requires inverted commas. I also agree with Helena; it's the 'take them out' that sounds clumsy - almost as if those words should be in inverted commas too. But I think 'remove them from' is far worse. Some possible and semantically varying options:
"... exposure to xxxxxxxx may force/drive/push/pull/encourage them out of their 'comfort zone'..."
I think its the 'them' in particular.
How about individuals/participants/people/visitors/museum attendors (!)
Ouch now I feel really crap. No-one has ever told me my writing is "clonky" before :-(
Taking the suggestions in turn:
"lead them from their ..." or "remove them from ..."? - not really appropriate as the point is that this change is a by-product of something else and so being lead or removed seems more deliberate than was the case.
"this exposure may allow them to step outside their cultural "comfort zone" i.e. the environment in which they feel familiar and secure" - they aren't stepping out but are being taken out; also I don't want to make references to their usual environment as the study was associated with travel and so it has other connotations (ie people could assume that it was the physical environment not the cultural one and further explanation seems really over worked for the abstract)
"...may challenge prefixed (or encrusted, embedded etc.) behaviour patterns" - that's the next stage to see if their behaviour changed - at the moment this about attitudes
"force/drive/push/pull/encourage them out of their 'comfort zone'" I think again this seems to be more deliberate than the results indicate - push might be Ok (as a push!) but that feels unacademic to me
"How about individuals/participants/people/visitors/museum attendors " - the reason it is "them" is because the previous sentences have referred to who the participants are etc and using a pronoun seems a more sophisticated style than repetition of the participants (and "attendors " is definitely wrong - they would be attendees). They are also not really visitors as these were people who were taken (ie they did not chose to go - they were made to go for other reasons) and their attitude change as a result of that.
My husband thought comfort zone was not academic and I had a slight concern that non-native speakers might not understand but on balance I think I will leave it as it is. And go and sink a bottle of sauv blanc as I feel really crap now.
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