# Elaborate in writing to test your understanding
Understanding requires elaboration, so it’s important for us to understand how we can elaborate better. Naturally, we could elaborate our findings by talking about them. Unfortunately in an oral presentation, we could get away with unfounded claims. A “you know what I mean”, or a confident gestures may stop your peer from assessing what you have elaborated.
Instead of just using an oral communication, we should elaborate by writing too. There are many points in the process of writing where we would question and challenge the arguments that we have written when they don’t work. If there are contradictions or gaps, our writing show that to us. Elaboration in writing also mean that we don’t have to wait for anyone to be available to listen to us, we can do it at any time.
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 55).
The same goes for writing permanent notes, which have another feedback loop built-in: Expressing our own thoughts in writing makes us realise if really thought them through. The moment we try to combine them with previously written notes, the system will unambiguously show us contradictions, inconsistencies and repetitions.
Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 85).
In oral presentations, we easily get away with unfounded claims. We can distract from argumentative gaps with confident gestures or drop a casual "you know what I mean" irrespective of whether we know what we meant. In writing, these manoeuvres are a little too obvious. It is easy to check a statement like: "But that is what I said!”. The most important advantage of writing is that it helps us to confront ourselves when we do not understand something as well as we would like to believe.