Academic writing tips

Improve your academic writing in an afternoon

Good academic writing is key to success in higher education. Here we list our favorite academic writing tips. Follow these and you will be able to improve your writing style in an afternoon.

#1. Be concise

Everyone is in a hurry, and who has time to read nowadays? Keep this in mind when you write. Try to give your reader only the most important information and in as few words as possible. Omit needless words. Check out our YouTube channel for some video tutorials on how to omit needless words.

#2. Be clear

Good academic writing should be easy to read. Nobody wants to struggle through long, complex sentences that are full of unnecessarily complex words. Overly complex writing does not make the writer seem clever, just the opposite. So be kind to your audience. Use shorter sentences. Use simple words when you can. Avoid jargon.

#3. Don’t assume knowledge

In academia, we often become hyper-specialized. You’re a world expert in your field and so are your colleagues. Because of this, it is easy to assume your readers know everything that you know; but they don’t. Help your reader by introducing complex notions. At worst, you’ve reminded your reader about something they already knew. At best, you’ve taught them something new, and they’ll be grateful.

#4. You don’t have to write chronologically

Inexperienced writers often think they have to write things in the order they happened. This happened, then this happened, then this. This is also true for young scientists, who often write their results in the order that they did the experiments. Don’t fall into this trap. Write your results like you’re telling a story. If it improves the story, tell the reader about the third experiment first.

#5. Ask someone else to read your work

Sometimes you might get too close to a piece of work; you can’t see the forest for the trees. Also, the more familiar you are with a piece of writing, the less likely you are to spot mistakes; the brain sees what it expects to see. You can overcome this by taking a break. Put your writing away for a week and then come back to it. If you don’t have time for that, ask a friend or colleague to read it or use a professional proofreading service. Read about our academic editing services here.

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