Before starting, it is worth remembering that the objective of academic writing is to present the results of research, its respective analysis, and conclusions persuasively. To do this, it must be easy to understand by the audience it is aimed at. For example, writing an easy-to-understand scientific paper like a dissertation is not simple and in many cases, a dissertation team may be needed to polish things up.
Is your writing like that? Or do you also fall into the trap of being too gimmicky?
Surely you still have stumbles with this matter, but don’t worry. This article is especially aimed at you.
I will share with you some tricks that will become part of your golden manual (not as magical as Aladdin’s lamp, but almost like that). Let’s begin, then, with a series of tips for writing a thesis with clarity and precision. You will see that they are simpler than you think.
In informal speech and writing, the verbs believe and think are used interchangeably, but in academic writing, however, research results must be conveyed more accurately. Consider the difference in meaning between “I feel the correct dose is 25 mg” and “I believe the correct dose is 25 mg.” Which statement would give you the most confidence when following a recipe?
Confine the use of touch in situations in which emotion or sensory perception is under discussion.
‘While’ and ‘although’
Limit the use of “while” to only describing events that occur simultaneously. It is not a grammatical error to use while in the sense of although, but it can lead to confusion.
Tom enjoys eating mashed potatoes while Henry eats French fries.
Is Tom’s enjoyment of mashed potatoes dependent on or chronologically related to Henry’s consumption of French fries?
If so, the previous sentence is fine.
If, however, it is two adversative sentences, preferably use although or but to emphasize the contrast between the two events. This way you will avoid ambiguities, such as those shown in the following set of sentences:
Salmon swim upstream while leaves float downstream. [The fish and the leaves move at the same time]
Salmon swim upstream, while leaves float downstream. [The movement of the fish contrasts with the movement of the leaves]
Use of links in thesis writing
Avoid approach language
Vague language weakens the impact of your ideas and makes it harder for readers to evaluate your work.
Avoid terms such as very few, some, most, and almost all, particularly when reporting the results of empirical experiments.
Tell your readers exactly how much, where, and when you made your observations.
Avoid euphemisms and jargon
Each field has its own technical vocabulary, a kind of shorthand that communicates ideas in a compact way. This is a slang word meaning, and it’s not a bad thing.
The problem arises when writers use technical vocabulary where it does not apply. Extremely technical language can be justified in a dissertation or lab report when you are writing for a narrow audience.
However, when you are writing a journal article, consider whether the use of scientific jargon may be a barrier to readers outside your subspecialty. Your article will be understood by more readers (and, therefore, be cited more often) if you avoid unnecessarily obscure language.
If you are going to use little-known technical words, write down their meaning at the bottom of the page. If they are abundant, include them at the end of the document in a glossary of terms.
Trick to write a thesis clearly
On the other hand, slang can also refer to those used as euphemisms. The federal bureaucracy provides ample evidence of this use. For example, enhanced interrogation for torture, and housing insecurity for homeless people. But academic writers must also fight against that tendency.
“The rats were killed by decapitation” is a euphemism, intended to create distance from the reality of killing and decapitating rodents.
Don’t be afraid to be direct about unpleasant topics. Address them head-on. Your readers will respect you for it.
Read and reread
You’ve probably heard that you should read over and over again before proofreading your drafts. That is very true. Not only you should read it, but it is recommended that other people read it too. This way, you will be able to appreciate errors, omissions, and contradictions more easily.
Forget about fancy and pedantic words that, far from giving elegance to the text, make it impossible to understand. Simply say what you have to say. Avoid long and abstract terms, and choose, instead, concrete and smaller ones. Remember that you are seeking to be clear and precise in your ideas. Use short sentences, and short paragraphs and leave aside complicated and confusing explanations. They will only make the reader get stuck and drown without perceiving the main idea.
There are certainly more tips to achieve greater clarity and precision in our academic documents, but these will help you enough. Take them into account when writing any research paper, and cheer up! The more you put them into practice, the more yours they will become, until you use them automatically.