Are you currently working on your first science paper? Good news! We’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you with that task.
Tips and tricks to improve your article
People who are reading journal articles, again, they don’t have a ton of time and they want to get to the meat of what you are researching. And reviewers will say too wordy, too verbose, things like that. I will see often times paragraphs that are one or two sentences long. A paragraph should be four to five sentences unless you are saying something that is absolutely profound. But typically they should be four to five sentences long, otherwise it does not make it a paragraph. You should cut redundant words. I see often people say ‘the majority of’, okay, well, you just used three words where you could have said ‘many’.
You have to be careful when you’re saying ‘the majority of’ because are you talking about the average? Are you talking about the mean? Are you talking about the median? So often times people will just say ‘the majority of’. That’s not specific enough and it’s too wordy, too redundant. And again, use strong descriptive adjectives and eliminate filler words. A sentence should not be three lines in the paper and sometimes I will see sentences that are just going and going and going and that becomes a run-on sentence.
Next: don’t editorialise. And I know it’s really difficult to do, especially when you are doing research and you’re excited by your findings. You need to only stick to the facts. You need to attribute either to a reference or to the data that you have found or even to your own work. Your previous published journals, I have seen some students get really excited about their findings and then they start jumping to a lot of conclusions that maybe aren’t necessarily proven. And so it’s called editorialising and it’s unintentional, but it can also turn off journals because they want to be able to come to their own opinions without having you insert your opinion. This one is a big one, particularly in social sciences. Try not to use the word prove because as academics it is inherent in our human nature and our DNA to try to just prove anything that someone says is proven. You can say that it’s something statistically significant. You can say something has been validated, but you don’t want to say prove because you can lose a lot of credibility because when someone, someone’s going to feel the challenge to disprove whatever you think you’ve proved.
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