What's your best academic writing tip? — R Voice

What's your best academic writing tip?

Andrea Hayward
Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 943 admin

Happy Monday everyone! 🙂 I was browsing through Twitter today and came across a very helpful thread full of academic writing tips - jackpot! Here's one that I found particularly interesting:

I'm sure that each one of you has received a useful academic writing tip sometime or the other, or you might have even come up with one yourself that you now use to help others along their own writing journey. So here's my question to kick-start this week -

What is your best academic writing tip (either to share with someone as advice or to apply to your own writing)? Let me know in the comments! :)


  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 167 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for starting this topic @Andrea Hayward. After sharing my experiences on peer review yesterday, I'm so in for sharing my tips on writing a scientific article. Since it should be the best, I select one and will be ready to receive best tips from others.

    The shared tip in the Tweeter is actually my best tip. I do select one paper with similar theme and use it as a model for my own manuscript. Model means I can learn the writing, data presentation, and discussion styles. To respond your question, I will say that selecting data using a row technique to fulfil the research topic and flow is my best tip. I always stuck on selecting the right data, due to huge data I have. Plus, I always have a pity feeling if I have to let some data not to be included into my manuscript. So, I usually print out data, which have been managed, statistically analyzed, and presented in several forms, i.e., chart, table, etc., and set them in line. While looking back to the study topic, I cluster the data as major (i.e., directly show the research target) and minor (i.e., support the findings of research target). Then, I can focus more on the major data, which the order can be arranged to adjust the research flow in the manuscript. Honestly, some data have to be left. Pity, but, I can't force my self to disturb the story, right 😅

  • Adaora Anyichie - Odis
    Adaora Anyichie - Odis Member Posts: 128 ✭✭✭✭

    Some non-academians find our scientific writing boring...breaking certain things down while writing will get them to read too. Adding humour too while may be helpful.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 943 admin

    @Adaora Anyichie - Odis this is quite interesting! But I'm wondering if this requires a larger shift in how academic publishing works and what kind of audience it caters to. Right now, I feel like even if a research paper was interesting and easy to understand, not many non-academics or non-scientists would choose to read a complete research paper or even know where to find one. Maybe what you're suggesting would be more suitable for forms of science communication, in the current scheme of things? What do you think?

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 943 admin

    Thanks for adding to this thread @Yufita Chinta. I'm so glad that you were able to relate to the academic writing tip in the tweet I shared. I do see a lot of similarities in the tweet and what you've explained, and I think this is a great way to get started. I also like your method of sifting through the data and deciding which data points will ultimately be most relevant and useful for your manuscript. It seems like a very organized technique and I'm sure that seeing them in different visual presentation formats helps!

  • chris leonard
    chris leonard Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 168 admin

    Best tip I ever received was to treat the title and abstract as placeholders until the first draft is completed. Then go back and edit them aggressively so that they are more reflective of what you actually wrote, rather than what you thought you were going to write about. Since Title and Abstract are your first impressions on a reader (and editor/reviewer) it's important to get them right.