Scientific writing style must and can be learned by students. If you want to write a scientific paper (or in most cases rather have to) you usually have a lot of thoughts about the topic, the question to be dealt with and useful literature. But not only the “what” is important here, also the “how” must be considered.
It’s clear that somehow you have to write differently than you write a blog article or an e-mail. But how do you actually write scientifically? Scientific writing style – what does it look like? The following article brings light into the darkness.
What is a scientific writing style in the thesis?
Too often, “scientific” is equated with “complicated”. Then sentences take whole paragraphs and simple phrases are replaced with rare foreign words. This is at the expense of comprehensibility. But science wants to impart knowledge and for that it has to be understandable.
That may be surprising, because which student was not sitting for hours on a scientific text whose meaning simply did not want to open up to him? Such work can be intimidating and, in the worst case, cause doubt as to whether the chosen course of study was the right one. But there is a consolation: authors who can hardly convey their statements understandably lack a good scientific writing style. You have not kept the highest maxim: Write so that you will be understood.
In addition to the intelligibility of the material relevance of the text is important. Each statement must be in proportion to the question. A well thought-out structure, where you can walk along, prevents unnecessary distractions.
The same is true with subjective statements. Scientific work is based on objective facts. Thoughts, opinions and feelings are subjective if they are not scientifically proven. The personal interest in the chosen topic may be mentioned in the introduction and the own opinion on the question can be formulated in the conclusion. But even these subjective statements must be marked accordingly, so that they can not be confused with scientific facts.
Scientific writing style: sentence structure
Kafkaesque sentences in which the beginning is already forgotten when one reaches the end of the sentence have a detrimental effect on comprehensibility. But confusing sentence constructions can also lead to serious allegations. Those who write so that they are not understood prevent them from being refuted. But science lives on being verified (confirmed) and falsified (refuted). A scientific writing style can guarantee exactly that.
For this reason, one should not try to impress with heavily nested and unnecessarily long sentence constructions, because this is anything but a scientific writing style. Instead, it is the statements that should convince! Sentences like “This is summarized again below.” Can be deleted confidently. To convince, thoughts must be clearly formulated in clear sentences.
When a sentence is too long, can be determined by a simple sample: one reads the sentence carefully word by word. In doing so, every superfluous word is deleted until only the statement that the sentence should convey is left. If the sentence then still seems too long, you can check how many statements he actually contains. As a rule of thumb, “one statement per sentence” may apply. A sentence that contains several pieces of information can therefore be divided into two or even three sentences. If you have a problem here, you can, for example, use the academic editing of a bachelor thesis to ensure a scientific writing style.
Scientific writing style: words and phrases
Faulty phrasing can make a well thought-out work appear in bad light and are not a scientific writing style. Expressions such as “considering,” “asking a question,” or “cleaning up misunderstandings” seem right, but still sound funny. Stefan Kühtz has in his guide “Scientifically formulated. Tips and phrases for study and school “collected many common formulation patterns for scientific work. He also gives examples that illustrate their use. So you can learn what scientific writing style is!
A scholarly work should not burst with technical terms, since these can distract from the actual statement. Nevertheless, a scientific writing style requires a certain amount of “jargon”. However, these terms should be chosen wisely and appropriate to the topic. Formulations that are not part of the daily vocabulary of the expert reader should be briefly explained.
In any case, it is important to stay precise. Collective terms and generalizations should be avoided. For example, a book becomes a novel, a plant becomes a basket flower, and a metal becomes manganese. Which concrete terms one chooses, must always be decided in the context and in consideration of the exact question of the work.
Words such as “about,” “about,” or “presumably” do not belong to a scholarly work that seeks to convey concrete knowledge and is not a scientific writing style. Even so-called human relationships are inappropriate. A chapter can not point to something and a footnote does not provide any information. The same is true of metaphors. These pictorial representations are generally intended to facilitate understanding but contradict the need for a neutral and precise language style. Therefore, metaphors should only be used in cases where they offer added value in terms of content.
The right citation and a scientific writing style
Especially in literary works that require a lot of reading and extensive literature research beforehand, it can be difficult to separate one’s own thoughts from the statements of others. A direct quote must already be recognizable by the special formatting. Indirect citations, which are reproduced in their own words, must be marked accordingly in the running text and provided with the obligatory reference to the exact source.
If one refers to statements of others, one can quickly get into the subjunctive trap, likewise no scientific writing style. A text that is full of “should”, “could”, “should” is not only difficult to read. It also begs the thought that the author has not made any own reflections and conclusions. For this reason, one should always be careful to find a balanced level of representation of other’s thoughts and own ideas and ratings.
A scientific writing style has to observe a few basic rules. It helps to understand what constitutes scientific work. It conveys knowledge and therefore has to be understandable. In addition, it deals with a specific question and must therefore be relevant. It reveals facts and must therefore be objective. These requirements are met by short, concise sentences, correct and precise wording and the right citation.