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Ten tips for scientific writing

Use concise, clear and simple language!

The object is to communicate the information and ideas in your assignment as efficiently and clearly as possible: if a word, sentence or paragraph does not do this, then you should probably remove it.  This will also help you keep your assignments within the word count.

If writing for a professional or academic audience, it is acceptable to use technical terminology when relevant: this may allow you to be more precise and accurate.  However, in any other case, it is usually best to use the shortest, simplest words possible: you can see some examples below.  Use longer, more complicated words sparingly: they often make your assignment harder to read, although they can add variety to your writing if you only use them occasionally.


Prefer Use sparingly
Try Endeavour
Use Utilise
End Terminate
Start Commence

If you use abbreviations, make sure that you explain what they stand for the first time you use them, and that you only use abbreviations that are in standard use elsewhere.  The same abbreviation can stand for different things in different contexts, and unexplained or unfamiliar abbreviations can be confusing.  There may be a few very common abbreviation which your audience are likely to know - such as DNA or NHS - and so may not need explaining, depending on the context; but in most cases it is still best to explain what abbreviations stand for.