The core features of the scientific writing style II

In the previous article, I focused on the basic characteristics by which a good scientific paper is defined. Another important aspect of a high-quality coherent text, is its agreement to basic linguistic rules. Here’s what you should pay attention to when selecting words, expressions and using abbreviations.

Verb formation is an important linguistic structure to pay attention to while writing. Proper scientific papers are objective and impartial. These features are stressed by using passive voice. It should be done with care, though, while passive form adds a more distant touch, the text can also lose its comprehensibility (it loses its rhythm) (Milas, 2005; Silobrčić, 1998).

Another important aspect to consider is the use of words. Local dialect and colloquial phrases should be avoided, a scientific text should only be written in standard language. Also, one should be careful while using numeric descriptions. Ambiguous numeric definition phrases like ‘quite’, ‘almost everybody’, ‘very few’, etc can lead to personal (read: various) interpretation(s). Following the mentioned rules however keeps the scientific text clear, precise and it leaves no room for misinterpretation of what was meant (Milas, 2005).

Scientists often like to use abbreviations and acronyms. There is a simple guideline to follow while using them: when introducing the abbreviation for the first time, write the whole phrase/word and put the abbreviation in brackets. This is done so the reader can know throughout the text, to what the abbreviation is referring. Furthermore, whenever possible, avoid such shortcuts in titles, in abstracts and in summaries of articles (Silobrčić, 1998).

Summary: tips to follow
Correct usage of linguistic phrases ensures clarity, preciseness, comprehensibility and smooth reading of the text. Therefore, direct special attention to the use of correct, unambiguous and direct linguistic phrases and forms which, if used properly, support delivering the meaning of the scientific text.

Milas, G. (2005). Istraživačke metode u psihologiji i drugim društvenim znanostima. Jastrebarsko: Naklada Slap
Silobrčić, V. (1998). Kako sastaviti, objaviti i ocijeniti znanstveno djelo. Zagreb: Medicinska Naklada

Edited by: Maris Vainre

About the author

Petra Kralj

  • Marta Ganderáková

    Hi, please can you please send me the name of a book writen by Silobrčić, 1998 you have used it in this article? You would help me a lot because I need it for my bachelor theses. Thanks a lot Marta

  • Ivan Flis

    Hey, the one in the reference list? It says that the book is as follows: Silobrčić, V. (1998). Kako sastaviti, objaviti i ocijeniti znanstveno djelo. Zagreb: Medicinska Naklada

    If that’s not it, I’ll bug Petra to take a look and tell you about the one you need!

  • Ivan Flis

    Oh, also note, that book is only written in Croatian. I don’t think there’s an English translation!