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