Pieces of technical and professional writing are likely to incorporate visual features that call attention to information, such as bulleted lists, charts, graphs, tables, and illustrations. These serve to increase reader comprehension of the material in several ways:
1. They provide additional details about the information in the main body of the text.
2. They present the information in a visual form, thus allowing the reader to have two different methods of understanding the information.
3. They illustrate concepts or objects that are difficult to render in text form, such as the workings of a mechanism or the components of a theory.
1. Write in the third person, rather than the first person, unless you're advised otherwise by your tutors
“I checked the optical density using the spectophotometer at 650nm with water as a blank.” (1st person, active)
“The optical density was checked using the spectophotometer at 650nm with water as a blank.” (3rd person, passive)
2. Write clearly and concisely.
Cut out any words that are not serving a purpose – but not words that help explain or make things clear. Aim to be clear and concise rather than wordy or over-complicated. Your reader just wants to understand and follow your arguments, particularly in a report.
Think about the clearest way to express your points, not the one that sounds the most impressive.
Choose words precisely – avoid ambiguity or vagueness. Quantify things or give examples wherever possible.
Think about how to use subheadings, paragraphs and bullet points (where appropriate) to help the reader.
3. Word choice is important.
Although you should not under-develop your arguments or skim over important details, it is vital to explain your ideas concisely and within the word count. Conveying in depth concepts in a few carefully chosen words is an important skill for academic writers to develop. Words should not be cut at the expense of clarity, but being succinct is much more important than sounding 'flashy.'
4. Be concrete and precise.
Specific examples give weight to your points:
“The impact of behaviorism on education has been significant, as demonstrated by the widespread use of positive reinforcement in primary schools.”
Clichés or generalizations are a waste of words:
“Language is hugely important for humans”
“This is clearly a highly interesting topic.”
5.) Editing and revising are both important.
Editing a paragraph
To improve the internal structure of a paragraph, copy and paste it into a separate document and then put a line space between each sentence. Once the paragraph is spread out like this, you will be able to see if there are any very long sentences, check that the sentences are in the most appropriate sequence, and spot any sentences that are just repeating ideas, or that don’t really belong in this paragraph at all.