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Reader-friendly writing

Scientific writing should be reader-friendly. The reader should be able to navigate text easily, without having to stop and re-read.

One way of achieving a reader-friendly style is to avoid unnecessarily intricate or indirect sentences that lack a clear focus. To avoid this, decide which detail in the sentence needs focus, and move, subordinate, or omit everything else. This strategy often requires the careful consideration of information structure, punctuation, and linking words and phrases.

Sentence (1a) lacks punctuation that clarifies the sentence structure. In example (1b), the colon announces a clarification and the comma and linking word whereas neatly separate the two parts of the clarification:

Less reader-friendly

(1a) The results in Figure 6 confirm a significant gender difference inasmuch as male respondents cited employment-related reasons for their decisions and female respondents tended to cite family responsibilities.

More reader-friendly  

(1b) The results in Figure 6 confirm a significant gender difference: male respondents cited employment-related reasons for their decisions, whereas female respondents tended to cite family responsibilities.

In example (2b), note the reader-friendly nature of the shorter sentences, the repetition at the beginning of the second sentence, and the clear focus in every clause:  

Less reader-friendly

(2a) Another drawback of the cysteine variant is that the presence of multiple cysteine structures might result in di-sulphide bonds, preventing Biotin from binding to the protein and decreasing the amount of protein open for the signal cascade.

More reader-friendly

(2b) Another drawback of the cysteine variant is that the presence of multiple cysteine structures might result in di-sulphide bonds. This presence prevents Biotin from binding to the protein, thereby decreasing the amount of protein open for the signal cascade.

Example (3a), next, is not very reader-friendly due to the long dependent clause at the beginning. A reader will have to keep all this information in mind until the main clause finally begins. Instead, keep dependent clauses short and/or place them in final position, as in example (3b):

Less reader-friendly

(3a) With the aim of understanding the impact of future climate change on long-term wind power operation in the Swedish power system, which is dominated by variable renewable energy sources, this degree project presents three models for wind power development.

More reader-friendly

(3b) This degree project presents three models for wind power development with the aim of understanding the impact of future climate change on power operation. Currently, the Swedish power system is dominated by…

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Innehållsansvarig:Susanna Zeitler Lyne
Tillhör: Institutionen för lärande
Senast ändrad: 2023-06-20