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One simple way make your scientific writing more professional

 

There is one phrase that you should leave out of your manuscripts:

 The results showed that……

 

This phrase repeatedly comes up in the papers we edit and our editors always delete it or change it.  I’ll explain why we suggest you should avoid using these words in this blog post, and we provide some useful alternatives to help you improve your scientific writing.

 

"The results showed” is often unnecessary

It is usually obvious you are talking about your results.  Take a look at the examples below:

The expression of XYZ-1 mRNA was assessed using qRT-PCR.  The results showed that XYZ-1 was upregulated in breast cancer tumor samples compared to the surrounding normal tissues.

 or

The expression of XYZ-1 mRNA was assessed using qRT-PCR.  XYZ-1 was upregulated in breast cancer tumor samples compared to the surrounding normal tissues.

In many cases, it is not necessary to use the phrase “the results showed”, as in the example above.  Deleting this phrase makes the writing more concise and professional, especially if the phrase is used many times in the same paper.

 

The word “results” is uninformative
Secondly, ‘results’ does not provide any information, and this word can often be changed to tell the reader something useful about the methods or analysis. For example: 

Overall, this study demonstrates that the expression of gene XYZ-1 is a prognostic factor in breast cancer.  The results showed high expression of XYZ-1 was associated with significantly poorer overall survival.

 or

Overall, this study demonstrates that the expression of gene XYZ-1 is a prognostic factor in breast cancer.  Multivariate analysis showed high expression of XYZ-1 was associated with significantly poorer overall survival.

The edited text in this example is much more informative that the unedited example.  Using this approach can remind your reader of the different analyses you used and also makes the text much clearer.

I remember trying to write my first manuscript. Why was it so difficult? Why did I feel like a failure?

Now I’m a scientific editor, I know every single scientist struggles (or at least used to struggle) with writing manuscripts.

That’s why I’ve created a simple, FREE checklist to help you write better manuscripts.

Get your free 'Ready-to-Submit' checklist now
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