Why do I need to think about 'signposts' in my scientific writing?
When you work on a research project for some time, you become an expert. All of the little important details of your study and experiments become embedded in your brain. You probably even dream about those cells or patients!
However, when we start to write about our research, it can be easy to assume our readers - the thesis examiners or journal reviewers - know all of these...
It can be difficult to decide what to include in your figures and tables in your thesis or manuscript.
How can you make sure they are complete and informative?
My supervisor on my industry placement year taught me the one-page rule and I use it every day!
First, let's pretend you print out one of your figures or tables on one page.
Then, imagine you give the page to a good undergrad/MSc student working in the lab next door - someone who understands "science" but who doesn't know your...
Tables are a crucial part of your manuscript and thesis as they hold so much information.
It's really important to take the time to format your tables correctly and make sure the data is complete and understandable.
I like to think of the 'one-page rule' when considering if my table is complete.
Ask yourself: If I printed out my table, along with the title and table footnotes, could a good undergrad/MSc student working in my lab understand what I did? (without...
It’s no secret that experienced authors — whether they write technical documents, children’s books or romance novels — make solid plans and outlines before they write a single word.
In the same way, I recommend you should plan your whole manuscript as a simple list of bullet points before you start to actually write. That's because it is virtually impossible to write well if you haven’t...
Most students and researchers find it easy to collect information from the literature for the introduction or discussion section of their manuscript.
However, linking different facts together to produce logical, clear text is often difficult, especially if you do not have English as first language.
In this post, we’ll show you how it’s easy to use adverbs as “building blocks” in your writing to link or move between different ideas.
This is the second post in our series about creating and editing scientific tables. In the first post, we saw how basic table formatting and effective table titles could be used to improve an example of a poorly constructed table.
This post will deal with table row and column titles, units, error values and sample sizes. Let’s continue with the example table that we began to improve in the first post.
Fig. 1: Improved table after placing values...
Tables are a very important part of scientific papers. A good table should present the data simply, clearly and neatly, and allow the reader to understand the results without having to look at other sections of the paper. A bad table can be very confusing, and may reduce the chances of your paper being accepted.
In this post, we will look at the basic rules for creating effective scientific tables.
Let’s begin with an example of a bad table, highlighting some...
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...
Recently, I was editing a manuscript and found a sentence that reminded me of the importance of avoiding “double negatives” in scientific writing.
The patient had no abnormal blood glucose or insulin levels.
What are double negatives?
Double negative phrases are often used in informal spoken English, for example: "I didn’t do no cooking", "he never ate no food" and "they don’t know nothing".
In mathematics, two negatives always make...
In this post, I’m going to provide a quick overview of the most common basic errors our editors see in scientific manuscripts.
1. Check for spelling mistakes
This is obvious, yet it is surprising how many spelling mistakes our editors see in manuscripts. Firstly, use the spell check feature, making sure it is applied to all of the text in the file. Secondly, choose the correct language (e.g., US/American English or UK/British English) for your target journal or thesis...
Simple, bite-sized tips from an English scientific editor, delivered as short videos you can watch in less time than it takes to drink a coffee.
We know the most common mistakes in scientific writing - and we want you to avoid these errors.
These easy-to-understand videos will show you how to avoid basic mistakes and help you write manuscripts with more confidence.
You'll be able to apply this knowledge immediately, so you can spend more time actually doing research.