You spend months and years on your research. However, for writing your research paper, it need not be lengthy.
Most journals recommend a word count limit for their research papers. But, authors find it difficult to write concisely and conform to a word count limit. That’s because they usually have so much to say. Conforming to the journal requirements, however, is important to avoid getting rejected. You must write concisely when drafting your manuscript and proofread it critically to identify any text for shortening.
So, here are the tips to write your research paper concisely.
1) Look for the sentences that begin with “there is a previous study on,” “it has been reported that,” and similar phrases. Reference citations accompany such sentences Thus, the above phrases become unnecessary and you can delete them leaving only the citation.
Original: It has been reported that the gingerols dehydrate faster under acidic conditions than at an alkaline pH (Surh and Lee, 1994) (17 words)
Revised: The gingerols dehydrate faster under acidic conditions than at an alkaline pH (Surh and Lee, 1994) (12 words)
2) Quote the product names in the sentences within parentheses to shorten them
Original: They measured the samples on the ABC graduated cylinder to determine their volume. (13 words)
Revised: They measured the samples to determine their volume (ABC graduated cylinder) (8 words)
3) Use of a noun instead of a verb makes the sentence lengthy. So, search these and correct them.
Original: A diagnosis of hypertension was made on the basis of the findings. (12 words)
Revised: Hypertension was diagnosed based on the findings. (7 words)
4) In the results section, do not state individual values for groups or for statistical significance. Place the values in parentheses.
Original: The calcium level was 10 mg/dl in Group A, while it was 8 mg/dl in Group B, the difference being statistically significant (p < 0.05). (25 words)
Revised: The difference in the calcium level between groups A and B was significant (10 mg vs. 5 mg, p < 0.05). (21 words)
5) Eliminate the sentences containing basic information obvious to the readers. Check for any such statements at the beginning of the introduction and discussion. For example, for writing a study about AIDS, an introductory statement like “AIDS is a life-threatening disease” is obvious and should be avoided.
6) Replace all wordy phrases with less wordy options.
- A number of – several
- As a result – therefore
- On the other hand – while
- As a consequence of – owing to
7) Eliminate repeated verbs in a sentence by using “elliptical constructions.”
Original: Group A was given paracetamol, Group B was given crocin, and Group C was given nimesulide. (16 words)
Revised: Group A was given paracetamol; Group B crocin; and Group C nimesulide (12 words)
8) Use hyphenated terms wherever possible.
Original: The girl was so obsessed with herself that she could not bear it (13 words)
Revised: The girl was self-obsessed and could not bear it. (9 words)
9) Use active voice instead of passive to reduce the word count as far as possible.
Original: Written notice was given by all doctors. (7 words)
Revised: All doctors gave a written notice (6 words)
10) Avoid possessive sentence constructions using “of.”
Original: Patients of Group A were followed up for 6 months, and those of Group B for 12 months. (18 words)
Revised: Group A patients were followed up for 6 months and Group B patients for 12 months. (15 words)
These guidelines will help you reduce the length of your manuscript without altering the content and also enhance its readability. It takes time, efforts, and several passes of the manuscript to identify such areas of conciseness. Fortunately, you can always take the help of scientific writing services and make your manuscript concise and publication-ready.
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