Questions tagged [writing-style]

Questions about the tones, turns of phrase and other writing patterns that are appropriate for writing in an academic context.

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39
votes
7answers
10k views

Is it wrong to start your abstract with a question?

My abstracts starts with three specific questions that my proposed research will answer. But when my friend saw this, he said: "I will never start an abstract with questions, and I will never read ...
2
votes
1answer
198 views

Attributing Second-order Citations

Imagine that a paper by [Author A] has pulled together some literature on the misuse of a technology in context X. I now want to talk about misuse of the same technology but in context Y. When ...
22
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5answers
6k views

How to properly address an unsolved problem that is very hard to solve in mathematical thesis?

I'm preparing my thesis presentation and I'm trying to address a situation in which the general case has no known solution and is an open, very hard to solve, problem. It involves non-isolated ...
0
votes
1answer
97 views

To use bracket or footnote in the academic writing?

For example, I'd like to introduce the saliency map (also referred as human attention map in [1] and [2]). Or I'd like to introduce the saliency map1. 1: Saliency map is also referred as ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Reporting Results: Active or Passive voice? [duplicate]

I am writing my first publication and I heard a lot of different opinions on the matter of using passive or active voice in publications. This question focuses in particular on the results. Should I ...
0
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2answers
621 views

When to use “I” in a master's thesis

A similar question exists here however I don't feel that answers my specific question. Other questions on this topic seem to explain why "we" is primarily used in academic writing, which I understand. ...
1
vote
2answers
250 views

How to avoid using “I” in a research paper in case of referring to my previous work?

As I know, using "I" and "we" should be avoided in research paper writing. But in one of my paper, I am the only one author. And in the introduction I wrote something like AA et al. proved that ..., ...
2
votes
2answers
171 views

How to interpret the phrase “experimental approach”?

I'm writing the introduction for a research proposal and am trying to express that our approach is "experimental" in the sense that it uses more exploratory and alternative methods rather than that it ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Acronyms at the start of a sentence

I was wondering if there was a rule regarding the use of acronyms at the start of the sentence in Journal Papers. If so, is there a difference between the state of use of that acronym (i.e., whether ...
1
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1answer
70 views

Is it common practice to have a separate “Further Discussion” after the conclusion in an academic article?

I received reviews of my manuscript for IEEE Transactions. One question from a reviewer, about a common misconception regarding the technology, is interesting but is not relevant anywhere else in the ...
1
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1answer
13k views

How do I address research gaps in my Thesis (Research article)? [closed]

I have gone through some papers and Ph.D theses in my field but haven't found an explicit discussion about the 'research gap' in their field. Can anyone give me an example where the author discusses ...
26
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4answers
5k views

Is it a good practice to end a mathematical equation with a comma or a period in a scientific article?

I have noticed from different published articles that mathematical equations may or may not be ended by a comma or a period (depending on their position in the text). Which is the best practice?
2
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1answer
57 views

How can I point the reader of my report to another source for background information?

In my report I introduce a topic that is good background information for my report but not crucial. To try and shorten the length of my report, rather than summarizing another paper I'd like to leave ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

What is a 'classic paper', and when do we refer to a work as a 'classic work'?

I have come across a few times in research papers or in books, where the authors refer a past (mostly an old) research paper as classic paper. For example, in a book Bratko refers the following: ...
53
votes
7answers
7k views

Is it standard for a math research paper to include less detail in proofs than a typical textbook would?

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student in Mathematics. Recently, I read a mathematics paper. It seems that the proof in the paper is not as convincing as what one might find in a textbook. For ...
6
votes
1answer
140 views

How to learn the format of a scientific paper, to emulate it?

I'm a high school student, and I'm planning on doing a few simple chemistry experiments in my spare time (not as a part of any class). I thought it might be fun to write up a faux-paper on one or more ...
3
votes
1answer
145 views

Is it OK to use “Group A, B, C …” in a manuscript?,

I am currently preparing a manuscript which lies in the biomedical field. My study has five groups, and their identification is a bit tedious to describe in a full term (something like "'abcd' ...
10
votes
1answer
886 views

Cover letter: “I” or “we”? I did almost all the research and most of the writing

In a cover letter to apply for an assistant professor job in the Western US, I want to refer to one of my publications in particular: Indeed, this theme is the topic of my 2016 paper in Journal ...
1
vote
3answers
67 views

Using reference as a subject in writing [duplicate]

Is it acceptable to use references as a subject in a sentence (in the context of academic writing, preferably in computer science)? For example: An extensive research has been done on eye capture ...
21
votes
7answers
4k views

Using slang in a Scientific Paper

We are writing a paper about an algorithm that takes a group of solutions and sorts them by their likelihood of being equal to the one and only 'good solution'. Internally, we refer to this 'good ...
0
votes
1answer
436 views

How to quote in the title of a thesis in APA style?

I am writing my bachelor thesis (in psychology) and I am planning to use a quote from the series Game of Thrones as my title. More specifically, my title is: ‘The lone wolf dies but the pack ...
8
votes
4answers
867 views

When should we repeat a statement of a theorem before proof in a paper?

When should we repeat a statement of a theorem before proof? Suppose we have a theorem in a paper at the introduction or at the beginning of a section. However, a proof is given, say, six pages ...
-1
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2answers
72 views

Experimental results summarized in a single large table OR smaller tables with subset of results?

In my experiment, I have obtained a large chunk of results for many different problems being effectively solved by my implemented hypothesis. If I keep my results as subsets for each problem, then I ...
3
votes
1answer
17k views

How to write an email to request a dataset to a professor [duplicate]

I'm interested in a dataset used in a scientific article, but I am not able to find this dataset on the Internet, I guess it is because the dataset was provided by NSTAR (an energy company) that no ...
2
votes
1answer
133 views

Past vs. Present Tense in APA Format when discussing other's work?

When I am discussing previous work, according to APA formatting, it is clear I should use past "Alicke (2000) described....". However, what tense do I use to explain their results? Aka "The model ...
6
votes
3answers
437 views

What is the correct manner to make it clear that your passage is paraphrasing a reference, that itself is refering to another reference?

I'm sure that this must come up a lot when writing papers. Reference A1 gives a lit review of a field. A passage talks about paper B1, and I summerise B1 also. How do you make it clear in your ...
2
votes
2answers
635 views

Stylistically is it acceptable to include equations and formulae in a literature review?

I am writing a literature review as part of a master's thesis in mechanical engineering. I am discussing the approach of one author and I was wondering whether or not it is acceptable to include ...
4
votes
1answer
233 views

The usage of a literally incorrect phrase to simplify the meaning in manuscripts

I am writing a survey paper in computer science, where I frequently use the sentence: ....videos that are taken from uncalibrated monocular moving cameras.... In long sentences, the above phrase ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Why older papers are more difficult to read than the new ones?

Skimming through the literature, I find that in theoretical high-energy physics (modern gravitation theories, scalar tensor theories, etc.), older papers are more difficult to read than new papers ...
29
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3answers
4k views

Refereeing a lazy, but correct paper [duplicate]

When refereeing a paper, I often have objections to the work that do not rise to the level of using the coercive powers of a referee to delay or reject the work. For instance, I find myself wanting to ...
9
votes
1answer
12k views

What tense to use when writing a thesis?

I am well aware of the fact that there are a number of questions that talk about tenses in research, but I still have not found exactly what I am after. Basically my question is this, in a Master ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

Should I use “I” or “We” in Peer-Review Journal Submissions? [duplicate]

I am the single author for a journal article which focuses on the measurement and validation of two scale instruments. This is a purely quantitative report for submission in a top-tier educational ...
31
votes
3answers
5k views

Citing two authors with the same surname – is it worth noting that they are distinct people?

In the paper I am currently writing I cite works by Bill Smith and Fred Smith. I refer to them both several times, as several of Bill Smith’s papers provide the basis for some of the techniques I am ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Abbreviation of “number (of)” in a table heading

In a table, I would like to use abbreviate the word number. The column heading is namely: Number of items In what is the correct abbreviation for the word “numbers”? both "No" and "#" are ...
3
votes
1answer
835 views

When to use the abbreviations f and ff in scientific literature?

As discussed in this question, the abbreviations f and ff can be used to refer to following page numbers. For instance, pages 45-46 can be written as 45f. This is quite common in German law, but I ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Should formulas include units?

I recently submitted a paper that includes formulas related to building physics, such as Q = K (t_b - t) where Q is the daily heating load, K is the building's heat loss coefficient, and so on. All ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

Terminology: Pagraph subject identification prefix text

Reference books, technical manuals, MIL standards, etc., prefix every paragraph with a short subject identification statement. For example, paragraph 1.3 in the 16th ed. of the Chicago Manual of Style ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Attribution of authorship within undergraduate group project reports

I teach a senior design course for undergraduate engineering students at a public university. Our senior design projects are all team based, usually with three to five engineering students per team. ...
0
votes
2answers
496 views

Are there style guides for lists of figures / list of tables? [closed]

I am currently writing my thesis and I will add a list of figures and a list of tables. Are there any style guides how to / not to write the text shown for each entry in those lists? (e.g. I could ...
1
vote
3answers
934 views

Dimensionless axis plots

How to properly label graphs that can be dimensionless? One of reviewers of my document strongly emphasised on labelling plots with which I generally strongly agree. On this occasion, however, I was ...
-1
votes
2answers
353 views

Is it ok to talk about next chapters in a chapter's introduction?

Context: I am writing a thesis that is divided in a few parts (e.g. "Context and motivations", "Literature review", "Experiments", etc.). Each part starts with a 100-200 words-long introduction (or ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

In writing, do I need to define an abbreviation when it is already an industry standard term?

When writing academic and scientific literature, are there any good guidelines to when you can omit defining an industry standard abbreviation? Are there any guidelines to where you can draw the line? ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Capitalization conventions for departments, schools, etc

(Disclaimer: I'm unsure if this is more appropriate here or on English SE instead; Please do migrate this if deemed more appropriate elsewhere) Are there any general guidelines on when/how to ...
0
votes
1answer
495 views

When did it become customary to eschew gender pronouns in scientific essays?

Anyone who's written a scientific essay knows that the use of he/she/him/her, etc are frowned-upon (except where necessary) But where does this come from? When did it achieve (near) consensus? When ...
3
votes
2answers
134 views

Is it recommended to have a free-standing background chapter to avoid cluttering the main text with different topics?

Some general recommendations on master theses are: a master thesis should be readable without looking up external references a master thesis should present the topic in a way a someone with a ...
21
votes
6answers
4k views

Adjective order in academia: “Italian young adults”

It's always been my understanding that age precedes nationality in standard adjective order (see, for example, The Royal Order of Adjectives); thus, it should be "young Italian adults" rather than "...
5
votes
1answer
12k views

Is it okay to discuss personal experiences or observations in literature review?

Is it okay to discuss personal experiences or observations in literature review as long as they are relevant and contribute to the presentation of the summary of literature? In other words, I am not ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

Should equations be formatted in scientific notation?

I have an equation that has very small coefficients (f(x) = -0.000014x4 + 0.000044x + 0.002782) should I put the whole thing in scientific notation, or can I leave it as-is in a paper? Thanks.
0
votes
1answer
4k views

Should you justify or left-align text when writing?

I've written a 5,000 word essay on a topic of my choosing. While reading through my writing, my teacher suggested I justify my text, as opposed to left-aligning it, as this looks neater. I agree, ...
3
votes
0answers
77 views

Why is it bad practice to write “In [1], it is shown that…” [duplicate]

I don't remember where, but I read that it is not recommended to write, in a article, something like [...], as detailed in [1]. Instead, we should write [...], as detailed by Someone [1]. In ...