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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4
votes
1answer
235 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 ...
11
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1answer
21k 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
175 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
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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
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1answer
9k 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
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1answer
2k 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
170 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 ...
2
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3answers
603 views

Is it appropriate to use emoji or similar icons in a paper?

I'm not in academia anymore, but spend quite a bit of my time reading papers and using the findings as part of my job. Today I picked up a paper that contained a couple of emoji-type icons in the ...
0
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2answers
65 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
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1answer
182 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
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2answers
722 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
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3answers
2k 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
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2answers
601 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
214 views

When should one's field of study be capitalized? [closed]

I've seen people capitalize their field of study: I'm studying Planetary Science. She teaches Computational Physics at the university. Other people leave it uncapitalized: ...
2
votes
2answers
207 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
66 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
505 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
137 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
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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
18k 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
109 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.
1
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1answer
3k views

Tenses in introduction and summary of every chapter

I am writing an undergraduate dissertation. I am not quite sure what tenses should I use when introducing a chapter and summarizing it. Should I refer to that chapter in present, future or past tenses....
0
votes
1answer
7k 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
85 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Colloquial language in research papers

I recently read an article suggesting that you should write in the same way that you would talk. I agree with the ideas but I wonder how much it applies to formal venues like journal publications ...
8
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2answers
2k views

“Percent” in chart title and on axis – redundant?

Consider the chart below: When writing percent in the title, and % on the axis marks, is this redundant? Is the word amount preferable? I haven’t seen this addressed in any style guides such as the ...
6
votes
2answers
205 views

Any shame in copying from a grant proposal body to create an abstract?

I have to write an abstract for a grant proposal's cover page. Is there any shame in strategically copying/pasting entire sentences from the body of the grant proposal and arranging them coherently to ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Is it good style to create http links in a B.Sc. project?

We are two students in computer science doing our term project for B.Sc. in computer science. Now I wonder if it is alright or advisable to make inline hyperlinks in the report e.g. We look at ...
27
votes
5answers
7k views

Why do papers not have a table of contents?

Most papers (at least in maths, but I believe this applies to other subjects as well) don't have a table of contents (TOC), but dedicate the last paragraph of the introduction to essentially the same ...
-1
votes
2answers
124 views

Is it possible to contribute a native speaker for editing the paper and add him/her as authors? Is there anyone? [closed]

I'm working on SIMDization and Optimization. I usually do some great jobs. But writing a good article needs a good knowledge of writing skill. I've implemented many programs. I can write and organize ...
14
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6answers
35k views

Where should citations be placed relative to punctuation (e.g., full stops and commas)?

This question pops up every time I write an article (in the computer science domain), and I am unable to find a British English style-guide providing a proper answer. Where should citations be ...
110
votes
14answers
29k views

Why do researchers sometimes use extremely complicated English sentences to convey their meaning?

I will begin with a disclaimer, I am not an English native speaker, but I can speak fluent English and understand English in almost all research papers I read. However, occasionally I come across ...
3
votes
3answers
771 views

Is there a standard template for a long list of acknowledgement section for master's thesis? [duplicate]

There are a lot of people/websites/organizations that I want to include in the acknowledgement section of my master thesis. I think it does not look good if I name all of them in sequence with a brief ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Does citation refer to paper or authors?

I imagine this question is asked before, but I could not find the answer. This is the example sentence that got me wondering: Gneiting and Ranjan (2013) generalize/generalizes these findings and ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Name of section dedicated for explaining subjects that are not 100% related to main subject of thesis

I am not sure this is the place to ask this question. I am writing my master thesis and I have sections in preliminaries that don't have anything to do with the main topic of thesis but they further ...
54
votes
5answers
13k views

Co-authors request that others do not use “he” as a pronoun - is this reasonable?

We are a bunch of people writing a collection of papers. Two of the writers are from Iran (where the common language does not have gendered pronouns), and they have expressed to me some concern with ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

How to write tedious algebraic manipulations

In some of my papers, some of the results require tedious but straightforward algebraic manipulations. I am not sure what is the best way to present these manipulations: I can write them at the paper ...
0
votes
1answer
123 views

Describing a still working self developed software system in a research paper. Which tense to use?

Hello, Ive developed a Software system, consisting of different parts for research purpose. And need to write a research thesis about this. Which will be my first scientific work in english ( iam not ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Is writing short proofs inline bad form?

I'm TeXing up a paper right now and I would like to ask for a sanity test about proper form. In the paper, there are some statements which seem too simple to be called a Proposition or Lemma, let ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

When should an author disclaim historical knowledge?

Gilbert Sheldon was born at Ashbourne in Derbyshire on July 19, 1598. Very little is known of his family background. It drives me crazy to read about some historical figure that "not much is known of ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Choosing a title for a research paper

What are the best practices for writing a research paper title? I am looking for some general guidelines. Does one go with short and sweet? Or a bit longer and informative? Should one phrase it as ...
3
votes
4answers
452 views

To what extent should I follow “style rules” in academic writing?

Some journals request that authors follow a specific style manual (e.g., APA or Chicago manuals of style). One style rule is to avoid starting a sentence with an abbreviation (with some exceptions). ...
4
votes
3answers
247 views

X theorem or X's theorem

I am always stuck by the randomness of some syntax rules in academic articles, hence I cannot infer a proper answer to this question: Is there a correct way to choose among "X theorem" and "X's ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Correcting grammatical errors versus content in post-graduate coursework submissions in the sciences

During an intramural teaching forum, I was interested to learn from a Head of Department (HoD) that she didn't consider it her role to correct grammatical errors when evaluating coursework submissions ...
7
votes
1answer
46k views

When referring to races, should 'black' and 'white' be capitalized? (MLA)

I was assigned to write about the relationship between poverty and crime, and in my research, race came up as a factor. I'm supposed to use the MLA format. Should 'black' and 'white' be capitalized ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Placement of illustration: before/after text?

I've been reading conflicting advice on SE about the placement of an illustration (figure, table, algorithm). My questions are thus (refer to Section 3.3.1 in the attached figure): I understand that,...
7
votes
1answer
709 views

“Master's” vs. “master”

I have to write a letter about a graduate course abroad. I began it like this: I am writing this letter to apply for XXX Master in XXXX. and ended with: I am absolutely sure that I will ...

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