Typical mistakes in scientific papers - and how to avoid them

Posted by angelenderson on May 26, 2023
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Typical mistakes in scientific papers - and how to avoid them
Scientific writing is part of studying. When correcting or editing Bachelor's and Master's theses, we notice the same mistakes again and again. In this article, you will find valuable tips and advice on how to reliably avoid them in your work - regardless of your subject area and topic.

1. complicated expression
Basically, it is good to express yourself as simply and precisely as possible. This usually also earns you points in the evaluation. Use technical and foreign words sparingly where they are necessary. Clear and short sentence constructions in easy-to-understand words improve readability. A rule of thumb is that a sentence should have between 15 and 20 words, with a maximum of 30, so that it is read with pleasure and understood correctly. In scientific texts, you should always write complete sentences.

2. you write in the wrong tense
The majority of a scientific paper is usually written in the present tense. In some parts such as abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion, the perfect or past tenses are sometimes chosen.

This applies to the warriors before Troy, who became the heroes of the Iliad through Homer, as well as to Arnold Winkelried at the Battle of Sempach.

This was true for the warriors before Troy who became the heroes of the Iliad through Homer, and was equally true for Arnold Winkelried at the Battle of Sempach.

3 The use of the first person and personal pronouns
In scientific work, an impersonal style of writing is usually preferred. The first person form or pronouns such as I/we/man/you (direct address to the reader) etc. should be avoided. Text passages with personal connotations, such as the preface and conclusion, acknowledgments, personal accounts of experiences, reflections, or expressions of opinion, are exempt from this rule.

The appendix contains the information.
The raw data can be taken from the appendix.
The second experiment was repeated three times.
The presence of certain microorganisms also reinforces this assumption.

This information can be found in the appendix.
I repeated the second experiment three times.
The presence of certain microorganisms also strengthens our assumption.

4. no uniform spelling and precise definition of the terms
Uniform spelling and precise definition of terms is of great importance in scientific work. This is essential to ensure clear understanding of your statements and argumentation. If there are different spellings for a term, you must choose one and use it consistently throughout. Exceptions are citations and book titles.

Content marketing or content marketing, procedure or procedure, desktop publishing or desktop publishing, science fiction or science fiction.

5. formal errors in source citations or footnotes.

Source citations in footnotes or in the text usually begin with "cf." or "see" when they indicate that thoughts have been adopted and/or paraphrased but not quoted verbatim.
In contrast, source references of literal quotations in footnotes or in the text are indicated without "cf." or "see".
If a footnote refers to the entire sentence, the number is placed after the closing punctuation mark.
If the footnote refers only to the preceding word or group of words, the number is placed before the closing punctuation mark.
More detailed information can be found here: German Citation Style and APA.

6. missing distinction between citations and emphasis
The following rule has been established here:

Quotation marks are used for literal quotations from literature.
Bold or italic type or single quotation marks or quotation marks are used to indicate emphasis

An inexperienced writer can easily make such mistakes, especially if you’re hiring someone from cheap writing services. To make sure everything goes smoothly. Find a decent service by reading reviews. For example, this onlineclasshelp review.

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