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· 3 min read
Taylor Krohn

Better writing

Make the biggest impact with your research

You're deep in your research and you're excitedly writing a paper to share all the details with the world. But how can you make the biggest impact?

Most of us are so involved in our text that we forget to pay attention to the other player in this game: the reader. We find it hard to stop and think about where our reader is, what our reader is thinking of, and what our reader needs. Instead, we focus on ourselves: "What do I want to say here?" and "What do I find important?"

Pitfall

If you are only focused on yourself, you will not be seeking to communicate in a way that makes sense to your reader.

Many readers struggle to read academic articles. But you can make a difference by making your article easy to read and thus increasing its reach.

There is one basic way to improve your writing skills: shift your perspective.

Think about your reader.

As writers, you act in service to your reader. You are not the reigning monarch, you are the butler. You, the writer, do all the behind-the-scenes work to make sure your reader has an easy life. You hold the keys to the castle, you organize everything within it and, most importantly, you offer them what they need when they need it.

So when revising your text, remember to put your reader front and center and ask yourself this question for every decision that you make:

question

Will this change make it easier for my reader to understand my message?

When we are focused in on the details, it's easy to forget that this article is not for us, it's for others.

When you get feedback to "use more passive voice," ask yourself:

question

Will moving to passive voice here make it easier for my reader to understand my message?

If the answer is no, reject the suggestion and move on.

When you get the feedback that you "need to use jargon," ask yourself:

question

Will using this jargon make it easier for my reader to understand my message?

If the answer is no, reject the suggestion and move on.

When you get told that you should "use synonyms to make it less boring," ask yourself:

question

Will using different words to mean the same thing make it easier for my reader to understand my message? 1

If the answer is no, you know what to do!

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Footnotes

  1. The answer is no! Read more about consistency.