Taboo words in scientific papers
Or also: Why you should avoid quite a lot of things when writing a scientific paper ...
When writing a scientific paper, there are a lot of things to consider. In addition to the content, the structure and the formalities, the language must also meet the scientific requirements in the end - certain "taboo words" should be avoided at all costs, for example. Some of these taboo words are already hidden in the subtitle of this article, which will be improved section by section below.
So-called "man" constructions are considered inaccurate and thus unscientific, which is why they are not suitable in a scientific context, even if they seem appropriate in many places. They are best replaced by neutral passive constructions, which, however, should not become too complicated, otherwise they can quickly become incomprehensible.
The title could therefore be rephrased as follows: Why, in the end, quite a few things should be naturally avoided when writing a scientific paper ...
Similar to the "man" constructions, personal pronouns are also considered unscientific. Especially when formulating one's own theses, one can be challenged by this as an author. Neutral passive constructions provide a way of paraphrasing here as well: Instead of "I assume that..." there can be "It can be assumed that...", in which case it remains unclear who actually makes this statement. In this case, substitutions of the pronoun "I" by "author" or "writer" can help to clarify one's own point of view nevertheless.
In the end, however, whatever the supervisor deems appropriate applies. Of course, if the use of personal pronouns is accepted, not everything needs to be reworded!
Redundant filler words
These little words easily sneak into a text when writing - including the title of this article. Ultimately, however, they are superfluous and, in most cases, contribute nothing to the content of the sentence in question. Before submitting a paper, it is therefore essential to check whether a sentence without a filler word loses its meaning - if not, the word should be deleted.
Typical examples are: generally, therefore, also, as is well known, merely, thereby, nevertheless, quite, rather, simply, to some extent, approximately, freely, at all, halt, nevertheless, at any rate, merely, finally, namely, naturally, obviously, finally, naturally, certainly, already, so to speak, actually, at all, absolutely, completely, well...
Consequently, the title can do without filler words and, after deletion, reads as follows: Why quite a lot of things should be avoided when writing a scientific paper ...
Exaggerations and subjective expressions
The connection quite a lot has an exaggerating character and is therefore inappropriate in a scientific paper, since this should have the claim to be objectively written - thus neutral. Furthermore, meaning-enhancing adjectives and adverbs such as even, unfortunately, of course, simply, extremely, enormously, and massively are not suitable.
Subjective evaluative adjectives (e.g. beautiful, ugly, good, bad, easy, difficult, important, unimportant) are also taboo.
Having smoothed out the title to that effect, it reads as follows: Why things should be avoided when writing a scientific paper ...
Since a scientific paper aims to be as precise as possible, there is no room for vague formulations. This includes, for example, statements such as quite, a little, somehow and a bit, but also nouns such as thing or thing. These expressions should be avoided and replaced with concrete phrases.
Replacing the expression "things" in the title with what it is actually about - taboo words - results in the following new formulation: Why taboo words should be avoided when writing a scientific paper ...
Now that all taboo words have been omitted or revised from the title, it becomes clearer what this article is about - the avoidance of taboo words.
For a better overview, we have summarized the most important no-go words to avoid in a scientific paper. The list is part of our "About ..." series, which we use on our Facebook and Instagram pages to give helpful tips on scientific writing styles. We have supplemented the list with pseudoscientific relative pronouns ("which", "which", "which"), idiomatic expressions, and abbreviations that are empty of content. These, too, do not belong in a thesis.
Make sure that your writer avoids such mistakes if you’re not writing them by yourself. But to it’s better to choose a good service to begin with. I recommend reading the recent edubirdie.com review by writingpapersucks.
Do you find rules and lists boring, and you would rather have us take care of the linguistic correctness in your thesis? No problem: Write to us via the contact form and make a note for the proofreading or editing of your thesis. In the context of proofreading, we point out taboo words in your scientific work, in the context of editing we rephrase them directly.