Writing for Sciences from AP Communication

Good academic writing has a clear focus. there is a question the author is trying to address which has to be made clear right at the beginning. Then they say here is how we addressed that problem. Then you mention potential problems and what you could do to address them.

Summary of Episode 2: Writing an Introduction

The purpose of the introduction is to give background information to help readers make sense of the text.

There are 3 approaches:

  • Place the study within a meaningful area of research
    • Strategy 1: Identify the problem
    • Strategy 2: Describe the established knowledge about the topci
    • Strategy 3: Refer to existing research
  • Identify a smaller part of the area that needs more research
    • Point to problems with existing studies
    • Show that it’s important to conitnue an existing line of research
    • Describe a knowledge gap
  • State the purpose of the study
  • Phrases that introduce a knowledge gap: “but no studies have investigated…”, “it is still not know whether…”, “currently there are no data on” or more in the Manchester Academic Phrasebank

Summary of Episode 3: Writing a Methods Section

The purpose of the methods section is to describe how the research was done. It helps readers judge how convincing they find the results and helps researchers who want to reproduce the study.

It is common to address 3 questions using past tense and passive voice. Phrases like “using” and “based on” are used to say how things were done. Make your definitions in the methods.

  • What kind of data were used: study design and case definition
  • How were they collected: data collection and processing
  • How were they analyzed: data analysis

Summary of Episode 4: Writing a Results Section

The results section presents the answers to the questions proposed both verbally and through tables, figures, and graphics. Results are expressed in the past tense. The results section addresses the expectations of the hypotheses set out in the introduction.

  • “no significant interaction tersm were identified among the fixed effects.”
  • “When clustering by trainer was accounted for…”
  • Hedging is common. Generally, older horses were at more risk…
  • Refer to tables in the text
  • Highligh the important parts

Summary of Episode 5: Writing a Discussion Section

Explain the significance of the results

  • Refer to the research questions of the introduction
    • This paper has presented an investigation into…
  • Highlight the principle findings
    • So far it has been seen that…
  • Explain how your findings relate to existing research
    • These findings reflect those of X and Y
    • This finding is in contrast of X and Y
  • Explain what is novel
    • A newly developed model was presented
    • These unexpected results may indicate…
  • Say what future reserach should be conducted
  • Suggest practical uses for the findings

Seven ways to write like a native speaker

In this video, Kerstin Gackle from the Academic Lab at the Universitaet Leipzig presents a fantastic set of tips that will help you improve your ability to write like a native speaker.


Here is a written summary of the video. The seven rules are:

  • 1 Write like you Speak
    • Written German puts more weight into nouns
    • English puts the action in the verb
    • promotion of democracy -> promoting democracy
  • 2 Focus on Subject -Verb -Object
    • Verb should be no father back than the 2nd or 3rd position
    • Move elements “disturbing middle elements” between the subject, verb, and object to the front or the back
  • 3 Put important information at the end of the sentence
    • The Queen, my Lord, is dead. In order of importance 2, 3, 1.
    • Creates correspondance with previous sentence
    • Adverbs go in the middle
  • 4 There are common ways to start academic sentences in German that are not used the same way or with the same frequency in English so avoid using thes as sentence starters: “Due to” (Aufgrund), “Especially” (Besonders), “Only” (nur), “Not only” (nicht nur), “Also”(auch)
    • The same goes for these phrases anywhere in the sentence: “due to” “different”, “more and more”, “nowadays”
    • Look at the frequency of usage in academic texts vs learner texts to judge whether usage is standard or not. source: MacMillenDictionary, Improve Your Writing Skills
    • “Only when a question was answered correctly, I confirmed the choice” -> “I only confirmed their choice when a question was answered correctly.”
    • False friends, God and Bad Translation
  • 5 Remove words that are too informal for academic writing
    • connectors: so, besides, and (in some fields), but (in some fields)
    • Phrasal verbs figure out -> determine, look into -> investigate, put up with -> toleratre, come up with -> develop
    • to sum up, in a nutshell, all in all -> In conclusion, To conclude
    • more and more, bigger and bigger -> increasingly, numerous, an increasing number, a greater amount
    • nowadays -> currently, today, at the present time, recently
    • chance -> opportunity
    • get, got -> obtain, receive, increase
    • good bad, nice, big, huge -> positive, beneficial, negative, deterimental, poor, significan, large, enormous
    • really -> very, highly, truly, an integral part
    • stuff, things, stuff like that -> similar aspects, issues, factors
    • plenty of, a ton of -> enough, sufficient, a considerable amount
    • so far -> to date
    • whole -> entire
    • happen -> occur
  • 6 Use common academic phrasing
  • 7 Use customized google searches
    • “term or phrase” site:edu or site:ac.uk
    • “term or phrase” keyword site:edu
    • Use asterisk to find the word you need “in recent years, there has been * interest in ”
  • Bonus tip: Use a dictionary and a style guide

Also check out this paper 10 rules for structuring a research paper: https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005619