27 Mar 2003
Have handy an electronic and hard copy of your draft literature review (including abstract)
Exercises / Material
3. Peer reviews of abstracts
Outside of a dog, a book is
man's best friend.
Every man usually has something he can do better than anyone else.
Usually it is reading his own handwriting.
The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.
- William Goldman
A word is a bud attempting to become a twig.
Writing comes more easily if you have
something to say.
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.
Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden
auditorium of his skull.
My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and
Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The
jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult.
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
When I face the desolate
impossibility of writing 500 pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and
I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another.
One day's works is all I can permit myself to contemplate.
Another thing that Bezard taught was how to take notes and how to set up
card files that are useful a whole lifetime. If I had followed his advice,
today I would have a gold mine; none of my early work would have been lost.
Our admiration of fine writing will always
be in proportion to its real difficulty
Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain
no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same
reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no
There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
"Rewriting is like scrubbing the basement floor with a toothbrush."
Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not
original, and the part that is original is not good.
Various language experts have proposed methods for analyzing the readability of text. Usually, good writing is simple, but when complex topics are being discussed, it is a challenge to write simply. But writing simply can became a habit if it is practiced. In addition, it can help to use automatic readability analysis tools. These tools can give you a numerical analysis for the complexity of your text. Two basic principles are considered by MS Word's Flesch-Kincaid readability analysis:
1. Average word length: To improve readability select shorter, simpler words were possible.
2. Average sentence length: To improve readability write shorter sentences. Often a long sentence can be rewritten as two sentences.
Note that there are many different algorithms for readability, e.g., see Nisus software. (you can download a 30 day trial of this software). A more academic paper about readability can be found at http://www.timetabler.com/reading.html, which presents the following figure showing the relationship between variables, average number of sentences per 100 words, average number of syllables per 100 words,, and reading age:
Here's how to conduct a Flesch-Kincaid readability analysis by using MS Word. Open your document, then:
-> Check Grammar
-> Tick the “Readability Statistics” box
-> Proceed through the grammar checking
-> When complete, you receive a box of statistics about the paper, including the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Statistic.
Some guidelines to consider:
1. Topic selection and the research question matter most of all.
2. Make sure the reader understands the topic and the reason for the paper.
3. A paragraph should have one main idea expressed in three to five paragraphs.
4. Use examples to help explain and balance out the 'academic' material.
5. Consider the use of subheadings.
6. Redraft, redraft, redraft…
7. In redrafting, pay attention to improving the introduction and the conclusion.
8. When redrafting, examine every single sentence and ask how it could be written more effectively and using fewer words.
9. Check your paper against a 'model' paper
10. Is your passionate voice is expressed through the paper?
11. Make powerful but judicious use of direct quotations.
12. When all is said and done, do you have the best title for your paper?
13. Use professional writing services and continually seek to improve your writing