For students

 

“There is no form of prose more difficult to understand and more tedious to read than the average scientific paper.”  Frances Crick

“Scientific papers do not have to be difficult to understand and tedious to read.” Ed Hull

 

Every researcher must communicate well, and this, not the research, is usually the problem. Why is science so often tedious to read—and write?

Much of what we learned about writing at school does not work well in the real world. We did not learn to write to busy “real world” readers. We learned to write to teachers, professors and supervisors. Those readers HAD to read our texts—they were paid to do that. Furthermore, they probably knew at least as much about our topics as we did—they were not looking for “nuggets”—valuable new information. Those readers were looking for indications that we had done our homework, that we were smart and that we had followed instructions. And we were successful writers; we gave them what they were looking for and passed our courses. For many writers, that style of writing has become a habit. 
Professionally, we need to replace that habit with a more effective one, because our real-world readers are much different. Just like us, they have little time to read and, just like us, they want to quickly select and read only those papers that offer something useful—easy-to-grab nuggets. Will your readers be so interested in your subject that they will have the patience to read a sentence twice? Or to search for the value of your work? This is wishful thinking—you do not do that, why should they? 
A nugget of gold has value and it is easy to pick up. A well written paper has value—it contributes to the field—and it is easy to read. Giving nuggets to real-world readers is a core concept at Professional English.

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