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Research Getting Buried? Change How You Write

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person writing in a notebook and on a laptop computer

Textual analysis can shed light on how different forms of writing can help the transfer of ideas.

Credit: Getty Images

With millions of academic papers being published each year, scholars often struggle to make their work stand out. The publish-or-perish culture in academe and the use of citation metrics like the H-index only amp up the pressure to publish papers that attract attention.

Better writing skills can go a long way in making your work stand out. While the research in a paper certainly matters, how it is presented also plays an essential role. There's a pervasive belief in higher ed that it's OK for academic writing to be jargon-filled and complex. However, a recent study reveals that writing style can substantially influence a paper's success.

Using AI to analyze how words are deployed, the research found that the most cited articles show more frequent use of a handful of language features, including simple grammar, present tense, and personal voice.

Research shows that papers whose front ends are written with more first-person pronouns are cited more often, while papers that use impersonal pronouns in the middle empirical section are cited more frequently. Use legitimizing, impersonal language when discussing the details of the research to demonstrate objectivity.

From Inside Higher Ed
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