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Keeping It Short: Key Tips for Being Concise in PhD Writing

When writing an academic paper, let alone a PhD thesis, being clear and concise is key to success since you are not the only person who will read your work. You should avoid unnecessary words and sentences to help your reader get a better understanding of what you are trying to say in your PhD thesis. Waffling on about your topic would not help in reaching your audience, which could have a strong negative impact on your final mark. In this article, we provide five tips that will help you attain concise, clear, and direct PhD thesis writing.

1. Be aware of long sentences

A useful rule of thumb is that you should not write long sentences because they make it more difficult for the reader to understand your argument. While there is no rule on how long a sentence in a PhD thesis should be, it is helpful to mix shorter sentences and longer ones. Just remember that if your sentence is too long, your points are likely to get lost. Be aware of sentences that use too many clauses, as well as fragments that do not have a subject.

2. Make sure your structure is easy to follow

The structure is what helps you communicate your argument to the reader. When writing a PhD thesis, sticking to the ‘rule of three’ structure would significantly benefit the quality of your writing. This structure implies that each paragraph should have a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion. In the opening sentence, introduce the reader to the subject and focus of your paragraph. The ‘main body’ sentences provide the core argument and set out reasoning, develop implications, or elaborate thematic points. Finally, the concluding sentence pulls the paragraph argument together, adding value to the whole thesis.

3. Avoid redundancies and repetitions

Redundancies occur when you express the same idea twice so make sure you avoid redundant sentences and phrases when writing your PhD thesis. Many phrases in PhD writing are commonplace but in most cases, they are redundant either partially or entirely. Adverbs and adjectives are part of this problem and are often used in the place of evidence, so make sure you get rid of them when writing your PhD thesis as well. Replace as many of these words as you can with data, quotes, quantities, or dates to achieve concise writing.

4. Do not use low-value phrases

Some writers have the temptation to use wordy phrases as a means of making their writing sound more formal. However, experienced PhD writers know that there is no place for low-value phrases in a thesis as they can make sentences sound heavy. You should also avoid unnecessary prepositional phrases, which add a description to a noun by using a preposition.

5. Always proofread and check for errors

You would be surprised how much proofreading can add to the clarity of your writing, making it concise and crisp. Not only proofreading allows for detecting grammatical mistakes and errors. It also helps in finding and dealing with all the issues mentioned above. Are there any sentences that are hard to follow? Are there irrelevant words and repetition? Are these adjectives and adverbs necessary? Draw up a checklist of these issues to make sure you are concise in your writing.

Clear and direct writing is a valuable and necessary skill that every PhD writer should possess to make their argument clear to the reader and stay under word limits imposed by their university. If you do not feel like your concise writing skills are developed enough, you can always get assistance from professional PhD writing services and their experienced writers.