How do I write a research paper with a scientific 'voice '? I was told by my mentor that my writing is confusing and also that it seems as if I don 't know anything about the research topic at hand.

Forget about “scientific voice “  and start taking care about story, meaning and style. It should be YOUR voice talking as a scientist, using precise and thoroughly thought words.

The awesomeness of your findings may be the reason why people wants to look at your publications. The “scientific voice “ will be the reason why they don ‘t read it.

Honestly, writing papers already feels like filling a form : intro, litterature, methodo, results, discussion, conclusion - and sign here please. So if you want to be heard, you should chose your words carefully.

Some of my practical advices will be  :

  • Be straightforward : remove every useless word.
  • Chose carefully your verbs : readers want action ! Avoid common ones that provides little information (to be, to have, etc.).
  • Avoid passive forms : action again ! Your subject rules the sentence so be sure to select the main
  • Shorten your sentence : never trust someone that does one-paragraph long sentences
  • Think about your readers : think about someone you know and ask yourself : “will he/she understand this at the first glance? “
  • Break into parts : while editing, don “t hesitate to divide a sentence in minimum parts. By moving parts around with your text editor, you can easily see what stands out as necessary and what is not

Let me give you some examples of rephrasing from your abstract.

Sentence 1 :

Starvation and malnutrition are two global issues which the practice of sustainability may one day hold the answer to.

Our hero here is “the practice of sustainability “ so let ‘s start with it

The practice of sustainability

Why is our hero so great ? because it “may one day hold the answer “

The practice of sustainability may one day hold the answer to

What are the results of its actions?

The practice of sustainability may one day hold the answer to two global issues : starvation and malnutrition.

Looks better already. Now what can we take off this sentence? Well, “starvation and malnutrition “ are indeed global issues. We may not need to reenforce that. Let ‘s see :

The practice of sustainability may one day hold the answer to starvation and malnutrition.

“Answer to “ sounds weird, doesn ‘t it?

The practice of sustainability may one day provides answers to global issues like starvation and malnutrition.

OK, I finally add again the “global issues “. Makes things sound smoother.

Another sentence :

Particularly of interest in this study is the problem of Cadmium accumulation in the genotypes of various strains of wheat.

This is Yoda-like writing ! You can simplify by putting the subject first.

The problem of Cadmium accumulation in the genotypes of various strains of wheat is a particular interest of this study .

Here, the nominal group * “The problem …. of wheat “* is too long and makes the sentence hard to understand. You don ‘t really need to emphasize “this study “ - people are reading it. You want to focus on your topic.

The problem of Cadmium accumulation can be studied by analyzing the genotypes of various strains of wheat.

Yet another sentence :

However, the question of how to engineer the science behind the process of sustainability continues to be an important roadblock in increasing crop yield, in both quantity (number) and quality (nutritional value, lack of contaminants).

What is the main point this sentence wants to make? Looks to me that it is about the * “roadblock “.* So let ‘s start with this.

An important roadblock in increasing crop yield, in both quantity (number) and quality (nutritional value, lack of contaminants),

OK. Looks good.

the question of how to engineer the science behind the process of sustainability continues to be

Here * “the question of how to “* and * “the science behind “* don ‘t sound well. Let ‘s just remove them.

to engineer the process of sustainability

Let ‘s put back the both together.

However, an important roadblock in increasing crop yield, in both quantity (number) and quality (nutritional value, lack of contaminants), continues to be the engineering process of sustainability.

Is this what you originally want to say? If not, you may want to edit it again.

Don ‘t take those edits for granted, they are just my personal answers. English is not my first language, so the text may contains mistakes !

Anyway, hope it helps.

This text was originally published in quora.

A question? A comment?

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