editing your writing

Editing is an essential part of creating a clear and concise piece of writing. The editing process involves more than just correcting spelling errors or punctuation, it is an opportunity to rearrange sentences, improve the links between paragraphs, and increase the overall readability for your audience.

For all writing tasks, you should AT LEAST perform the following two checks:

pug and sheepSome of the examples in this section refer to fictional research involving zombie sheep and pug flatulence. Although we have had some fun with the examples, we are serious about improving writing skills.

We don’t joke about writing skills.

For more information on the fictional study, view the videos in the SAQ module and the examples in the poster module.

1. Check the structure

Have you included all the necessary sections for the genre? I.e. Introduction, methods, results, etc. Ensure you have used the correct headings and, if appropriate, used subheadings to divide sections into logical segments.

scientific article guide
Your lecturer should provide you with details of what is expected for your assessment items. The information should include details on the type of writing task, the topic, what to include, and a word limit.

2. Check your paragraphs

Your paragraphs should create a logical flow of information or arguments. To check your assignment, write down the main point or topic of each paragraph and assess whether the topics create a coherent story. If any paragraphs jump from one topic to a completely unrelated topic, you may need to rearrange the order of your paragraphs or include extra paragraphs to improve readability. You should double-check that each paragraph is relevant to the heading or subheading (i.e. results should be in the results section).

You should have a logical flow within your paragraphs. In a similar way that paragraphs flow from one topic to the next, the paragraph sentences should guide your audience through your argument, explanation, or description.

Structuring your paragraphs

Rearranging your sentences

Active vs. passive voice

Nominalisations


useful links

Books

The Norton field guide to writing UQ Library OR View website

Scientific writing = thinking in words UQ Library

Writing science UQ Library

Scientific English a guide for scientists and other professionals UQ Library

A short guide to writing about biology UQ Library

Science communication: a practical guide for scientists @ UQ Library

Websites

Duke University scientific writing resource
View website

Bates College – how to write a paper
View website

Purdue online writing lab
View website

11 steps for writing a paper
View website

MEAL writing method
Watch video 1
Watch video 2

Judy Swan – Scientific Writing: Beyond Tips and Tricks
Watch video