Earning the Confidence of Readers: Advice for the Scholarly Author
It is extremely difficult to predict exactly what will win or lose the confidence readers must have in an academic or scientific author in order to consider his or her work authoritative. There are, however, some basic principles to observe when writing scholarly prose that will help build that necessary confidence in your audience, even if it includes fellow researchers and practitioners as well as lay readers interested in your research for more personal reasons.
Writing that is both crystal clear and absolutely correct is essential. Yes, there is a great deal of text available online and elsewhere that demonstrates neither of these desirable qualities, but academic and scientific writing should be better than that. Text that is unclear or riddled with errors will irritate those among your audience able to recognise your errors and ambiguities for what they are. You may not confuse or mislead such readers, though you certainly could and with disastrous results, but your chances of confusing and misleading those who are not as familiar with the rules of language or the terminology and assumptions common in your field are much greater. As an advanced scholar presenting valuable research, you have a responsibility to communicate data and ideas with accuracy and precision. Anything less will destroy your readers’ confidence in you as an author, so if you have troubles expressing yourself clearly in writing, it is wise to seek some professional assistance in the form of a colleague, a mentor or an academic or scientific proofreader who specialises in your field.
Thorough and accurate descriptions of your research methods and conditions will also instil confidence in readers, and it is usually a good idea to explain why you consider your methodology appropriate for approaching the problem or phenomenon you are investigating. For readers who do their own advanced research and understand its principles and processes, careful and carefully explained methodology will be intimately associated with the validity of your research and therefore with their confidence in you as a capable researcher and scholarly author. For those readers who know a good deal less about research methods, you will look like you considered all the options, chose the best and know exactly what you are doing.
References may at times seem to involve far more effort than they are worth, but providing accurate and thorough references to the sources you use is another way in which to gain the confidence of your readers. Those who know a great deal about your subject area will recognise that you are supporting your work with the most important research already conducted on the topic, and those who want to track down your sources and read more in the area will be able to find those sources efficiently. In both cases, you will have provided what your readers require to think of you as a serious scholar who writes with knowledge and authority.
The quality of thought presented in your writing should also instil confidence in your audience. A carefully designed structure that highlights the logical progression of your argument will not only make your text more accessible to readers, but also serve as an indication of an organised and penetrating mind. Sophisticated analyses of your findings leading to reasonable and insightful conclusions and recommendations make for interesting reading and are also a sign of an ordered and searching mind. Finally, your assessments of the meaning, importance and implications of your research should be realistic and demonstrate that you understand well your contribution to knowledge in your field.
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Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
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