Using Word’s Tools and Functions for Academic & Scientific Writing

Making Word Work for You in Academic & Scientific Writing
Microsoft Word is an incredibly helpful tool for authors, but only if it is used effectively with an understanding of its abilities and limitations. Functions such as spell check, grammar check and automatic formatting can be as detrimental as they can be beneficial if the author using them does not understand what the program is doing and keep a close check on anything added or altered by Word. This is to say that Word, being simply a software program rather than a thinking author in its own right, can only do so much, and the ways in which it formats a text and ‘corrects’ spelling and grammar may not always be right, thorough or what the author intended.
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Word will, for instance, automatically format the numbered sections and subsections in a document, but it is essential that the author type in the numbering and other information for all headings in a consistent manner or the program may miss a section and, consequently, misnumber all subsequent sections. On the other hand, if an author uses numbers for other reasons but in positions and formats similar to the headings, Word can turn these into section numbers, again resulting in structural confusion. It is therefore essential to check all automatically formatted section and subsection headings carefully for accuracy before submitting or publishing the work concerned.
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Word will also adjust and correct spelling as an author composes a text in the program, but it can both miss and introduce mistakes just as an author can. ‘Consolt’ and ‘rsearch’ are not words in the English language, but while Word does underline them as errors, it does not automatically change them to the obvious alternatives ‘consult’ and ‘research.’ Often many different words will work in a particular position in a sentence, and if a writer types a word incorrectly, the program may adjust it to a word with similar spelling but a very different meaning than the one intended. If what is typed is a valid term though the wrong one, in most cases Word will not know this and the error will remain despite the use of spell check, so it is essential for authors to check their text and confirm spelling and definitions in a dictionary if there is any doubt.

Finally, Word’s grammar check requires particularly careful attention on the part of authors. Generally speaking, grammar is very tricky indeed, and Word is far from being a master of the art. Word will certainly underline obvious errors in simple sentences, but it will not always underline the problematic part of a sentence. When sentences grow complex, as they often do when an author is reporting the methods and results of advanced scientific or academic research, the program can ignore true problems while underlining as incorrect perfectly acceptable syntactical structures. This can prove especially frustrating and challenging when an author is writing in a non-native language, so in such cases the services of a professional proofreader or editor who is a native speaker of that language will prove invaluable.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.

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.

If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.

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