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Academic Editing & Writing Resources

 

Hints and tips for good, publishable writing

From the Managing Editor...

The majority of scripts edited and proofread by us are intended for publication. Yet, despite the obvious need for clear and concise English prose, academics often adopt a style of writing that obscures the very points they wish to convey. Sometimes this is born of the desire to sound more ‘academic’. Often obscurity is due to the overuse of technical terms, which become mere jargon in the hands of the less experienced or non-native English-speaking academic.


Our advice is this: write with simplicity and whenever possible resist the urge to use jargon .

 

 

Our advice is this: write with simplicity (shorter sentences with a clear grammatical construction) and whenever possible resist the urge to use jargon — advice which would serve both non-native and native English-speaking academics equally well. Deliberately obscure writing may give the impression of profundity of thought, but publishers (and readers) will be left confused, unimpressed, and even slightly annoyed.

 

For a more thorough critique and for advice on writing in the social sciences, authors may wish to consult Michael Billig's ironically titled Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Early-career academics aiming to be published in peer-reviewed journals for the first time may wish to read Wendy Belcher's Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (Sage, 2009), which also contains advice on academic editing.

 

 

 

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, by Wendy Belcher (Sage, 2009)

Amazon.co.uk

 

Learn to Write Badly, by Michael Billig (CUP, 2013)

Amazon.co.uk

Useful resources

:: Reference style guides

APA

  Guide from Purdue University

  Guide from University of Waikato

  APA Research Style Crib Sheet by Russ Dewey

Chicago

  Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide (16th Edn)

MLA

  MLA guide from Purdue University

Harvard

  There is no single standard ‘Harvard’ style. University departments and
  publishers have their own versions of the style.

 

:: Online dictionaries and thesauri

British English

  Oxford Dictionaries

  Oxford English Dictionary (institutional access only)

  Cambridge Dictionaries Online

American English

  Merriam Webster

Thesaurus

  Roget’s Thesaurus (American English)

 

:: Grammar resources

  GrammarBook.com

  Grammarist.com

  H.W. Fowler’s The King’s English

  Southampton University's Introduction to traditional grammar

 

 

This page is regularly updated. Last updated: 8 September 2015


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