Scientific work is very precise and this can only be reflected when the write-up about such work is also precise. The idea such a document conveys is the meticulous effort that a scientist invests. Knowing some of the causes that could trip you or lull you into a false sense of having written up a good piece will help you produce a clear, well-written and easy to read document.
Avoid slang and colloquialism
The places for these are oral and informal communications. Science demands that you adhere to the right terminology. Check out this example to realize how completely out-of-place slang is in scientific writing:
“The rats were killed by first knocking them on the head and then pumping them with anaesthesia”
What they wanted to convey is that the rats were first stunned and then sacrificed using excess anaesthesia. The example sounds quaint to read, but that is about the status that will be given to your work – fun, fluff and not serious.
Use jargon sparingly
Scientific terms have precise meanings. Using them just for effect is simply counterproductive. Read on to know how a simple statement is made unintelligible:
“Drinking a concoction of Camellia sinensis, Zingiber officinale, and Cymbopogon in the liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals is the perfect way to start your day!”
Are you all twisted up wondering what this is all about? In simple English, it says; “Drinking tea with ginger, lemon grass in milk is the perfect way to start your day”!
Leave out ambiguous statements
As mentioned earlier, science is precise and so should be the way in which it is reported. The example will bring this home to you;
“Some dogs were sluggish, while others were hyperactive, but tending to slow down.”
Some dogs and others, well, are they of the same dose/treatment group and treatment day? When did the signs begin to manifest, and how long after hyperactivity did the dog start slowing down? None of these is clear, but they are precisely what require recording, reporting and discussion. How else will you arrive at any conclusion?