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Avoid hyperbole in scientific writing.

August 1, 2012 Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing 

Hyperbole can take many different forms. Nearly all should be avoided in scientific writing.

  • Avoid calling previous work “pioneering”, “novel”, or “foundational”, unless it truly is.
  • Don’t call a study “comprehensive.” They rarely are.
  • Don’t say that you’ve conducted “detailed work.” You’re a scientist. You’re supposed to do detailed work.
  • Avoid absolutes like “never”, “always”, and “best.”
  • Be quantitative when possible. For example, if you say that “Numerous studies have been performed”, is it possible to quantify that?
  • If you can’t quantify such expressions, can you at least provide a relative context? For example, rather than “Few studies have been conducted of tornadoes in Europe”, why not “Tornadoes in the United States have been studied more than tornadoes in Europe in the last 50 years.”?

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