Taboo Words in a Research Paper

A research paper is a piece of scientific writing written by a researcher or a student containing the author’s original research on a particular topic for a specific field of study. Additionally, a research paper should include the analysis carried out in the course of the research as well as the interpretation of the research findings (See best advice for writing a research paper).

Research writing is entirely different from writing for a general audience. If you are already used to writing for a general audience, it might take time to acclimate to research writing. Writing a research paper has its set of expectations that should be met; it requires proper diction and following grammar rules. Research writing does not give room for informal writing; every sentence and choice of words should be formal.

Research writing requires formal language, has to be well-structured and written clearly. Writing a research paper with informal and unsophisticated expression can distract from the message the paper is passing across. Many of the words and expressions that are acceptable in conversations or informal writing are considered inappropriate in research writing.

When writing a research paper, authors should try to avoid vague, exaggerated, or subjective words as well as those words that are unnecessary or incorrect. There are some words students use in research writing that have been considered as overused or generally unnecessary. In the process of writing a research paper, some particular words or phrases should be avoided to maintain professionalism.

Some certain words and phrases can disrupt the clarity and conciseness of research writing. In the process of writing a research paper, it can be tempting to use phrases that sound good to you. However, some of the words that might sound good to you might end up being unnecessary or muddle the meaning of the sentence, and you can lose the focus of your readers.

Clutters are languages that are unnecessary when trying to convey a message or the meaning of something. Avoiding clutters at all costs remains one of the too rules of proper English writing. To eliminate clutters completely, it is good to be aware of the list of overused words or phrases that obscure clear writing.

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Words and Phrases To Avoid When Writing A Research Paper

The following are the type of words and phrases to avoid when writing a research paper.

  • Wordiness

A research paper is meant to be concise and clear. Therefore, the use of phrases that makes the sentences too wordy should be avoided.

Examples of wordy phrases that should be avoided include the following:

  • Due to the fact that
  • It should be noted that
  • In this study, we will
  • In consequence of this fact
  • It is worth mentioning/considering
  • Future research is needed

If the phrase is too wordy, it is advisable to find an alternative that will make the research paper concise.

  • Incorrect and redundant phrases

When writing a paper, authors should try and avoid phrases that are redundant or otherwise incorrect. They could alter the clarity of the paper and render it unprofessional.

Examples of incorrect and redundant phrases on “average,” “end result,” and “used to”

  • Intensifiers

Avoid using adverbs that modify a verb but are not needed to convey your point in a research paper. Adverbs that are considered intensifier are as follows:

  1. Very
  2. Extremely
  3. Highly
  4. Literally and many others.
  • Repetitive phrases

Avoid using words or phrases that could cause repetition in the sentence structures

  • Clichés

The words that we use in our everyday conversations do not translate well in research writing. Those phrases can be exaggerated, too informal or too overused. Although, there are informal phrases that can be accepted in research writing, if you are not sure which is which, it is better to avoid them.

Examples of clichés that should not find their way into your research papers include:

  1. On the other hand
  2. Sleeping like the dead
  3. At the end of the day
  4. Shed light
  5. Aboveboard
  6. Paradigm shift
  • Contractions

Contractions are words that are formed from two words that have been abbreviated. Contracting words are not appropriate for research papers because they make your writing informal. Always write in full when writing a research paper.

Examples of contracting words that should be avoided

  1. Don’t
  2. Can’t
  3. Should’ve
  4. We’ll
  5. She’ll
  6. Won’t and a lot more
  • Run-on expression

In research writing, avoid using run-on expressions when listing examples avoid ending your list with run-on expressions.

Examples of run-on expressions

  1. Etc
  2. And so forth
  3. And so on
  4. Too unsophisticated

Using too many simple terms in your research paper can make the run the risk of feeling elementary, it is advisable not to overuse them.

Examples of unsophisticated words that do not have a place in research papers

  1. Bad
  2. Humongous
  3. Get attention
  4. Gives and overview
  5. Good example
  6. The figure shows
  • Vague quantities

When writing a research paper, ensure to use the exact amount or exact values whenever you can, and if you do not have the exact value, use formal words like many, countless, or myriad.

  • Totalizing words

Using totalizing words is frowned upon in research writing. This is because they often make oversimplified claims that turn a complex situation into facts. Examples of totalizing words include, always and never. Endeavor to use more totalizing words like “rarely,” “usually,” or “generally.”

  • Dogmatic claims

When writing a research paper, you should try stating your opinion or making dogmatic claims. Also, dogmatic claims are phrases that state your opinion in a rather pompous manner. The word “must” is a dogmatic claim that should be avoided in a research paper.

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By Bizhan Romani

Dr. Bizhan Romani has a PhD in medical virology. When it comes to writing an article about science and research, he is one of our best writers. He is also an expert in blogging about writing styles, proofreading methods, and literature.

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