Discover the most typical textual errors. Learn how to prevent them in academic writing. Avoid incorrect spelling, punctuation and grammar. Find out how to meet all essential criteria. In just 5 minutes. Watch for free!
Welcome to the tutorial “Never make mistakes again! How to polish your academic work to a high gloss“. The writing of academic texts is subject to strict rules. To write a top-notch academic text, you need to follow these rules to the best of your ability. Easier said than done. Because in practice, unpleasant mistakes that can stand in the way of the success of your work show up time and again. In this tutorial, we will show you what the five most serious sources of error in academic texts can be and how you can confidently avoid them.
Let's start with the most common source of errors that occur in academic texts. Orthography, punctuation and grammar errors can be found in every thesis due to the very long writing process. Whether it's misplaced commas, confusion of hyphen and dash, apostrophe errors, incorrect use of tenses, or simple typos, such infractions can result in points being deducted or, if they occur too frequently, your thesis or paper being failed.
Another weakness in academic texts is stylistic deficiencies. A successful writing style in academic papers is particularly evident in the fact that it is impersonal, informative, understandable and verifiable.
To ensure an impersonal style, avoid the use of pronouns such as I, you, we, as well as addressing the reader directly. In addition, utterances that do not contribute to the informative content of the text or have a low informative value are also inappropriate. This includes filler words such as actually, basically, highly as well as filler sentences, but also repetitions and duplications such as clearly prove and ain’t no, respectively. In the interest of clear and comprehensible expression, you should also avoid nested sentences or incomplete sentences as well as unnecessary technical terms, vagueness, colloquial language and metaphorical speech. Express yourself as clearly, briefly and concisely as possible. As a rule of thumb, you can remember that a sentence should contain a maximum of thirty words.
You ensure a transparent writing style by avoiding utterances in your academic text that are not verifiable for all potential readers. Thus, you should avoid inappropriate personal evaluations such as unfortunately, completely useless, as well as exaggerations and understatements.
Further differences in academic theses can be seen in missing information or inconsistencies in footnotes or in the bibliography. As a general rule, you should refer to the guidelines for the design of academic texts, which you have received from your university. Based on these guidelines, you have to design the formalities in the footnotes and the bibliography of your thesis coherently. For example, references to sources in the text or in footnotes must be indicated with "Cf." or "See" in the case of indirect or non-verbatim quotations. This information is not necessary for direct quotations. If you refer to a whole sentence and not only to the preceding statement in indirect quotations, you must place the footnote number after the closing punctuation mark, otherwise before it.
When creating your bibliography, you must arrange the names of the authors alphabetically and, if necessary, distinguish between primary and secondary sources. Always make sure that you list all sources in the bibliography that you use in your text.
Another gross error in academic texts is that they are often inconsistently designed. Uniformity is essential in scientific papers. It serves accuracy, comprehensibility and clarity. This applies not only to the spelling of expressions (for example, centre versus center), but also to the use of clearly delineated terms and text formatting (for example, in terms of font and font size, spacing, correction margins, etc.). But also your references in the text or your bibliography must be consistent. Therefore, decide on a uniform citation method or consistently adhere to the citation regulations of your university.
Plagiarism is the most massive derailment of an academic thesis. Plagiarism is characterized by the fact that texts or text elements are simply copied verbatim or in spirit into one's own work without indicating the sources. But also the adoption of outlines of other academic texts works is already plagiarism, namely structural plagiarism. Plagiarism is by no means to be considered a trivial offense, but has a high relevance under criminal law. The submission of a plagiarized text constitutes a criminal offense of intellectual property theft, which may result in legal consequences in addition to the unwanted premature completion of your studies. Also, more and more universities are now imposing heavy fines for uncovering scientific plagiarism.
The best protection for avoiding plagiarism is therefore to familiarize oneself with all the principles of academic writing. This includes adherence to all scientific standards such as correctness and accuracy of content, transparency and verifiability, intellectual honesty, and the choice and use of adequate scientific methods.
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