Monthly Archives: March 2017

“Make it easy for the reader” mantra

Here’s a special post to follow up on my recent academic writing workshop.

Remember the mantra of “make it easy for the reader”. Whenever you have to make a decision or choice in your writing, think about what choice will make it easy for your reader, from the big picture of the structure to the detail of word choice.

For PhD students, think of the reader for your thesis as your examiners. While you are doing your research and writing your thesis, your supervisors represent your examiners. Your readers may have many other demands on their time and, while they are experts, they are less familiar with the whole thesis document than you. Make it easy for them to understand what you have done and your original contribution.

Check these other posts that cover issues we discussed in the workshop:

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Editing and International Women’s Day – are they related?

Yes, editing and International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017 are related. Here’s how.

Editing can support the objectives of International Women’s Day to recognise women and their achievements and support equality. Subtle choices in writing and language can have powerful effects on readers. International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on how language is used.

Editing can help ensure the use of inclusive and gender-neutral language in writing to respect both women and men, reach a wide audience and not offend part of the audience by ignoring them. As experts in language, editors can ensure language is bias-free and respectful. Look at my previous post on being inclusive with gender-neutral language.

A very high proportion of editors are women. There are several complex and interrelated reasons for this including the nature of freelance editing as flexible, home-based work and because women enjoy editing and are excellent at it.

There are many types of editing and many types of editors with diverse experience and skills. Look for one that is right for you and your job – it’s likely to be a woman!

On a similar theme on the behind-the-scenes-but-very-valuable work of women, this time in mathematics, see the movie Hidden Figures or read the book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly to celebrate International Women’s Day.

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