If your work is any good, others will try and repeat it.
You need to be honest and clear about your methodology.
You need to be adding to humanity's knowledge (or at least your research community's knowledge).
How well you've done this will be judged by your peers.
Qualities of Good Academic Writing
clear - it avoids unnecessary detail;
simple - it uses direct language, avoiding vague or complicated sentences. Technical terms and jargon are used only when they are necessary for accuracy;
impartial - it avoids making assumptions (Everyone knows that ...) and unproven statements (It can never be proved that ...). It presents how and where data were collected and supports its conclusions with evidence;
structured logically - ideas and processes are expressed in a logical order. The text is divided into sections with clear headings;
accurate - it avoids vague and ambiguous language such as about, approximately, almost;
objective - statements and ideas are supported by appropriate evidence that demonstrates how conclusions have been drawn as well as acknowledging the work of others.
Choice of Language
Use objective rather than subjective language
Objective language is language that is impartial and states a fact or process; subjective language is open to question or interpretation as it implies personal thought or belief. For example:
objectiveThe car travelled at 38 kilometres per hour is a clear, objective statement of fact. However:
subjective The contents of the test tube turned a beautiful blue colour
uses beautiful in a way that is subjective because it cannot be measured or accurately explained to the reader. Always use language that is concrete and specific rather than vague and personal.
Passive vs. Active Voice
Choosing a 'voice'
Scientific writers have a tendency to use passive rather than active expressions; stating that a was affected by b uses the passive voice while stating that b did something to a uses the active voice. The following example shows a sentence written in both the passive and active voices.
passive The experiment was designed by the research officer
active The research officer designed the experiment
The passive voice is particularly useful when:
you wish your writing to be formal and depersonalised:
passive It was agreed that the experiment should be...
activeWe agreed that the experiment should be...
information about the agent is obvious or unimportant:
passive The water pipe was broken in three places
active Something/someone had broken the water pipe in three places
However, the use of the passive voice can lead to clumsy and overcomplicated sentences.
passive Difficulty was experienced in obtaining the product in a high state of purity
which is a much clearer and more straightforward statement.
A very simple outline
Conclusions and ideas for further study
Some things to think of
For writing the text you need to:
think about who will read your report and modify your writing style accordingly. If you are writing for a professional audience, there will be less need to give detailed explanation of fundamentals, whereas if you are writing for a ‘lay’ audience, you will probably have to explain complex issues in a simpler way;
provide an abstract (or summary) that outlines the aims of the experiment, observational process or theoretical platform, give a brief verbal outline of the outcomes and what you have concluded from these (in the case of a scientific report) or a clear conclusion based on the ideas you have explained in the main body of the report (in the case of a non-scientific report). You may find it easier to write your abstract once you have finished the main body of the report;
follow the prescribed format and ensure that each section includes only material relevant to that section heading. Note that many disciplines encourage the use of sub-headings often numbered in a decimal notation, for example, 1 (mainheading), 1.1, 1.2, 1.3…(sub-headings);
use paragraphing within the sections and sub-sections of your report. Some sections can be lengthy and paragraphs can usefully break up the points and provide a clearer route for your reader in understanding the points you are expressing;