Medical Writing Writing better Writing economically in medicine and science: Tips for tackling wordiness
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Volume 26, Issue 1 - Writing better

Writing economically in medicine and science: Tips for tackling wordiness

Abstract

Concise medical and scientific writing is clearer, more direct, and more pleasurable to read than wordy text. It is also more accessible to readers, including those outside the discipline and non-native speakers of  English. An added benefit of limiting word clutter is that it helps reduce the word count to suit publication guidelines. In this article, I describe three ways for medical writers and editors to tackle wordiness: avoiding  repetition, eliminating redundancy, and minimising purposeless words such as unnecessary qualifiers, weak verbs, and roundabout expressions. Using these techniques will help remove barriers to comprehension, encouraging readers to focus on important content.

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References

  1. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Conciseness. 2013 [cited 2016 Dec 9]. Available from: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/572/01/
  2. Messenger WE, de Bruyn J, Brown J, Montagnes R. The Canadian writer’s handbook. 5th ed. Don Mills, Ont: Oxford University Press; 2008.
  3. Iverson C, Christiansen S, Flanagin A, et al. AMA manual of style: a guide for authors and editors. 10th ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  4. Matthews JR, Matthews RW. Successful scientific writing. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2008.
  5. Zeiger M. Essentials of writing biomedical research papers. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Health Profession Division; 2000.

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Articles

Writing Better
President’s Message
EMWA News
Advancing the Medical Writing profession: The Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
AMWA-EMWA-ISMPP Joint Position Statement on the Role of Professional Medical Writers
EMWA’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Finding the action in your writing: Avoiding nominalisation
Removing the dead wood
Writing economically in medicine and science: Tips for tackling wordiness
How to shorten a text by up to 30% and improve clarity without losing information
Troublesome words
Can you recognise the four main ways that English sentences can be structured?
Three strategies to help you write clearly for a lay audience
Structuring paragraphs
A checklist to improve your writing
Results of the 2016 EMWA member survey
News from the EMA
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Teaching Medical Writing
In the Bookstores
Lingua Franca and Beyond
The Webscout
Good Writing Practice
Medical Communications
Profile: An Interview with Michael Markie - an open science and open data advocate
Out on Our Own

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