09 Nov How to Improve the Readability Index of your Academic Writing

The amazing fact about the readability of your writing is that there is always a scope for improvement. We all want our writing to be read by more and more people, but as everything follows certain rules, same is the case with the readability of your manuscript. Crafting the content that is easy to read and consume should be the primary focus while writing.

Academic writing

The basics of readability focus on the following three aspects:

  1. Organization of Content
  2. Style
  3. Design

Organization of Content: The organization of your thoughts and constructing paragraph is the important aspect of readability. Once you have figured out what do you want to say, the main concern is, how do you want to say it? Collecting thoughts and organizing them for the readers, so that it becomes easy to read and consume should be the main focus.
Here are few things that one should keep in mind while writing:

  • Synonymy: Rather than repeating a specific word, use a synonym.
    Eg: if you are using word ‘main’, you can use ‘prime’ or ‘essential’ in place of ‘main.’
  • Antonymy: Make transition by finding a suitable opposite word for your anchoring word.
    Eg: ‘it’s not necessary to tell you all the page numbers’, the same sentence you can write as ‘it’s unnecessary to tell you all the page numbers.’
  • Parallelism: Repetition of a sentence structure.
    Eg: Like father, like son.
  • Collocation: The habitual juxtaposition of a word that is commonly paired with other words.
    Eg: Collocation can be adjective + adverb, noun + noun, verb + noun and so on.
    ‘Invading that country was an utterly stupid thing to do.’ Here ‘adverb + adjective’ collocation is used.
  • Pro-forms: Using pronoun and other pro-forms to reference the words.
    Eg: ‘My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s 97 now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.’

Style: Writing style refers to the manner in which an author chooses to write readers. Here are few recommendations to follow in your style of writing:

  • Focus on the target audience; research proves that most of the readers have the reading capability like a seventh-grade students. And to them the more sophisticated your writing is, the less accessible it is.
  • One of the best ways to improve the readability of your writing is by using easy words. The more simple words you use, the simpler your message becomes to communicate or read.
  • The other thing is the length of the sentence. Find the opportunity to break up the complex sentences and make new ones.
  • The excessive use of adjectives and adverbs isn’t necessary.

Design: Design emphasizes on ‘typography.’ We believe or not but typography has a lot to do with readable digital text. Contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity are the basics of it.

  • Change in font, color, layout are the examples of contrasting elements.
  • Repetition refers to repeated visual elements, such as the use of color, shape, columns, headers, and callout boxes. Repeated design elements help readers understand how you have organized the work.
  • Alignment refers to the position of words.
    Eg: texts can be left-center or right-justified. Text columns, tables, or pictures can line up equally. Captions can be anchored next to images.
  • Proximity refers to chunking information together that belongs together and conversely, separating information that belongs elsewhere.
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