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  • Effectively Communicating Your Research in English

    Tokyo Metropolitan University

    6 August 2014 Dr Jeffrey Robens

    Senior Research Consultant Education Group Leader

  • S

    Be an effective communicator

    Your goal is not only to be published, but also to have impact in your field

    Write effectively

    Avoid common mistakes

     Logically present your research in your manuscript

    Write titles and abstracts that get attention

    Prepare clear presentations

     Effectively present your work to audiences

  • Effective writing

    Section 1

  • Effective writing Reader expectations

    Information is easier to understand when it is placed where readers expect to find it

    Good writers are aware of these expectations

  • Effective writing Short sentences

    Reading once… 4% of readers can understand a 27-word sentence

    75% of readers can understand a 17-word sentence

    Pinner and Pinner (1998) Communication Skills

    Goals to aim for: 15–20 words

    One idea per sentence

  • Effective writing Active voice

    Sentences written in the active voice are:

    simple direct clear easy to read

    The theories evaluating economic growth were investigated.


    We investigated the theories evaluating economic growth.


  • Effective writing Active voice is preferred

    “Use the active voice when it is less wordy and more direct than the passive”. (3rd ed., pg. 42)

    “Use the active voice rather than the passive voice…”. www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/effective-verb-use.aspx

    “As a matter of style, passive voice is typically, but not always, inferior to active voice”. (15th ed., pg. 177)

    “In general, authors should use the active voice…”. (10th ed., pg. 320)

    ACS Style Guide

    APA Style

    Chicago Style Guide

    AMA Manual of Style

  • Effective writing Stress position

    Readers focus at the end of the sentence to determine what is important.

    1. You deserve a raise, but the budget is tight.

    Which sentence suggests that you

    will get a raise?

    2. The budget is tight, but you deserve a raise.


  • Effective writing

    The budget is tight, but you deserve a raise. Your salary

    will increase at the beginning of next year. Stress position Topic position

    The topic position introduces the idea of the current sentence

    The stress position also introduces the topic of the next sentence

    Stress position

  • Effective writing Topic position

    To increase the number of student applicants, the

    university recently implemented a new program. An

    important part of this program is to first give seminars

    at top-ranking high schools in the region. Increasing

    the number of local students is the initial step for the

    program’s success.

    idea idea idea idea

    Topic link


  • Effective writing

    Despite steadily rising enrollment rates in U.S. postsecondary institutions, weak academic performance and high dropout rates remain persistent problems among undergraduates. For academic institutions, high attrition rates complicate enrollment planning and place added burdens on efforts to recruit new students. For students, dropping out before earning a terminal degree represents untapped human potential and a low return on their investment in college. Poor academic performance is often indicative of difficulties in adjusting to college and makes dropping out more likely. This paper examines the joint effect of two related social cognitive factors—academic self-efficacy and stress—on academic performance and retention for college freshmen. Both of these factors have been…

    Zajacova et al. Res Higher Ed. 2005; 46: 677–706.

    Linking your ideas in your manuscript

    Topic sentence

    Stress sentence

    Topic sentence


  • Common mistakes

    Section 2

  • Customer Service Common mistakes

     Compared with is for comparing similar things

     Compared to is for comparing different things

    This year’s graduation rates were compared to those of last year.

    This year’s graduation rates were compared with those of last year.


  • Customer Service Common mistakes

    Use between for comparisons of two groups

    Use among for more than two groups

    … the only difference between the control group and the experimental group is ...

    … significant differences were observed in the values among the five groups.

    Between and among

  • Customer Service Common mistakes

    Data is the plural form of datum

    The data was analyzed... This data suggests…

    The data were analyzed… These data suggest…

    Data is plural

  • Customer Service Common mistakes Simple language

    Nature’s guide to authors:

    Nature is an international journal covering all the sciences. Contributions should therefore be written clearly and simply so that they are accessible to readers in other disciplines and to readers for whom English is not their first language.


    “I should use complex words to make my writing more impressive.”

  • Customer Service Common mistakes

    To ascertain the efficaciousness of the program, we interrogated the participants upon completion.

    Simple language

  • Customer Service Common mistakes

    To ascertain the efficaciousness of the program, we interrogated the participants upon completion.

    To determine the success of the program, we questioned the participants upon completion.

    Simple language

  • Customer Service Common mistakes

    Preferred Enough Clear Try Very Size Asked Keep Later Enough

    Avoid Adequate Apparent Endeavor Exceedingly Magnitude Requested Retain Subsequently Sufficient

    Simple language

  • Manuscript structure

    Section 3

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript

    structure Introduction

    Setting the context

    Specific aims Aims

    General problem

    Problems with current solutions

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript



    The present study aims to analyze how information presentation in these alternative formats (table, history graph and dance graph) influences the negotiators' behavior and negotiation outcomes.


    Nevertheless, the potential of stylized decision aids has not yet fully been explored in electronic negotiation support research.

    Identify an important problem State aims that directly address this problem

    Writing the Introduction

    Gettinger et al. Decision Support Systems 2012; 53: 161–174.

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript

    structure Methods

    How it was done

    Models/Equations Simulations

    Specific parameters

    Quantification methods Statistical tests

    What was used

    Materials Software/hardware


    How it was analyzed

    Study/software design

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript

    structure Results

    1. Initial observation 2. Characterization 3. Application

    Divide your study into short sections with clear subheadings

    What you found, not what it means

    Logical presentation


    Factual description

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript

    structure Discussion

    Summary of findings

    Relevance of findings

    Implications for the field

    Similarities/differences Unexpected results Limitations

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript


    This paper proposes a modeling approach and a corresponding graphical notation for creative human collaboration processes. Our contribution has two main distinguishable features: it is capable of capturing complex patterns in network of artifacts and people, and it advocates a communication model where a process can modify only its own state and cannot explicitly impact related processes. In the future we plan to extend this execution framework with the notion of groups in order to allow for coordination of collaboration processes based on complex formations in social surroundings.

    Discussion – the end



    Future directions

    Why your work is important to your readers

    Liptchinsky et al. Information Systems 2014; 43: 66– 82.

  • Coverage and Staffing Plan Manuscript

    structure Linking your ideas

    General background



    Results and figures

    Summary of findings

    Implications for the field

    Relevance of findings

    Problems in the field



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