# Scientific Writing Tips

I’ve noticed that students often make similar mistakes in their scientific writing . Here, I will slowly be populating a list of tips to help students improve their scientific writing:

## Grammar / Spelling / Writing

• Avoid using “it, this, that”. It is usually better to specify the subject exactly.
• Reference precisely. E.g., do not write “from the previous Figure”, or “in the last Section”. Instead, use LaTeX’s referencing tools and write e.g. “from Figure 1”, or “in Section 5”.
• Do not write that something is “trivial” or “easy to see”. You yourself have probably enjoyed much education by now: so is what you are talking about really easy?
• Avoid starting a sentence with a mathematical symbol.
• Avoid adding adverbs to superlatives. Subjects are almost never the “very best”, “really large”, or “extremely interesting”.

## Data / Graphs / Tables

• All figures, graphs, and tables should always be labelled and captioned.
• A table should have three lines to separate the data: there should be a top line and bottom line that are relatively thick, and a middle line that follows the headers directly and is relatively thin.
• Data is often better presented in a graph than in a table.
• Axes within graphs should always be labelled.
• For physical quantities, always follow the SI notation rules.
• Restrict the number of reported significant digits. For example, instead of reporting that you measured $$13512 \pm 322$$ objects, you should be report that you measured $$(13.5 \pm 0.3 ) \cdot 10^3$$ objects.