Reduce Word Count in Scientific Documents: 9 Tips to Follow

No matter what the students do, academic difficulties always follow them! Sometimes, it is the difficulty in reaching the stated word counts, and sometimes it is over-reaching the word limit. Often, academic papers come with a strict word limit that has to be followed religiously.

If you are looking for ways to reduce the word limit, PapersHelm has got just the thing for you. Below, PapersHelm has discussed helpful strategies to reduce the word count through editing.

  1. A sneaky way of reducing the word count is by removing the space between the mathematical digits and operators i.e. =, >, <. Moreover, writing ‘n = 3’ will count as one word if you remove all the extra spaces between the operators and digits.
  2. Whenever providing scientific explanations; always prefer active voice over passive voice. This is the favorite trick of PapersHelm as the changes in the words’ setting can considerably reduce the word count. Also, with passive voice, there are dangling modifiers that make the writing unclear. So by changing the voice, you will also be adding clarity to your document.
  3. PapersHelm reviews word count reduction methods and suggests the elimination of hedging words. Hedging words include ‘may’ and ‘possibly’ which are used to avoid commitment in writing. They are a useful tool in relaying some amount of uncertainty to the readers. But its excessive usage can add those extra numbers to your total word count.
  4. Eliminate clichéd sentence structures. Whenever you spot ‘ the previous study finds’ or ‘it has been reported,’ edit them immediately. As you will be providing proper citations, such phrases become redundant. PapersHelm advises to edit them out for saving space.
  5. The big contributor to the wordiness is the nominalization (the use of noun form instead of a verb form). Look out for these as their elimination can make the sentences shorter.
  6. PapersHelm notes that a certain clump of words can contribute to wordiness in scientific studies. Such words can be replaced with less wordy options. For example, ‘a number of’ can be changed into ‘several.’ ‘On the other hand’ can be changed into ‘whereas’ and so on.
  7. Many online word tools such as Microsoft Word consider hyphenated words as one word. Restructure your sentences so that the hyphenated words fit snugly in the context. For example; ‘After rehabilitation, many patients learned to rely on themselves’ can be converted into ‘After rehabilitation, many subjects became self-reliant.’
  8. Scour the document to find such sentences that deliver obvious information to the readers. PapersHelm reviews and concludes that authors tend to include such information at the beginning of any study which adds no value at all. So search and edit out such sentences. For example, when writing a study on AIDs, avoid statements like ‘AIDs is a life threatening disease.’
  9. Lastly, review the entire paper to find any information or data which is repeated. When narrating the findings, students often repeat the previously-stated facts. Elimination of such nature of redundancy will help you reduce the overall word count.

Word count reduction is never easy. It takes time, skills and experience. But with these helpful strategies, you can reduce the word count without altering the content. Further, if all else fails, you can hire PapersHelm professional editors who can do it for you!



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