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Writing a Paper: Revising for Scholarly Voice

Revising for Scholarly Voice

Strategies to revise for scholarly voice

  • Use the information on the scholarly voice page to revise for conciseness, varying sentence structures, and academic diction.
  • While reading, take note of commonly used phrases in the field of study and of formulaic academic language.
  • Use the thesaurus in Microsoft Word (under the Review tab) or in an online dictionary to search for synonyms of less formal words. Be cautious, however, of accepting a new word without fully understanding the meaning. Not all the options are true synonyms.
  • Multilingual writers may find Merriam Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary helpful to provide level-appropriate definitions and information.
  • Use a corpus, a large electronic collection of texts, to search and learn about academic phrasing and formulaic phrases and expressions.
    • The Internet is the easiest corpus to use. To check if a particular phrase is used, search for it on the Internet (i.e., according to Smith [2015], on the other hand, in the same vein, is in agreement with, …). If there are few hits, then it is likely not standard phrasing.
    • Search Google Scholar to find a certain standard phrase in academic books or articles.
    • Use the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). This is a massive corpus of texts (more than 520 million words), and it is maintained by Professor Mark Davies at Brigham Young University. Take the 5-minute guided tour to understand how to use and search the corpus.
    • Professor Davies also designed an alternative corpus that focuses exclusively on academic writing. This corpus provides definitions, synonyms, and example sentences of the 60,000 most common words in U.S. academic English. It provides information about the ranking of each word and how frequently the word appears in different disciplines.

Using a Corpus Video

Writing Tools: Dictionary and Thesaurus Refresher Video