How to ensure you stick to the given word count when writing research?
If your manuscript breeds more words than needed, you are making a chore for the reader who has to go through the manuscript. Researchers, mostly the seasoned researchers have ample of information with them and when they sit to write, they find it very difficult to bring down that information in the controlled word limit.
A few techniques are there that can be used by you to ensure that, with all that knowledge and information that you have, you keep your content in the stipulated word limit.
- Write short sentences: it is simple but at the same time a very effective technique. Do not use too many connectors, rather use full stops. You would save a lot of words by eliminating these joining words. To add to it, extra-long sentences even sometimes put off the readers.
- Brief citations: long citations are often responsible for inflation of word count. Give citations in brief and leave the long citation details for the references.
- Use abbreviations and acronyms in abundance: In the first use of the acronym in the manuscript, it should be used in the full form. However, after that they should be used freely throughout the document and used judiciously to ensure that they can help in bringing down the word count. But you must keep in mind the guidelines of the university or the targeted journal regarding the use of acronyms and abbreviations.
- Make good use of figures and tables: most of the times, tables and figures are excluded from word count and they can be used to explain information briefly, which otherwise may occupy a lot of space in written context. Remember that they are a very invaluable tool for people working on a tight word count budget.
- Take external editor help: the writing process is different from the editing process. A seasoned and focused editor who is an expert in his field and is trained to identify repetition and redundancy better than an expert writer. They can rightly and ruthlessly slash away not required and extra words. Moreover they may not have any biased approach towards the content, which understandably the writer could have.
- Talk only facts: This is very important for factual and academic writing. It is important and easy to stick to the facts. Extra and tangential information doesn’t help much with improving grades or enhance chances of acceptance in a journal. Eliminate content you feel is not relevant to the topic.