Write actively and avoid mistakes

Engage with your readers by writing actively

  • Write in active voice (vs. passive voice), helping you to tell a more engaging story.

    • e.g., “We analyze the data, and find that […]” instead of “The data has been analyzed and the following results found.”
    • e.g., “We combine three constructs […]” instead of “three constructs have been combined”
    • When writing, think about a particular stakeholder you’re “writing for” - e.g., a manager or policy maker.
  • Use the collective “we” or “I”

    • When writing actively, make use of “we” or “I”.
    • Even do this if you have previously learnt otherwise.
  • Avoid writing in “constructs”, but give meaning to everything you say

    • e.g., “Promotion-focused users have a higher-click through rate than […]” instead of “The overall click through rate for users in the “promotion” condition is […]”
  • Use the correct tense

    • the default tense in academic writing is the present simple (“In this study, we show that […]").
    • you can deviate from that rule and use the past tense if some action has been completed in the past (“To collect the data, we used the Spotify Web API […]")
    • The literature review typically is written in the present perfect tense (“Some studies have found a large impact of X on Y”).

Avoid mistakes

  • Pay attention to the small details; do not allow issues with the details to get in the way of an otherwise good thesis.
  • Ask friends and fellow students for feedback & proof reading! Do so many times!
  • Make use of AI-based tools such as Grammarly right from the start!
  • If writing remains an issue for you, please be in touch with the Scriptorium - they can help you greatly!

Use this guide for a more comprehensive overview about improving your writing style.