Skip to Main Content

Chemistry: Chemistry: Writing and Citing

Good Writing Techniques

Whether you are writing for digital or print media; writing a lab report, essay, blog or technical report; the need for good, quality writing is required for all media and formats. Whatever format you use, you will best represent yourself if you use correct grammar and punctuation. Beyond grammar there are some basic traits of good writing that apply to nearly all genres. In his book Writing and Editing for Digital Media, Brian Carroll lists seven principles of good writing :

  • Be brief: Try to edit your work down to scale; be concise.
  • Be precise: Be mindful of the words that you choose. Select the words that most accurately communicate your intended message, and try to avoid jargon.
  • Be active: Use an active voice as much as possible; avoid use of the verb to be such as, "The studies were randomized."
  • Be imaginative: Use language the contains imagery--metaphors, similes, stories, analogies -- it will provide emotional impact and help your audience connect to your writing.
  • Be direct: Mix short, punchy sentences in with longer, complex sentences to create variety and impact.
  • Be consistent: Use parallel structure.
  • Be aware: Pay attention to what you are saying. Are you using sound judgment? Are you telling the complete story? Are you citing your sources? (pp. 8-16).

Remember that writing is usually a recursive process of writing, editing, revising, evaluating, and then looping through that process again and again until you are confident in the result of your efforts. It takes time, effort, and will to write well.

Carroll, Brian. Writing and Editing for Digital Media. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2014.

American Chemical Association (ACS) Style

ACS Style Guide - by University of Wisconsin

BibMe: ACS Style

Video: How to Cite in ACS Style