Researchers
May 21, 2020

How to Promote a Conversational Tone in Scholastic Writing

As experts in a field, the trick often becomes knowing when you’re writing like a knowledgeable scholar versus when you’re writing over your reader’s head. Today’s readers, even those who are highly educated, prefer a conversational tone of writing rather than a dry, informative text. This doesn’t always come naturally to researchers and scholars, who must learn how to actively engage their readers by promoting that conversational tone in their text.
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For millennia, one of the characteristics that defined a person’s stature in society was their ability to use scholarly vocabulary. This showed that they were educated in a time when education was viewed as a privilege that only the upper-class echelons were able to achieve. The bigger the verbiage used, the more respected a person was deemed.

Over time, vocabulary has been watered down to contain easier to understand words, diverse dialects, and trending terminology as neologism becomes more accepted.

Why a Conversational Tone is Necessary

The transition from an immense vocabulary depicting an educated person to the current societal view that big words point to someone as a condescending braggart happened gradually. Now, studies have shown that if you want to get your point across for maximum impact, a conversational tone is necessary.

Complicated vocabulary can be taken the wrong way. Speaking over someone’s head causes them to pause on the unknown terms, lose the momentum of the writing, and feel insecure. This minor bruise to the ego causes the reader to unconsciously think less of the content they’re absorbing and be less likely to gain the maximum impact they could have otherwise.

The other reason big words are considered an academic faux pas in scholastic writing is that people don’t learn from what they don’t understand. If you want to get your theory or point across, you need to present it in a way that depicts you as an expert in your subject without going too far over the reader’s head. If you must use large terminology to define your research, then keep the big words limited to those that are necessary for the field of study.

The advantages of conversational writing have become clear to academic experts in blogging and journal writing. When you move to this one, you create a connection between your words and the reader. This gives you their full attention. It’s also easier to edit and keep the flow going as the writer. Overall, the end result is statistically proven: Conversational pieces have higher percentages of reader engagement.

Tips to Use When Writing Professionally

There’s a fine line between a professional, conversational tone and writing as though you’re having a casual discussion with friends. In scholastic writing, you are the expert. The audience you are writing towards should be engaged, but still be able to learn something from what they read.

This careful balance must be maintained throughout your article. To promote a conversational tone without being overly friendly or appearing condescending, use these tips:

●      Use action to start your piece. The reader needs to be engaged immediately, which is why so many scholarly writings begin with an abstract. Your audience is likely highly educated and busy. They want to know immediately that reading your article will not be a waste of their time. 

●      Stick to the point. Meandering off your topic about research this is lightly related but not necessary to the results of your paper will lose your reader’s attention. They want to know the key steps you took to get your results, but not every action or side-research that occurred.

●      Make your passion evident. Dry, factual-only text is hard to absorb, even for the most scholastic of readers. In a nutshell, it’s boring. If your results are based primarily on quantitative research, find a way to convince the reader as to why they should be as excited as you are about the findings you’re presenting.

Today’s research is highly interdisciplinary, meaning your readers are going to have specializations in multiple fields that may not be consistent with yours. The days of 30-page academic journals with complicated terms that only those in one field will understand are over. Now, conversational voices with understandable vocabulary mean that your audience reach is wider and the impact of your work is greater.

Impactio Can Add the Professionalism to Your Conversational Piece

Worried that using a conversational tone will detract from the overall scholarliness of your article? It’s all about the presentation. 

With Impactio, your high-quality academic writing, toned down to a conversational flow, can still look professional to your audience. Turn your academic achievements into impressive PDF documents and web pages, use our citation features, and engage with a wider community when you use Impactio to demonstrate your work.

Tags Academic Research Academic Writing Publications
Jason Collins
Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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