I wrote a lot of text during my doctorate and texts are very important, especially in an academic context. In the following I have summarized my findings from 5 years of doctorate. It may help one or the other.

language

It is our ability to generate and understand language that makes us special. Our perception in society also determines our language. Of course, other forms of life such as animals also coordinate with each other, but this language is used more for mere information and is nowhere near as deep and complex as human language.

Reading tip: Meaning of language

Language can arouse emotions and control the reader’s impression of the text. From open to populist – anything is possible. My findings are:

  • Avoid superlatives and unambiguous statements (all companies)
  • Use open language
  • Avoid causal relationships
  • Introduction of clear terms, subsequent definition and permanent use of the uniform term
  • Put terms in the right context, e.g. for SMEs or companies
  • It is best to check terms beforehand for their exact meaning and use appropriate terms
  • Prefer soft language: assessment, explanation, discussion, selected content of literature, overarching question, …
  • No filler words are necessary (here, however, …)

content

The most beautiful language can often not disguise a lack of content. It is therefore also important to show texts with good content with current reference, a suitable headline and clear reader benefit.

Reading tip: Literature analysis

The content of a text should always offer added value for the reader. After all, he spends his time on the text. I often experience that the promise at the beginning of the text deviates significantly from the content. For example, a text promises to show me how to build more wealth, but actually only talks around the topic. My findings are:

  • My text should keep what I promise in the headline (e.g. headline 5 tips on agility and I only name 3)
  • It helps the reader to relate to current events
  • Do not just mention other studies, but also explain them in more detail. Clear benefit: why do I mention this study and what is important to know?
  • Summarize the results of other studies and mention that the essential and most important aspects are mentioned
  • For example, if I mention three aspects in the text, I should address all of them
  • Bare lists are not beneficial. Don’t assume: the reader already knows that
  • Distance yourself neutrally from results and discuss them

structure

A meaningful structure helps the reader to find their way around. Surely you too are often surprised by certain paragraphs. For example, the following content is surprising and it is hardly explained why certain content is mentioned at a certain point.

Reading tip: Initiation of a thesis

In order to understand a text, it is important to see through the structure, because it shows how the copywriter proceeded. A sensible structure, ie the “red thread”, guides the reader through the text so that he can better absorb and understand the content. My findings are:

  • An introduction should first roughly outline the topic and then introduce the detailed topic in order to pick up the reader
  • Explain the structure at the beginning of the chapter
  • Show openness at the beginning of a section of text: There are other topics but I focus on this topic
  • Announcing and explaining surprising content to the reader, for example, I will now explain three examples
  • Content before form in paragraphs
  • An important statement per paragraph
  • Note the altitude of my text: Formal vs. details (e.g. first talking about the world and then suddenly about a village in the world)

Conclusion

Good texts are important so that you can reach the reader and take them with you and captivate them until the end of the text. It is advisable to practice writing good texts, because we are constantly creating texts. Both daily in Whatsapp and in the office by email. An open language with value-adding content and a meaningful structure helps each of us on a daily basis!

Download: Knowledge for good texts

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Gendernote: I have used the masculine form for ease of reading. Therefore, unless an explicit distinction is made, it always refers to women, diverse as well as men, and people of all origins and nations. Read more

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Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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