Using Linking Structures

Checking linking structures when proofreading scientific articlesWhen proofreading scientific articles, the readability of some content is let down by the use of short informative sentences that have not been linked or connected to those that follow. This type of writing style, while perfectly functional in presenting data and information, is less engaging for the reader as continuity is interrupted by the repeated imposition of the new sentence structures. This obstruction to the text’s flow can be simply overcome by utilising common linking structures to enhance the connection of some adjoining sections.

 

Linking structures can perform several connecting functions

  • To add additional information: In addition, … ; Furthermore, … ; Moreover,

Smoking tobacco results in considerable incidences of lung cancer. In addition, the impact of secondary inhalation on those regularly in the vicinity of smokers is an important factor to consider.

The ice shelves of the Arctic are continuing to decrease at record levels. Furthermore, the glaciers of Greenland are receding at an accelerating rate.

 

  • To present contrast: Although, … : However, … ; In contrast,

Throughout Europe, the metric measurement system is firmly in place. However in the UK, imperial measurements are still used by a considerable number of the older population.

Although the UK economy continues to stagnate, there are some small signs of recovery that offer cause for optimism.

 

  • To show result: Consequently, … ; Therefore, … ; As a result, ….

The 2012 Paralympics enjoyed a huge success domestically. As a result, the cause for disabled recognition and full access to the workplace has never been higher.

The continued unrest in the Middle East caused great uncertainty in the global oil markets. Consequently, prices spiked to over $100 a barrel.

 

The most important function of these structures is to inform the reader of the relationship between the two pieces of information presented in adjoining sentences, to provide signposts that reveal the connection between the two statements or concepts.

For example, when recently proofreading scientific articles the readability of the following section of text stood out in particular, as it failed to include linking structures to connect the historical discourse:

Early intervention for narcotic dependent pregnancies has been in place for several decades, but its efficacy is still unclear. An indicative score was sought to predict who could most benefit from preventative intervention. The score was intended to ensure that timely support was available to pregnant mothers. This study will explore the development of an indicative score protocol.

While this introduction is factual, it lacks the fluidity of concepts that are more effectively connected through linking structures. Therefore, if the above example is edited during the proofreading process, the polished version might look something like this:

Although early intervention for narcotic dependent pregnancies has been in place for several decades, its efficacy is still unclear. Therefore, an indicative score was sought to predict who could most benefit from preventative intervention, in order to ensure that timely support was available to pregnant mothers. This study will explore the development of an indicative score protocol.

 

Therefore, it can be seen that for complex written statements, concepts and ideas, the omission of linking structures offers no benefits to the reader. However, through their inclusion, the flow, readability and understanding of the text are greatly enhanced. The reader can clearly understand the relationship between the sentence streams and is better able to follow the author’s perspectives. Particularly when proofreading scientific articles, this process will considerably improve the reader’s ability to engage with the paper, which is fundamental when aiming for the paper’s acceptance and inclusion in scientific journals.