The principles of simple communication apply to papers, paragraphs and sentences.

In a sense, one goal shared by all the recommendations in the "Reasoned Writing" module is to simplify communication. Simplicity can help both authors and audiences by making writing (and speaking) easier to understand.

A summary of the the overall approach recommended for scientific writing is:

A) Commit to using specific FRAMEWORKS to structure each section (and sub-section) of the paper.

B) For scientific papers, use REASONED frameworks to construct a series of arguments. Arguments can be based on either deductive or inductive reasoning. Support premises with references placed parenthetically at the END of sentences. Make sure that premises are distinct from conclusions. Connect premises using clear logical TRANSITIONS.

C) Use HIERARCHIES, expressed through GRAPHICAL REPRESENTATIONS and OUTLINES to build an overall structure from CONCLUSIVE sentences. Use the Rule of Three to limit the information that readers must understand at any one time. Use repetition to emphasize important conclusions.

In addition to general recommendations, it is also useful to consider some more specific suggestions for constructing simple PAPERS, PARAGRAPHS, and SENTENCES:


The complexity of a written document reflects the complexity of both the information being expressed and the writing used to express it. The objective of scientific writing is to convey information to readers as accurately and clearly as possible, in a way that is easy for readers to understand. Therefore, when trying to convey complex information, it is helpful to use the simplest writing possible to reduce total complexity and difficulty.

An overall document (paper) can be simplified by using subheadings to emphasize and clarify the overall structure of the document. “Reverse engineering” the arguments can ensure that all information necessary to support the conclusions is provided. Deliberately selecting a single framework for each paragraph can help to ensure that the purpose and structure of each paragraph is clear. Simple sentence structures with central verbs, active voice, and simple word choices can help to make writing clear.