John Dixon, independent medical writer and trainer in scientific writing skills, provides a useful tip for medical writers who work in MedComms.

John’s Linkedin page is at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johndixonlmm/

John’s web page is at https://librasciencecomms.co.uk

Note these “bites” are recorded online using the zoom.us platform and hence quality may be affected by variability in internet connectivity and quality of webcams. The tips, however, are always first class!

Recorded 29 October 2018. Produced by NetworkPharma.tv

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Transcript

Hi, I’m John Dixon, a trainer in scientific writing, and here’s a bite that I hope may help you with your writing.

Consider splitting sentences of over 30 words [NEXT SLIDE]

The longer a sentence, the more difficult it can be to understand quickly what’s being said. As a rough guide, when a sentence is longer than 30 words, consider splitting it into 2 or more separate sentences. Let’s take an example from a research paper on nutrition.

Several cohort studies also reported associations between the quality of women’s diets during pregnancy and the risk for emotional dysregulation in children, with new insights into potential mechanisms of action that include brain plasticity, the gut microbiota and inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways.

… Wow … this is one sentence with 43 words. It’s not impossible to understand, but there’s a lot going on for just one sentence. So, let’s simplify and split it. [NEXT SLIDE]

Several cohort studies also reported associations between the quality of women’s diets during pregnancy and the risk of emotional problems in children. These studies suggested mechanisms of action involving brain plasticity, the gut microbiota and inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways.

So we now have two sentences of 22 and 18 words, a pause for breath in the middle – and hopefully a bit easier to understand?

I hope that’s helpful. For more bites to help your writing, visit networkpharma.tv.

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