Can anyone here enlighten me on what simplistic writing means please? Is it good or bad in the field of sciences and engineering?

1 Answer 1


It depends on the context of both the document in question and the feedback you were given. Question may need more information.

Overall, even in the sciences, the writing itself should be easy to read and comprehend even if the subject matter is complicated.

  • @nathan-k-campbell Is it possible that simplistic writing be bad in any context, especially in academic writing? Can you provide an example please? Thanks. Nov 16, 2015 at 15:01
  • I think we would need an example of the original content, the intended audience and feedback because it may be a question of semantics as to what the word 'simplistic' means by the person using the term. Zinsser, in his "On Writing Well"- amazon.com/Writing-Well-30th-Anniversary-Edition/dp/0060891548 could definitely be said to be an advocate for simple vs the difficult. However, if one is speaking of academic writing as a school type project, there may be an expectation that sentence structure may be more advanced and have a limited use of first person narrative for starters.
    – NKCampbell
    Nov 16, 2015 at 16:55
  • @user12121114 - It's certainly rare in academic circles. Rule number 1 in writing; know your audience. If you're writing a post-doctoral paper to be read by other Ph.Ds, you use technical and academic language. If you're writing for the general public, you use more common vocabulary and explain the subject-specific academic terms you use. Neither are "bad", per se, but if you present a thesis written with a middle-school vocabulary to your Ph.D board they will treat you like a middle-schooler, while if you publish the post-doc paper in Newsweek, very few will bother attempting to understand it
    – KeithS
    Nov 17, 2015 at 16:58

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