As a writing coach and editor, I recommend two simple ways to for scholars to develop a more academic tone. One is to read constantly within one's discipline; doing so not only builds vocabulary, but it also can help scholars note the type of language and sentence structure used in scholarly writing.
A second way to develop a scholarly tone is to use precise words, especially for quantities and time frames. The sentences below illustrate how to be exact with words.
Original Sentence: Each interview will last for ABOUT two hours at a community site .
In this sentence, “about” is used to describe the length of time that interviews will last. However, this adverb has more than five definitions and can be used as a preposition.
Therefore, I delete this term and find an exact word that more accurately communicates time.
Edited Sentence: Each interview will last for APPROXIMATELY two hours conducted at a community site.
Approximately means "close in value or location" (Merriam-Webster). The word is more precise than “about” in regards to time and proximity. Additionally, it has only two definitions. Finally, it is more formal than "about."
Replacing vague and/or conversational words throughout a document will help writers to create a more scholarly tone.
Cultivating writers, one tip at a time!