Author: Águeda Delgado – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion. Universidad Nacional de Loja, Ecuador.

In previous entries we have been talking about how to adapt the article to the context in which the publication is going to be made, specifically, to the scientific journal and its regulations. However, suitability is only one of the three textual properties that should guide the writing process. The other two, and no less important, are coherence and cohesion.

Coherence makes it possible to conceive the text as a unit of meaning, so that the different parts are related to the main theme or idea and the reader can understand the overall meaning. In order to achieve a coherent text we must take into account the following aspects:

  • The main theme of the article is developed without contradictions or repetitions of the information provided.
  • An adequate selection of the information must be made (neither scarce nor excessive) and the ideas must be ordered in a logical way.
  • Keep in mind the knowledge shared by the sender and the recipient, both of the world and of the context of the discourse, so that important information will not be elicited or taken for granted.

In addition, to achieve a coherent text, it is necessary to take into account the cohesion, understood as the way to unite or relate the different statements or paragraphs. Among the main mechanisms of cohesion we highlight:

  • The maintenance of the reference throughout the text. In order to maintain the text’s referent, we can use exact repetition (which would lead to redundancy), use some textual synonym or replace it with pronouns. The important thing to keep in mind is that if we move away from the referent we must recover it to avoid the reader losing the thread of information.
  • Elipsis or omission. The opposite case would be the elision or omission of certain words or expressions to avoid unnecessary repetitions. It would be necessary, therefore, to establish a balance between the repetitions that can contribute to follow the idea presented and its elision.
  • The textual markers or connectors. These are lexical units, formed by one or several words, which will serve to establish relationships between text segments. We can specify three main groups:
  • Argumentatives (they mark differences between two parts of the discourse): in addition, however, …
  • Reformulators (they allow to explain in another way what has been exposed): rather, in short, that is to say…
  • Structurators (they organize the speech): first, then, by the way

In short, a scientific article, like any other type of text, in order to communicate its information effectively must be coherent, cohesive and appropriate to the context.

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