Presenting knowledge transfer clearly



Why do you give presentations when your institution holds Open Days? Why do you write about your research on the website of your university? Why do you invest precious working time? Because you are an economist and like many other economists you want to contribute to solutions for urgent  societal problems? Then you need communication skills besides solid scientific grounding. We are talking about writing comprehensibly. Try this with a few simple tricks.

Duration 15 min for the test + 30 min for re-writing

The next time you write a text for publication outside a scholarly journal (on a website, in a brochure, in a blog, …), test it for readability and understandibility.

If you find that your text needs to be improved before it can usefully transfer knowledge, try the following methods:

Shorten sentences and your text

  • Write only one idea per sentence.
  • Use 7 to 11 words per sentence.
  • Love to learn your main clause and avoid subclauses.
  • Shorten your text until it takes up no more than two screen pages.

Monitor and reduce nominalizations

  • Highlight all the nouns in your text. Try to find plain substitutes for complicated terms.
  • If possible, rephrase your sentence using verbs.

Explain technical terms

  • Highlight all technical terms with a different colour.
  • Do you want to keep them? Then explain them.
  • Can they be replaced with synonyms? Then use generally known words instead.

Give structure to your text

  • Divide your text into paragraphs or thematic blocks with headings. This increases readability.


  • Test text
  • Shorten sentences
  • Shorten text
  • Divide text in sections and add sub-headings
  • Remove technical terms and nominalisations


Date: September 2020
Questions, comments and notes are welcome at

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