A research paper is a piece of scientific writing. It is either presented by a student or a researcher talking about original research on a particular issue. So if you’re a student or a novice at academic writing, ensure your focus remains on the reader. If you employ the right phrases and words, you can spark your readers’ attention in your research report.

Note that the right phrases will establish the proper formal tone of your research paper. The type of words you use can affect the grades of your paper and the outcome of the research. Therefore, refrain from using unnecessary words in your writing, as it will fail to meet professional expectations. Ensure you use words and include the findings of the research. So, ensure you familiarize yourself with the words not to use in a research paper.

What Words & Phrases To Avoid in Academic Writing

Sometimes, you may feel stressed about meeting the word count. Do not use padding. Adding content that is not necessary will bring down the level of your writing. Academic writing needs to be clear, concise, and error-free.

Using unnecessary words or abbreviations makes your academic papers low quality. Padded content is also readily visible, so readers will quickly note the unnecessary words in your academic essay. You can avoid expressions that you can use in informal writing, vague or unsophisticated words. Some of the unsophisticated types of words you should avoid in your formal academic writing are below.

  • A lot of, a couple of
  • Stuff/ things
  • Always
  • So on
  • Literally
  • Obviously.

Such words are clumsy and redundant and can make your writing mumble. Here is a table that includes an overview, alternatives, and some unnecessary research paper words to avoid.

What Else Should Be Avoided

Apart from the words discussed above, there are other words students use in academic writing that are unnecessary. Avoid using cliché, jargon, or slang words in your writing. Additionally, avoid using abbreviations in your research paper, as they are unnecessary.  

Here are other words not to use in a research paper for it to remain formal. 


Avoiding clichés is practically a cliché in itself. However, it is a crucial piece of writing guidance. clichés are unoriginal and make your writing less compelling. Using clichés in academic writing will harm your credibility. Your reader will know that you lack originality if you use a cliché.

Using clichés may make readers snort or put down your paper. Your hard work on a project will be pointless if it contains clichés.

Overused clichés in a research paper can also give the impression that you lack imagination or are sluggish. Furthermore, since clichés are frequently tied to a certain language and culture, you should avoid using them in your writing. For readers from other countries, clichés could be a communication barrier.

Some clichés you should use in your research paper include

  • We all know
  • Sleep like a baby.

Such phrases are examples of overused clichés that have long since lost meaning. Although they make a feeble attempt to appear intellectual, clichés come out as hollow.


The foundation of how a reader or listener evaluates you as a writer or speaker is your words. You must carefully select your words when you write an academic paper or talk in a business interview. Always keep your audience in mind. Slang may be understandable to some readers, but they are unlikely to enjoy this writing style.

Using slang terms or phrases in formal writing is improper and insulting. As a result, here are slang words to avoid in writing

  • Dope
  • Crazy good
  • To flex

In academic writing, avoid using slang or colloquial terms. Your words are the foundation of how a reader or listener evaluates you as a writer or speaker.


Jargon expressions run the chance of losing your audience due to wordiness or the usage of specialized terminology. Using jargon significantly undermines your intention to convey clearly in a research paper. Writers should be aware of their intended audience and familiarize themselves with their language. After that, write to the audience in a language they will easily understand. Are you still wondering what jargon words not to use in a research paper? Worry no more!

Here are some examples of jargon words you should refrain from using.

  • Boil the ocean
  • Robust
  • Punt
  • Reach out 


Abbreviations are short versions of words or phrases. It is improper to use abbreviations in academic writing. A few abbreviations are acceptable to use in your research paper, though. You should refrain from using the following abbreviations in your research paper:

  • Instead of using, e.g. and, i.e., use for example or for instance.
  • Avoid using “govt.” or “depts.” You may use the words department or government.
  • You should also refrain from using NB. You may substitute it with “note that.”

In your research report, you can use abbreviations when writing professional titles. For instance, you might shorten titles like Mr., Dr., and Prof. If you use these abbreviations along with the person’s name, they are acceptable.

Exceptions to the Rules

Personal remarks and reflective reports can occasionally be less formal. You might not have to adhere to these rules to the letter while creating these kinds of pieces. In contrast to the rest of the dissertation, the prologue and acknowledgments frequently have a less professional and more informal tone.


Avoid using unnecessary words to increase the word count when writing a research paper. Jargon, clichés, and modifiers are words not to use in a research paper as they don’t improve your writing. A research paper in a broadened essay that explains your analysis or review. It is polite to avoid using certain words or to proofread your work before submitting it.

For your work to receive the proper credit, you must adhere to this protocol.   Additionally, make sure your study paper is original. For writers who need to confirm the originality of their work, Quetext is quite helpful. 

With its free plagiarism checker tool, Quetext has helped more than five million students and teachers make sure their work is plagiarism free. Check it out!