Linking words play an important role in academic writing: They connect different paragraphs, sections or ideas in a text. Therefore, they considerably improve the readability and argumentation of academic texts such as a thesis, dissertation, essay or journal publication. This list of 75 linking words includes examples of how they can be used in academic writing.
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- Linking words expressing order and sequence in academic writing
- Linking words expressing additions in academic writing
- Linking words expressing cause and effect in academic writing
- Linking words expressing contrasts and comparisons in academic writing
- Linking words expressing emphasis in academic writing
- Linking words expressing illustrations in academic writing
- Linking words expressing summaries and conclusions in academic writing
- Linking words expressing conditionality in academic writing
- Linking words expressing generalisations in academic writing
- Linking words expressing concessions in academic writing
Linking words expressing order and sequence in academic writing
1. First(ly), second(ly), third(ly)
Example: First, I review the existing literature on cross-border collaboration. Second, I explain the methodology …
Example: The thesis starts with a literature review. Next, I describe the case study design.
Example: Finally, recommendations for future research are presented.
Example: Study participants underwent several experiments and were subsequently examined.
Example: The event increased public awareness of this issue. Afterwards, politicians debated it more openly.
Example: Eventually, this led to the creation of a social movement.
Example: Before scientists discovered the role of neurons in information processing, they assumed that…
Example: Previously, scholars believed that nurture was the most important factor in a child’s development.
Linking words expressing additions in academic writing
Example: Scholars examine the causes and effects of poverty.
Example: Furthermore, the data illustrates the number of chemicals that can be found in drinking water.
Example: Additionally, the interviewee lamented a lack of attention to his work.
12. As well as
Example: Scholars utilise qualitative as well as quantitative methods to study this phenomenon.
Example: Besides the public outreach component, we wrote a handbook to disseminate the research results in the academic community.
Example: The financial compensation was also appreciated by the study participants.
Example: Moreover, interviewees were asked to describe their own experiences.
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Linking words expressing cause and effect in academic writing
Example: This theory was ultimately rejected because it was built on a flawed dataset.
Example: The outcomes improved since different parties joined forces.
Example: As the number of studies increases, better conclusions can be drawn.
Example: Scientists realised that the data analysis had flaws. So they decided not to run the same data analysis again.
Example: Many researchers have conducted this experiment with similar results. Therefore, this theory can be debunked.
Example: The literature highlights the importance of age and physical fitness. Consequently, these factors will be investigated further.
22. Due to
Example: Due to a low response rate, the study’s validity is low.
Linking words expressing contrasts and comparisons in academic writing
Example: One academic study found the opposite results. Nevertheless, it can be argued that…
Example: Many scholars have explored this issue. Yet, to date, no inclusive framework exists to explain…
Example: Although a confidentiality agreement was provided, study participants were hesitant to disclose private information.
26. In spite of
Example: In spite of the different study contexts, all experiments pointed to similar results.
Example: People often stated that they are aware of the rules whereas they behaved as if they did not.
Example: While older studies often emphasise structural effects, newer ones tend to highlight the role of agency.
29. In contrast
Example: In contrast to previous findings, my analysis shows that…
Example: One study found that the majority of residents in disadvantaged areas do not have access to sufficient resources. Similarly, my research revealed that most residents live too far away from the services and resources they would need to climb the social ladder.
Example: Equally important, however, is the role of personal beliefs in decision-making processes.
Example: The interviewee considered this issue important and expected his colleagues to do likewise.
33. On the other hand
Example: On the one hand, research in this field advanced considerably in the last 20 years. On the other hand, a lot remains unclear.
Example: Unlike social scientists, physical scientists often conduct laboratory examinations.
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Linking words expressing emphasis in academic writing
Example: Particularly relevant for this study is the molecular orbital theory.
Example: Especially younger interviewees expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo.
37. Above all
Example: Above all, this method can generate better insights into the physical processes at hand.
Example: Indeed, motivation turned out to be a defining factor of academic success.
Example: Clearly, these scholars were not aware of recent advances in medical sciences.
Example: This was definitely the most important event of the year.
Example: More importantly, the findings underscore the importance of conflict resolution.
Example: Undoubtedly, all stakeholders had good intentions.
Example: Obviously it is too early to draw final conclusions.
43. Of course
Example: Of course, this study should be replicated in a different context.
Example: Surprisingly, all results were unambiguous.
Linking words expressing illustrations in academic writing
45. Such as
Example: Scientists have explored different parts of the problem, such as CO2 emissions and hydrological processes.
46. For example
Example: Many interviewees were nervous. For example, when asked to describe the event, some of them started to stutter.
47. For instance
Example: Scholars have criticised this approach for different reasons. For instance, they argued that qualitative methods are insufficient to draw generalisable conclusions.
48. In this case
Example: Difficulties arise when no study participants can be found. In this case, alternative methods should be considered.
Linking words expressing summaries and conclusions in academic writing
50. To conclude
Example: To conclude, the empirical analysis supports previous research findings.
51. In conclusion
Example: In conclusion, the reviewed literature highlights a clear research gap.
52. To sum up
Example: To sum up, a mixed methods approach is a better choice than a purely quantitative one.
53. In summary
Example: In summary, it is my opinion that conditions should be improved.
54. In short
Example: In short, scholars call for more research on climate change mitigation.
Example: Altogether, these examples support the main argument.
Example: Energy supply became a growing problem. Thus, new policies were implemented.
Example: The first dataset was incomplete. Hence, a new dataset had to be developed.
Linking words expressing conditionality in academic writing
Example: Unless stated otherwise, I refer to the concept as…
59. As long as
Example: As long as the conditions do not change, the results should remain stable.
Example: If scientists study this phenomenon in the future, they should pay attention to structural drivers.
61. Provided that
Example: Provided that nothing changes, the effects on society will be negative.
Example: Should the distribution change, it is fair to expect…
63. Even if
Example: Even if more experiments are conducted, human behaviour remains hard to predict.
Linking words expressing generalisations in academic writing
Example: Often, this issue was flagged by interviewees themselves.
Example: Commonly, this criterion is used for categorising plants.
Example: Overall the data confirmed the hypothesis.
Example: Typically emotions run high in such situations.
Example: Generally speaking, scholars address this issue from two angles.
Example: Mainly researchers in the global North discuss this phenomenon.
Example: Mostly, these results cannot be replicated outside of the lab.
Linking words expressing concessions in academic writing
71. Even if
Example: This is hard to prove. Even if the study sample is large enough.
72. Regardless of
Example: Regardless of their genetic makeup, mice showcased the same symptoms.
Example: Albeit experiencing setbacks, successful students do not get discouraged.
Example: Admittedly, the validity of this study should be increased.
Example: Nonetheless, this study can be seen as a valuable contribution to the international literature.