Why Is It Important to Maintain Consistency in Academic Writing?
In written communication, consistency can be defined as the orderly presentation of a set of linked/associated elements in the text. These elements can be considered to be linked or associated when it is intended that they be perceived as a coherent group (for example, abbreviations, figure/table headings, etc.). Inconsistency is the most common error made by authors writing scholarly manuscripts. Some concepts of language and style are often open-ended (unless journal guidelines specify a style) and can be puzzling; however, this can be made simpler if we keep one thing in mind: in case of more than one acceptable convention, it is better to choose one and stick with it throughout the manuscript.
Here are some aspects to keep in mind when ensuring consistency.
Inconsistency is the disorderly representation of a set of associated elements. However, a graver error than inconsistency is the forceful harmonization of elements that do not need to be made consistent—for example, gratuitous intervention to change parenthesis to square brackets for in-text citations.