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Using words correctly
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Non-discriminatory language

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Non-discriminatory language

In academic work you must use words which do not discriminate against or marginalise (sideline) groups of people.

Your words should show that everybody is included, i.e. be 'inclusive'.

The main reasons for this are ethical, but there are also practical ones.

Ethical reasons

  • It is unjust to discriminate against or marginalise (sideline) people.
  • Higher Education encourages objectivity and openness, not bias and narrowness.
  • Higher Education encourages critical evaluation, not stereotyping.

Practical reasons
  • If your words are not inclusive, readers may think they do not apply to them.
  • Your reader may be personally affected (e.g. may be disabled, be somebody from another ethnic group etc.).

The following screens deal with four main areas where you need to use inclusive language.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004