# Is 'log' (short for 'logarithm') considered too informal for an academic paper in the social sciences? [closed]

Should I write (in the main body of the text)

The dependent variable is the logarithm of GDP.

or

The dependent variable is the log of GDP.

or even:

The dependent variable is log GDP.

It strikes me that I rarely see 'logarithm' fully spelt out, even in the main body of the text of academic papers. (More context: I am writing an economics paper.)

## closed as primarily opinion-based by Chenmunka, tchrist♦, Hellion, Drew, FumbleFingersMar 25 '15 at 20:47

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• Well, for any social science, statistics is absolutely necessary knowledge, so you can probly say "log" confidently; but you should also be specific about exactly what transformations you've performed on the data, giving precise equations whenever necessary. To start with, for instance, do you mean ln (GDP) or log₁₀ (GDP)? And what units is GDP represented in, and what's your source for the data? Etc. – John Lawler Mar 23 '15 at 14:12
• are you taking the natural log, in which case use 'ln' – JMP Mar 23 '15 at 14:13
• I think it would be best to better specify the nature of the dependent variable. If it is "the logarithm of GDP", specify the base of the logarithm (base 2? base e? base 10?). – Paul Rowe Mar 23 '15 at 14:23
• I think in economics it is conventional to assume that if not specified, 'log' or 'logarithm' refers to base e. – Kenny LJ Mar 23 '15 at 14:24

• I think the best, most formal way, which doesn't sound like you're having a conversaion in math class, would be to have a definition stating `lGDP = log(GDP)`, and then just use `lGDP` for the rest of the paper. – WinnieNicklaus Mar 23 '15 at 19:13