Chapter 3: Making a story sticky
8 maggio 2013
From
Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get
Cited and Proposals That Get Funded, Joshua
Schimel, 2011
SUCCES: Making a story sticky
•
•
•
•
•
•

S: Simple
U: Unexpected
C: Concrete
C: Credible
E: Emotional
S: stories
Simple
• Find the simple message that captures the
essence of your research paper
• Simple ≠ Simplistic
• Simplistic messa...
Simple
• Example of a simple idea: Natural selection
• “Fit organisms survive and pass on their genes
while unfit ones don...
Simple: schemas
• Schemas are how we structure information
• Example schemas:
– How electricity is transmitted
– How a mot...
Unexpected
• Frame the knowledge gap by using what is
known to identify the boundaries of that
knowledge
Unexpected
• Find what is novel in your results and highlight
the unexpected elements
• Frame new questions and look for n...
Concrete
• Science has both a concrete side: the data
• And an abstract side: the ideas
• Abstract and concrete are a cont...
Concrete
• To make your paper more readable:
– Ground and define your specific concepts in
widely understood schemas or in...
Credible
• Credibility goes hand in hand with concrete
• Our IDEAS are credible when we ground them
in previous work and c...
Emotional
• The fundamental emotion in science is
CURIOSITY
• You need an engaging question, not just data
• You engage cu...
Stories
• Stories are modular: a single large story is
crafted from several smaller story units
threaded together
• When w...
Summary
• Before you start writing, figure out how you
are going to weave these six elements into
your work
• Figure out t...
Exercises
• Analyze a research paper: how did they use
each SUCCES element?
– Did they do a good job?
– Could they have im...
Exercises
• Analyze the article you wrote for chapter 2
– How well did you use the SUCCES elements?
– How could you improv...
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Presentation 4

  1. 1. Chapter 3: Making a story sticky 8 maggio 2013
  2. 2. From Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded, Joshua Schimel, 2011
  3. 3. SUCCES: Making a story sticky • • • • • • S: Simple U: Unexpected C: Concrete C: Credible E: Emotional S: stories
  4. 4. Simple • Find the simple message that captures the essence of your research paper • Simple ≠ Simplistic • Simplistic messages dumb down or trivialize the issue or dodge the core of the problem
  5. 5. Simple • Example of a simple idea: Natural selection • “Fit organisms survive and pass on their genes while unfit ones don’t”
  6. 6. Simple: schemas • Schemas are how we structure information • Example schemas: – How electricity is transmitted – How a motor works • When we learn, we add to our schemas • When you write, aim for your potential readers’ schemas
  7. 7. Unexpected • Frame the knowledge gap by using what is known to identify the boundaries of that knowledge
  8. 8. Unexpected • Find what is novel in your results and highlight the unexpected elements • Frame new questions and look for new insights • What is the knowledge gap you are answering in your paper?
  9. 9. Concrete • Science has both a concrete side: the data • And an abstract side: the ideas • Abstract and concrete are a continuum, not a dichotomy: from the concrete data to abstractions of these data to abstractions of these abstractions, and so forth • Most research is at a middle level of this continuum
  10. 10. Concrete • To make your paper more readable: – Ground and define your specific concepts in widely understood schemas or in the details that explain the abstractions
  11. 11. Credible • Credibility goes hand in hand with concrete • Our IDEAS are credible when we ground them in previous work and cite those sources • Our DATA are credible when we describe our methods, present the data clearly and use appropriate statistics • Our CONCLUSIONS are credible when we show that they grow from those data
  12. 12. Emotional • The fundamental emotion in science is CURIOSITY • You need an engaging question, not just data • You engage curiosity by shifting your focus from “What information do I have to offer” to “What knowledge do I have to offer” • Emotion is particularly important for proposals
  13. 13. Stories • Stories are modular: a single large story is crafted from several smaller story units threaded together • When writing, think about internal structure and how to integrate these story modules • As you discuss your data and ideas, find units that you can package into coherent modules
  14. 14. Summary • Before you start writing, figure out how you are going to weave these six elements into your work • Figure out the simple story • Build it around the key questions that engage UNEXPECTED and EMOTIONAL • This will guide you in selecting the material you need to make the story CONCRETE and CREDIBLE
  15. 15. Exercises • Analyze a research paper: how did they use each SUCCES element? – Did they do a good job? – Could they have improved? If so, how? • What schemas did the authors use in building their story – Are these schemas only held by a narrow subdiscipline or by a wider community?
  16. 16. Exercises • Analyze the article you wrote for chapter 2 – How well did you use the SUCCES elements? – How could you improve it, if not? – Rewrite key passages to enhance their SUCCES power

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