Science Writing
Jackie Wirz, PhD
LESSON IN A TWEET:
Vanilla phrase, then: excessively
specific subtitle. SixWordPaperTitle
— Taka Tanaka (@astrobassball) F...
LESSON IN A TWEET:
Title No Longer Matches Content.
Sorry. #SixWordPaperTitle
— Ben Robertson (@BenRobertson) February 8, ...
why are we
writing about
research,
anyway?
data does not speak for itself…
You speak for your data!
but you can’t be everywhere
all the time
dogma since 1665
communication is important
4 Constraints of
Scientific Writing
From Michael Alley – The Craft of Scientific Writing
1. Audience
2. Format
3. Mechanics
4. Politics
Image © Jorge Cham, PhD Comics www.phdcomics.com
*Let me digress…
LESSON IN A TWEET:
Don’t write in a vacuum, literally
or figuratively.
Some
Practical
Tips…
subjects
&
actions
1. Put actions in verbs
2. Put characters in subjects
3. Keep subjects near verbs
Put actions in verbs
Action Nominalization
to regulate
to analyze
to occur
to understand
to investigate
to delineate
to pe...
Put actions in verbs
Sentence Action
We performed an analysis on the data nominalization
We analyzed the data. verb
Put characters in subjects
Readers expect the main character in a clause
to be found in the subject.
Put characters in subjects
Sentence Subject?
The movement in the liquid medium of
the bacteria was accomplished by
microfl...
<logical flow sidebar>
<logical flow sidebar>
Keep subjects near verbs
who is the sentence about?
what are they doing?
Keep subjects near verbs
Sentence Distance
The ABC database has been subject to
different improvements, modifications,
and...
Cohesion,
Coherence &
Emphasis
1. Put new information last
2. Use passive voice judiciously
3. Make your paragraph match
Put new information last
Most readers will find your writing more clear
if you consistently begin sentences with
familiar ...
Use passive voice judiciously
Active: The dog chased the ball.
Passive: The ball was chased by the dog.
Passive: The ball ...
Make your paragraph match
KISS
aim here!
concisewordy
clear
pretentious
LESSON IN A TWEET:
See spot run. Run, spot, run!
So now what?
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Practice
Pract...
REVIEW
WHY it’s important
4 Constraints of Science Writing
1. Audience
2. Format
3. Mechanics
4. Politics
Some Practical Tips
• S...
thank you!
Jackie Wirz
wirzj@ohsu.edu
503.494.3443
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
Scientific Writing 2014 IEH
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Scientific Writing 2014 IEH

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Scientific Writing 2014 IEH

  1. 1. Science Writing Jackie Wirz, PhD
  2. 2. LESSON IN A TWEET: Vanilla phrase, then: excessively specific subtitle. SixWordPaperTitle — Taka Tanaka (@astrobassball) February 8, 2014
  3. 3. LESSON IN A TWEET: Title No Longer Matches Content. Sorry. #SixWordPaperTitle — Ben Robertson (@BenRobertson) February 8, 2014
  4. 4. why are we writing about research, anyway?
  5. 5. data does not speak for itself…
  6. 6. You speak for your data!
  7. 7. but you can’t be everywhere all the time
  8. 8. dogma since 1665
  9. 9. communication is important
  10. 10. 4 Constraints of Scientific Writing From Michael Alley – The Craft of Scientific Writing
  11. 11. 1. Audience 2. Format 3. Mechanics 4. Politics
  12. 12. Image © Jorge Cham, PhD Comics www.phdcomics.com
  13. 13. *Let me digress…
  14. 14. LESSON IN A TWEET: Don’t write in a vacuum, literally or figuratively.
  15. 15. Some Practical Tips…
  16. 16. subjects & actions
  17. 17. 1. Put actions in verbs 2. Put characters in subjects 3. Keep subjects near verbs
  18. 18. Put actions in verbs Action Nominalization to regulate to analyze to occur to understand to investigate to delineate to perform regulation analysis occurance understanding investigation deliniation performance
  19. 19. Put actions in verbs Sentence Action We performed an analysis on the data nominalization We analyzed the data. verb
  20. 20. Put characters in subjects Readers expect the main character in a clause to be found in the subject.
  21. 21. Put characters in subjects Sentence Subject? The movement in the liquid medium of the bacteria was accomplished by microflagella. Movement? Liquid medium? The bacteria move themselves in the liquid medium with microflagella. Bacteria!
  22. 22. <logical flow sidebar>
  23. 23. <logical flow sidebar>
  24. 24. Keep subjects near verbs who is the sentence about? what are they doing?
  25. 25. Keep subjects near verbs Sentence Distance The ABC database has been subject to different improvements, modifications, and extensions in structure and content over the years. 5 words The ABC database has been improved, modified, and extended in both structure and content over the years. 2 words The curators improved the structure and content of the ABC database. Bonus!
  26. 26. Cohesion, Coherence & Emphasis
  27. 27. 1. Put new information last 2. Use passive voice judiciously 3. Make your paragraph match
  28. 28. Put new information last Most readers will find your writing more clear if you consistently begin sentences with familiar (old) information and conclude sentences with unfamiliar (new) information.
  29. 29. Use passive voice judiciously Active: The dog chased the ball. Passive: The ball was chased by the dog. Passive: The ball was chased.
  30. 30. Make your paragraph match
  31. 31. KISS
  32. 32. aim here! concisewordy clear pretentious
  33. 33. LESSON IN A TWEET: See spot run. Run, spot, run!
  34. 34. So now what?
  35. 35. Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice - Your mother Don’t practice until you get it right... Practice until you can’t get it wrong. Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice
  36. 36. REVIEW
  37. 37. WHY it’s important 4 Constraints of Science Writing 1. Audience 2. Format 3. Mechanics 4. Politics Some Practical Tips • Subjects & Actions • Cohesion, Coherence & Emphasis • KISS
  38. 38. thank you!
  39. 39. Jackie Wirz wirzj@ohsu.edu 503.494.3443

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