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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