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Scientific writing mgach&rc


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Guest lecture delivered at MGACH&RC on the occasion of PG Induction on 23- 04-2014

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Scientific writing mgach&rc

  1. 1. Scientific writing Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Guest lecture delivered at MGACH&RC on the occasion of PG Induction on 23- 04-2014
  2. 2. Introduction • What is science? – A particular branch of scientific knowledge – Ability to produce solutions in some problem domain – Research into questions posed by scientific theories and hypotheses • Scientific Writing is – – A writing based upon knowledge of a particular branch to produce solutions on the basis of theories and postulations Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Scientific writing
  3. 3. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Which one is scientific? • A) What is the sum of four nines? – 36 • B) How to get 100 out of four nines? – 9/9 + 99 = 100 Scientific writing
  4. 4. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at What is a scientific paper • A scientific paper is a written / published report describing original research results. 1.It must be the first publication of original research results, 2.In a form whereby peers of the author can repeat the experiments and test the conclusions, and 3.In a journal or other source document readily available within the scientific community Scientific writing
  5. 5. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Definition of Scientific paper • An accepted original scientific publication containing scientific information to enable peers: 1. To assess observations 2. To repeat experiments 3. To evaluate intellectual processes 4. Must have an impact 5. Available to scientific community without restriction 6. Available for regular screening by one or more of the major recognized secondary services (Biological abstracts, Index Medicus, Pub Med etc…) Scientific writing
  6. 6. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Scientific writing in Ayurveda Before Starting . . . check • Recorded readings (results) • Make tables • Draw graphs • Keep file to record summaries of results and any observation however insignificant • Date the files • Revise your readings, you may need to repeat an experiment while you still have the materials. • Write ideas when ever they come to you
  7. 7. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Science to start with sense • Common ownership for common task • Evaluation using universal, unbiased criteria • Should act selflessly • Ideas tested and subjected to rigorous, structured scrutiny by peers / supervisors Scientific writing
  8. 8. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Plan effectively • have a clear research question • seek statistical advice • use the right study design • act ethically • keep an open mind and minimise bias • agree who will be principal investigator • agree who will be authors and contributors • agree to publish even negative results Scientific writing
  9. 9. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Behave ethically Research ethics – declaration of Helsinki, ICH Publication ethics avoid misconduct protect patients’ identities report clearly: informed consent any deviation from usual practice full burden imposed on participants total risks posed to participants or others benefits to participants, patients, society It’s not always enough to state that the study was approved by an ethics committee or IRB Scientific writing
  10. 10. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Clear writing • Keep it simple: use short, familiar words • Avoid jargon and acronyms • Be specific • Be concrete, not abstract • Say what you mean and mean what you say • Fulfill the criteria of scientific writing Scientific writing
  11. 11. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Common manuscript problems Seldom Occasionally Frequently Poorly written, excessive jargon Inadequate/inappropriate presentation Poor description of design Excessive zeal and self promotion Rationale confused, contradictory Essential data omitted, ignored Boring Important work of others ignored Byrne DW, Publishing Medical Research Papers, Williams and Wilkins, 1998 Scientific writing
  12. 12. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Misconduct • Fabrication: making up data or results and recording or reporting them • Falsification: manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record • Plagiarism: the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit Scientific writing
  13. 13. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at IMRaD • For original research: • Introduction: – why ask this research question? – what question (problem) was studied • Methods: – what did I do? – how was the problem studied • Results: – what did I find? – what are the findings – And • Discussion: – what might it mean? – what do these findings mean Scientific writing
  14. 14. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Good research question FINER criteria Feasible (answerable with a robust method) Interesting Novel Ethical Relevant Scientific writing
  15. 15. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Essential Parts of a Scientific paper • Title: Describe concisely the core contents of the paper • Abstract: Summarize the major elements of the paper • Introduction: provide context and rationale for the study • Materials: Describe the experimental design so it is reproducible • Methods: Describe the experimental procedures • Results: Summarize the findings without interpretation • Discussion: Interpret the findings of the study • Summary: Summarize the findings • Acknowledgement: Give credit to those who helped you • References: List all scientific papers, books and websites that you cited Scientific writing
  16. 16. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Introduction 1. What was I studying? 2. Why was this an important question? 3. What did I know about this topic before I did this study? 4. What model was I testing? and 5. What approach did I take in this study? Scientific writing
  17. 17. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at good introduction • It should present the nature and scope of the problem investigated • Review the pertinent literature • State the method of investigation • State the principal results of the investigation • State the principal conclusion (s) suggested by the results Scientific writing
  18. 18. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at General rules • Use the present tense when referring to work that has already been published, but past tense when referring to your own study. • Use the active voice as much as possible • Avoid lengthy or unfocused reviews of previous research. • Cite peer-reviewed scientific literature or scholarly reviews. Avoid general reference works such as textbooks. • Define any specialized terms or abbreviations Scientific writing
  19. 19. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Materials and Methods • Provide full details so that the experiments are reproducible – If the peer reviewer has doubts that the experiments could be repeated, the manuscript will be rejected. • Organize the methods under subheadings, with related methods described together (e.g. subjects, experimental design, Measurement of…, Hormonal assays etc…). • Describe the experimental design in detail • Do not mix some of the Results in this section • Write in the past tense Scientific writing
  20. 20. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Materials • Must identify accurately experimental animals, plants, and microorganisms used by genus, species and strain • The source of subjects studied, number of individuals in each group used, their sex, age, and weight must be clearly stated • If human subjects are used, the criteria for selection should be described, and consent • For chemicals used, include exact technical specifications and source or method of preparation. • Avoid the use of trade names of chemicals, generic or chemical names are preferred. Scientific writing
  21. 21. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Methods • This part of the manuscript must be clear, precise and concise so that it can be reproducible • If the method is new, all details must be provided • If the method has been previously published in a scientific journal, only the reference should be given with some identification: – e.g. “cells were broken by ultrasonic treatment as previously described by …”. Preferable than “cells were broken as previously described by …. “ • Questions such as “how” or “how much” must be answered and not left to be puzzled over • Methods used for statistical analyses must be mentioned; ordinary ones without comments, but advanced or unusual ones require literature citation Scientific writing
  22. 22. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Results • Results section is written in the past tense • It is the core or heart of the paper • It needs to be clearly and simply stated since it constitutes the new knowledge contributed to the world • The purpose of this section is to summarize and illustrate the findings in an orderly and logical sequence, without interpretation • The text should guide the reader through the findings, stressing the major points • Do not describe methods that have already been described in the M&M section or that have been inadvertently omitted Scientific writing
  23. 23. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Data presenting 1. Directly in the text 2. In a table 3. In a figure • All figures and tables must be accompanied by a textual presentation of the key findings • Never have a table or figure that is not mentioned in the text Scientific writing
  24. 24. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Tables and figures • Tables are appropriate for large or complicated data sets that would be difficult to explain clearly in text. • Figures are appropriate for data sets that exhibit trends, patterns, or relationships that are best conveyed visually. • Any table or figure must be sufficiently described by its title and caption or legend, to be understandable without reading the main text of the results section. • Do not include both a table and a figure showing the same information Scientific writing
  25. 25. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Discussion • It is the hardest section to write. • Its primary purpose is to show the relationships among observed facts • It should end with a short summary or conclusion regarding the significance of the work. Scientific writing
  26. 26. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Components of the discussion • Try to present the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the Results • Point out any exceptions or any lack of correlation and define unsettled points • Show how your results and interpretations agree or contrast with previously published work • Discuss the theoretical implications of your work, and any possible practical applications. • State your conclusions as clearly as possible • Summarize your evidence for each conclusion Scientific writing
  27. 27. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at References • Referencing is a standardized way of acknowledging the sources of information and ideas that you have used in your document. • A list of ALL the references used in the text must be written. • Reference format varies widely: – Harvard format (the name and year system) is the most widely used – Alphabet-Number system is a modification of name and year system – Citation order system – Vancouver referencing method Scientific writing
  28. 28. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Acknowledgments* You should acknowledge: 1. Any significant technical help that you have received from any individual in your lab or elsewhere 2. The source of special equipment, cultures, or any other material 3. Any outside financial assistance, such as grants, contracts or fellowships • Do not use the word “wish”, simply write “I thank …..” and not “I wish to thank…” • Show the proposed wording of the Acknowledgement to the person whose help you are acknowledging * How to write a scientific paper,* How to write a scientific paper, By Prof. Dr.By Prof. Dr. KhadigaKhadiga GaafarGaafar, Zoology Dept.,, Zoology Dept., Faculty of Science, Cairo UniversityFaculty of Science, Cairo University Scientific writing
  29. 29. • Book – Okuda M, Okuda D. Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. New York: Pocket Books; 1993. • Journal or Magazine Article (with volume numbers) – Wilcox RV. Shifting roles and synthetic women in Star trek: the next generation. Stud Pop Culture. 1991;13:53-65. • Newspaper, Magazine or Journal Article (without volume numbers) – Di Rado A. Trekking through college: classes explore modern society using the world of Star trek. Los Angeles Times. March 15, 1995:A3. • Encyclopedia Article – Sturgeon T. Science fiction. In: Lorimer LT, editorial director; Cummings C, ed-in-chief; Leish KW, managing ed. The Encyclopedia Americana. Vol 24. International ed. Danbury, Conn: Grolier Incorporated; 1995:390-392.
  30. 30. • Book Article or Chapter – James NE. Two sides of paradise: the Eden myth according to Kirk and Spock. In: Palumbo D, ed. Spectrum of the Fantastic. Westport, Conn: Greenwood; 1988:219-223. • ERIC Document – Fuss-Reineck M. Sibling Communication in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Conflicts Between Brothers. Miami, Fla: Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association; 1993. ERIC Document Reproduction Service ED364932. • Website – Lynch T. DSN trials and tribble-ations review. Psi Phi: Bradley's Science Fiction Club Web site. 1996. Available at: /503r.htm. Accessed October 8, 1997. • Journal Article on the Internet – McCoy LH. Respiratory changes in Vulcans during pon farr. J Extr Med [serial online]. 1999;47:237-247. Available at: Accessed April 7, 1999.
  31. 31. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Conclusion • Nineteen Suggestions for Writing Good Scientific Papers * 1. Know your audience and write for that specific audience 2. Your supervisor/professor is not here to teach you basic grammar and spelling 3. Do Not Turn in a First Draft! 4. Get and use stylebooks. 5. Avoid abusing word forms. 6. Do not use more words where fewer will do. * Writing good scientific papers IMM, Mainz, Scientific writing
  32. 32. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Conclusion 7. Use an outline to organize your ideas and writing 8. Think about the structure of paragraphs 9. Pay attention to tenses. 10. Captions should not merely name a table or figure, they should explain how to read it. 11. When citing a reference, focus on the ideas, not the authors. 12. Show us don't tell us. 13. Write about your results, not your tables, figures, and statistics. * Writing good scientific papers IMM, Mainz, Scientific writing
  33. 33. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Conclusion 14. Develop a strategy for your Discussion. 15. Introductions and conclusions are the hardest parts. 16. Break up large projects into small pieces and work on the pieces. 17. Make your writing flow and resonate. 18. Use word processors effectively and back up your work religiously. • 19. Take editorial comments seriously. * Writing good scientific papers IMM, Mainz, Scientific writing
  34. 34. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Road Map Scientific writing
  35. 35. Dr. K. Shiva Rama Prasad, at Scientific writing Thank you – “Shastram jyotihi prakashartham” • The luminaries of lamp may break the darkness, but the darkness beneath the lamp can not be disbanded