GOPEN SWAN AMERICAN SCIENTIST PDF

The authors base their recommendations on studies of how readers actually process written information. It turns out that readers have many common expectations of sentences. When sentences conform to these expectations, readers are more easily able to understand even the most scientific writing. Gopen, G. The science of scientific writing. American Scientist.

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If the reader is to grasp what the writer means, the writer must understand what the reader needs. Graduate school is like a juggling performance. Successful jugglers need not only keep the balls from hitting the ground but simultaneously amalgamate new and old tricks, mixing the standard material with the fancy pick-ups. When it comes to academic writing, this juggling is difficult. Depending on your writing experience or lack thereof , it might feel like tossing two balls back and forth is a laborious challenge, and a complicated routine with more sophisticated tricks may seem entirely out of the question.

In one hand, you might find the need to write for the journal editors and reviewers, and in the other hand, the need to cater to an audience with less understanding of the subject.

Fortunately, with self-exploration, attention to detail, and practice practice, practice , students at any skill level can begin learning how to give an inspiring performance in academic writing.

Finkel gave insight into his writing process:. Every time I write anything, I first think about the target audience. In particular, I think about what background the target audience is likely to have, and I calibrate my efforts at clarity with the background in mind. I also attend to the likely level of interest and attention span of the target audience, and I try to calibrate the technicality and length of the piece accordingly.

Writing centers are an invaluable resource for writers of all levels. Many academic institutions have an affiliated writing center staffed with graduate and faculty writers trained to provide one-on-one tutoring and assistance in the planning, drafting, revising, and editing stages. Sometimes, exercises in revision are extremely helpful for budding scholars.

Original: This mechanism is an important factor in our understanding of cytomegaloviral infections in the brain. Revised: This mechanism will help us understand how cytomegaloviruses infect the brain. This is just one example from a full list of helpful tricks for making your writing more palatable to readers. Before finishing a first draft, some writers might find these tips hard to follow.

If you find yourself struggling to begin writing, try starting with an outline and add comments in areas of uncertainty. It is entirely okay to write your first draft badly if it puts words on paper. Mark it up and keep going. Only then can you start to be confident that you know how the logic and the narrative should cohere.

Then start revising. Then again. Then one more time. Then get feedback from people you admire. Then revise again and again. Then consider getting additional feedback.

Then submit your piece. Avoiding jargon can be difficult, especially if doing so results in a longer string of words. However, consider the circulation of the five APS journals alone.

APS members from many subdisciplines of psychological science receive these journals, and the knowledge base of this population varies considerably. Academic journals with broad circulation necessitate thoughtful writing. Can you describe your empirical findings simply without overselling or underselling their importance? Pay close attention to similar work. See if you can integrate the style of these papers into your own writing.

Look for things that you as a reader do not understand or would do differently — especially in the discussion section. Rein yourself in for journal articles and stick to the point. Indeed, little modifications can go a long way.

Vary short and long sentences. When possible, choose the active voice in your results and discussion sections and omit unnecessary words. Little changes can make your writing much clearer. If readers can see that a writer cares about consistency and accuracy in her prose, they will be reassured that the writer cares about those virtues in conduct they cannot see as easily … Style, not least, adds beauty to the world. Reading the advice of writer—scholars such as Pinker can enrich your professional work.

For example, you may choose to borrow the useful tool of metaphor from creative academic writers. Metaphors, though seldom used in academic work, capitalize on well-understood common experiences to facilitate understanding of complex or abstract concepts. Finding the right figurative language can enhance your ability to effectively communicate ideas to your audience. A writer must attend to both form and content.

I often try to write as if I am explaining my work to my younger brother. Writing as if you are explaining your work to audiences outside your field can give you practical experience both in communicating your work and in giving people an understanding of the importance of your findings.

Finkel offers similar advice for novice writers. Efforts to be funny, clever, or engaging are secondary. Clarity is king. Gopen, G. The science of scientific writing. American Scientist, 78 , — The Journal of Neuroscience. Techniques for clear scientific writing and editing.

Lightman, A. A sense of the mysterious: Science and the human spirit. Pinker, S. New York, NY: Penguin. Plotnik, A. Strunk, W. The elements of style 4th ed. New York, NY: Longman. Swales, J. Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills 2nd ed. Zinsser, W. On writing well: The classic guide to writing nonfiction. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.

Learn how your comment data is processed. Sarah Bannon is a graduate student in the clinical psychology program at Stony Brook University. Her research interests include the biopsychosocial factors that influence the perpetration of intimate-partner violence, as well as treatments for and prevention of violent behavior. She can be contacted at sarah.

For psychology students who want to become clinicians or go into the academic realm of research and teaching, the next logical step is finding the ideal graduate program. Now what do you do? A panel of three psychological scientists who have been there, done that offer some advice. The decision of whether to attend university or jump right into the working world is associated with significant differences in personality.

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It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Finkel gave insight into his writing process: Every time I write anything, I first think about the target audience. Learn the Basics Early Writing centers are an invaluable resource for writers of all levels. Roediger, H. Twelve tips for reviewers.

Observer, 20 , 41— Leave a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Related Student Notebook: Advice for Future Graduate Students For psychology students who want to become clinicians or go into the academic realm of research and teaching, the next logical step is finding the ideal graduate program. Welcome to the Real World: How Work Shapes Personality The decision of whether to attend university or jump right into the working world is associated with significant differences in personality.

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MAMMITES BOVINES PDF

The Science of Scientific Writing

If the reader is to grasp what the writer means, the writer must understand what the reader needs. Graduate school is like a juggling performance. Successful jugglers need not only keep the balls from hitting the ground but simultaneously amalgamate new and old tricks, mixing the standard material with the fancy pick-ups. When it comes to academic writing, this juggling is difficult. Depending on your writing experience or lack thereof , it might feel like tossing two balls back and forth is a laborious challenge, and a complicated routine with more sophisticated tricks may seem entirely out of the question. In one hand, you might find the need to write for the journal editors and reviewers, and in the other hand, the need to cater to an audience with less understanding of the subject. Fortunately, with self-exploration, attention to detail, and practice practice, practice , students at any skill level can begin learning how to give an inspiring performance in academic writing.

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Improve Your Writing, with Science!

When Judith Swan was a PhD student in molecular and cell biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT , her research on specialized microtubules in chicken cells went pretty smoothly. Swan was essentially told to write up her research, then was edited, critiqued, and told to try again. She realized that the entrenched paucity of guidance in scientific writing has led to a body of scientific literature that is often poorly written and opaque. Bringing Order to Authorship. Tell Me A Story of Science. This involves creating a delicate balance between providing too much and not enough contextual information, Swan says.

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Right your Writing

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