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The Craft of Scientific Writing. AEE 804 ANR Communication Strategies Spring 03 Reese & Woods. Scientific Writing. In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs. - Sir Francis Darwin. audience. occasion. purpose.

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The craft of scientific writing l.jpg

The Craft ofScientific Writing

AEE 804

ANR Communication Strategies

Spring 03

Reese & Woods


Scientific writing l.jpg
Scientific Writing

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.

- Sir Francis Darwin


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audience

occasion

purpose

Presentation Objectives

Importance of Scientific Writing

Key Principles


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Impact of Career

  • How well you communicate affects your career

    • Successful scientist spent 25% of work week writing (Davis 1997)

    • Professional scientists found writing their most useful subject (University of Wisconsin)

    • MSU CANR Alumni need most work on their writing (Suvedi, 2001)


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Space Shuttle Challenger

(January 28, 1986)

Impact on Others

  • Explosion was caused by failure of O-rings in the solid rocket boosters

  • Engineers knew of O-ring problems well before fatal launch

  • Engineers failed to communicate seriousness of problem


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4. Writing Style

3. Purpose of Writing

To inform

To persuade

A Matter of Difference

2. Writing Constraints

1. Subject Matter

audience

occasion

purpose


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specific

technical

audiences

general

technical

audiences

non-technical

audiences

Communication Needs

Conferences

Lectures

Meetings

Posters

Reports

Articles

Proposals

Web Pages


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2. Writing the First Draft

1. Getting in the Mood

4. Finishing

3. Revising, Revising, Revising

Writing Stages


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In the Beginning

  • Begin by analyzing your constraints

    • Audience

      • Who they are

      • What they know

      • Why they will read

      • How they will read

    • Occasion

      • Format

      • Formality

      • Politics and ethics

      • Process and deadline

    • Purpose

      • To inform

      • To persuade


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Aspects Affecting Reader

Content

Style

Form


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words

wordswords

wordswordswords

wordswordswordswords

wordswordswords

wordswordswords

wordswordswords

wordswordswords

Structure

Language

Style What You Control

Illustration


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Broad Content Issues

  • Check your use of supporting evidence.

  • Check your use of sources.

  • Check to see that you achieve your purpose.

  • Check your attention to audience.

  • Check for overall impression.


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Organization & Presentation

  • Check the overall organization.

  • Check sentence structure and style.

  • Check paragraph structure.

  • Check format.

  • Check documentation.


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20 Most Common Errors

1. Missing comma after an introductory element.

  • Frankly, we were baffled by the findings.

  • In fact, agricultural education…

  • Determined to get the job completed, we worked all weekend.

  • Though I gave advice for revising, his draft only became worse.


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the airwaves

a policy

20 Most Common Errors

2. Vague Pronoun Reference

  • Transmitting radio signals by satellite is a way of overcoming the problem of scare airwaves and limited how, they are used.

  • Company policy prohibited smoking, which many employees resented.


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20 Most Common Errors

3. Missing comma in a compound sentence

  • We wish dreamily upon a star and then we look down to find ourselves standing in mud.

  • The words “I do” may sound simple but they mean a life commitment.

,

,


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their

allusions

20 Most Common Errors

4. Wrong word

  • The Pacers played there best, but that was not good enough.

  • Paradise Lost contains many illusions to classical mythology.


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,

,

,

,

20 Most Common Errors

5. Missing comma(s) with a nonrestrictive element.

  • Susan who was the president of the club was first to speak.

  • John’s first doll Malibu Barbie is still his favorite.


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uses

dropped

20 Most Common Errors

6. Wrong or missing verb ending

  • Ernesto use feline imagery throughout the poem.

  • The United States drop two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945.


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on

in

off

20 Most Common Errors

7. Wrong or missing preposition.

  • We met in Union Street at San Francisco.

  • Who called the game yesterday?


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for

Having

20 Most Common Errors

  • Comma Splice

    • I was strongly attracted to her, she had special qualities.

    • They always had ham for Easter, this was a family tradition.


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its

20 Most Common Errors

9. Missing or misplaced possessive apostrophe.

  • AEE is pleased to announce it’s new graduate students.


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cries

keeps

20 Most Common Errors

10. Unnecessary shift in tense

  • Abby laughs until she cried during the class.

  • Brian is in charge of finance; he will always keep his office locked.


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one is

20 Most Common Errors

11. Unnecessary shift in pronoun

  • When one first sees a painting by Cathy, you are impressed by a sense of power.


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was

20 Most Common Errors

12. Sentence fragment

  • The old aluminum boat sitting on its trailer.

  • We returned to the drugstore. Where we waited for out parents.


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broken

had

20 Most Common Errors

13. Wrong tense or verb form

  • Luke Reese has broke many soccer records.

  • By the time Jim arrived, Mikel left.


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has

20 Most Common Errors

14. Lack of subject-verb agreement

  • A central part of my life goals have been to go to graduate school.


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20 Most Common Errors

15. Missing comma in a series

  • AEE Graduate students study mostly teaching, methods, writing and other research activities.

,


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she

20 Most Common Errors

16. Lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent

  • Neither Nadja nor Kari felt that they had been treated fairly.


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20 Most Common Errors

17. Unnecessary comma (s) with a restrictive element.

  • People, who wanted to preserve wilderness areas opposed the plan to privatize national parks.


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He

.

20 Most Common Errors

18. Fused sentence

  • The current was sift he could not swin to shore.


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20 Most Common Errors

19. Misplaced or dangling modifier.

  • She had decided she wanted to be an agriscience teacher when she was ten years old.

  • When she was ten years old, she had decided she wanted to be an agriscience teacher.


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its

It’s

.

.

20 Most Common Errors

  • Its/It’s confusion

    • The car is lying on it’s side in the ditch. Its a white 2000 Audi.


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Select a Writing Mentor

  • Review Journals for writing style.

  • Identify a writing mentor to assist with thinking through and reviewing paper.


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Final Thought

  • Our greatest battles are that with our own minds. - Jameson Frank

  • Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire. - William Yeats

  • There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come. - Victor Hugo


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