Effectively writing and presenting science
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Effectively Writing and Presenting Science. Steve Midway Genetics Lab. Part I — Scientific writing. Parts of a Scientific Paper. Title Author Abstract Introduction Materials and Methods Results Discussion References. Title. Keep them as short as possible

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Effectively writing and presenting science

Effectively Writing and Presenting Science

Steve Midway

Genetics Lab


Part i scientific writing

Part I — Scientific writing


Parts of a scientific paper

Parts of a Scientific Paper

  • Title

  • Author

  • Abstract

  • Introduction

  • Materials and Methods

  • Results

  • Discussion

  • References


Title

Title

  • Keep them as short as possible

  • Don’t lose your audience before you begin

  • Can be lengthy only when necessary


Author s

Author(s)

  • Full name

  • Affiliation(s)

    • See lab manual for style


Abstract

Abstract

  • 100–250 word summary

  • Highlights introduction and results

  • Only include what’s in the paper

  • No citations

  • Often the last thing you write


Introduction

Introduction

Big picture of environment, subject, etc.

What’s known about your subject?(citations)

Why the research is needed (citations)

Objectives of this study; hypothesis


Materials and methods

(Materials and) Methods

  • Describes the design and execution of study

  • Enough pertinent details to be replicated

  • Exclude obvious methods

    • E.g., Then we drove to the next study site in our Ford F150 primarily in 2nd gear.

  • Cite other methods if you didn’t start from scratch


Results

Results

  • Only include what you found (no interpretation)

  • Begin to use table and figures, but let them complement the text—neither should be dependent on the other

  • Present tables and figures at the end of the document


A note on tables

A note on tables:

Table 2.—Statistical comparisons of Carolina madtom microhabitat use and availability and microhabitat availability between the Tar and Neuse river basins. Continuous variables were tested using a Kolmogorov-Smirnov two-sample test, and categorical variables were tested with a log-likelihood ratio G-test.


A note on figures

A note on figures:

Figure 5.—Plots of Carolina madtom microhabitat use and available habitat principal component scores for Tar 1 and Tar 2 study reaches. Component loadings appear in Table 4, and statistical comparisons appear in Table 5.


Discussion

Discussion

  • Interprets results; compare to hypotheses

    • Reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis

  • Don’t refer to any tables or figures

  • Expand out to bigger picture

  • Where does this work fit into other work?

  • Think: reverse triangle


Literature cited references

Literature Cited/References

  • List ALL references cited in text

  • Use citation format dictated by course, journal, etc.

    • If no citation format required, use what you like just remain consistent


In text citation

In-text Citation

  • At the best or most obvious spot, include author(s), date with semicolon for multiple citations

  • Some examples

    • (Meyer, 2008)

    • (Meyer and Jones, 2008)

    • (Meyer et al., 2008)

    • (Meyer, 2008; Hiltz, 2009)

    • (Meyer et al., 2008; Hiltz, 2009; Jacobs and Jones 2010)


In text citation1

In-text Citation

  • Alternately, refer to the author(s) and cite the date

    • Meyer (2008) discovered the specific gene, while Hiltz (2009) expanded on it’s sequence.


Abbreviations

Abbreviations

  • et al. = and others; used for 3rd and beyond authors

  • e.g. = for example

  • i.e. = that is; in other words

  • Use commas


Citation format

Citation Format

  • See lab manual for specific examples and what to use for this course

  • Many things can vary

    • Authors’ names

    • Sentence capitalization

    • Location of date

    • Italics

    • Etc.


Citation format1

Citation Format

  • Updated format:

    Last, F.M., F.M. Last, F.M. Last, and F.M. Last. 2009. Title of the report. Journal 4:9–10.


Citation format2

Citation Format

  • Updated format:

    Last, F.M., F.M. Last, F.M. Last, and F.M. Last. 2009. Title of the report. Journal 4:9–10.


Citation format3

Citation Format

  • Updated format:

    Last, F.M., F.M. Last, F.M. Last, and F.M. Last. 2009. Title of the report. Journal 4:9–10.


Citation format4

Citation Format

  • Updated format:

    Last, F.M., F.M. Last, F.M. Last, and F.M. Last. 2009. Title of the report. Journal 4:9–10.


Effectively writing and presenting science

Pinckney J. L., D. F. Millie, B. T. Vinyard, and H. W. Paerl. 1997. Environmental controls of phytoplankton bloom dynamics in the Neuse River estuary, North Carolina, USA.Canadian Journal of Aquatic Science 54:2491-2501.

Pine, W. E, III, T. J. Kwak, and J. A. Rice. 2007. Modeling management scenarios and the effects of an introduced apex predator on a coastal riverine fish community. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136:105–120.


Citation confusion

Citation Confusion

Squadrito, A. 2010. My research project I did all by myself. Journal of Bad Research 3:5–10.

Squadrito, A. 2010. My research project I did all by myself. Journal of Bad Research 3:5–10.

Squadrito, A. 2010. My research project I did all by myself. J of Bad Res 3:5–10.

Squadrito, A. 2010. My research project I did all by myself. J of Bad Res 3:5–10.

Squadrito, A. 2010. My research project I did all by myself. Journal of Bad Research 3:5–10.


A note on tense

A note on tense

  • While it’s a good rule to write in past tense (assuming you have done the work), the lab manual encourages you to avoid first person. This is traditional, although many journals now accept “I” and “we” where appropriate. If you did the work, why not say so?


Part ii presentations

Part II — Presentations


Using powerpoint

Using Powerpoint

  • Start off with a title slide

    • Your name

    • Title of your paper (not verbatim), authors, journal, year

    • Don’t apologize (minus points)


Using powerpoint1

Using Powerpoint

  • Keep a solid background; nothing distracting

  • Use block-style fonts (e.g., arial)

    • Not calibri or times Roman

  • Minimize colors and maintain contrast

  • Present enough, but not too much per slide

  • Don’t go smaller than 24-pt font

  • Use bold if need to


Using powerpoint 2

Using Powerpoint (2)

  • Don’t read slides

  • Mix slides and text

  • Use custom animation only if you know what you are doing


Use a transition slide

Use a transition slide

  • Or at least know where the transitions are

    • now I’ll show an example of a bad slide


Matrials and methods

Matrials and Methods

First the authors did this

Then they did this

Finally they did this.

Below is the text of the methods

Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods Methods


Materials and methods1

Materials and Methods

First the authors did this

Then they did this

Finally, they did this


Remember

Remember

  • You are graded as much on presentation as the material

  • i.e., Sound good, look good, make eye contact, speak at a comprehendible pace

  • Bad slides or bad presentation both take the attention away from the science and leave the audience wondering (Does he always talk this fast? Did she even read the paper?)


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