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Today. Quiz Today: recap structure, proposals New stuff: language (being precise & clear) Continue building blocks of strong technical writing. Using the literature. Explain capstone assignment, pick topics/groups. . Elements of a good proposal.

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Today

Today

  • Quiz

  • Today: recap structure, proposals

    New stuff: language (being precise & clear)

  • Continue building blocks of strong technical writing. Using the literature. Explain capstone assignment, pick topics/groups.


Elements of a good proposal

Elements of a good proposal

  • Significance (so what? Big scale questions and/or societal issues that motivate particular study)

  • Importance of specific study

  • Define question

  • Connect data / proposed work to questions

  • Generalize

    THEME: know audience and what they know. Usually assume audience knows nothing but can learn anything

    Is it good science?


Aside writing proposals is a great framework for doing good science

Aside: Writing proposals is a great framework for doing good science

Intelligent design: proposition that certain features of the universe and living things are best explained by intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Courts have ruled that this is NOT science.

Why not?


Classical observationist inductivist account of scientific method

Classical observationist/inductivist account of scientific method

  • e.g., David Hume

  • General statements (theories) must be based on empirical observations, which are subsequently generalized into statements that can be regarded as “true” or “probably true”

    • Swan #1 is white, swan #2 white, swan #3 white… to general statement that all swans are white

    • Problems with this?

  • How many swans do you need to see before this is “True” or “probably true”?

  • Can it yield certainty? Trying to prove value of induction with induction…


Modern science empirical falsification

Modern science: Empirical falsification

  • Karl Popper (1902-1994) Austro-British philosopher and prof at London School of Econ

  • Theory is scientific IFF it is falsifiable.

    • No induction can prove all swans are white, since this would require infinite number of observations

    • But the observation of a single non-white swan will falsify the statement that all swans are white

    • Deductive logic (modus tollens).

      If P, then Q. Not Q. Therefore, not P.

  • Intelligent design is not science

  • For proposals: hypothesis testing and necessary but not sufficient evidence


Structure of a strong proposal

Structure of a strong proposal

*State what you are proposing to do up front*

  • Explain significance: Context, background, big scale questions or societal issues that motivate proposed work

  • Define specific question: question to be addressed by proposed work must relate to (1)

  • Describe proposed work: what do you plan to do?

  • Connect proposed work / expected results to specific questions you defined. Will the data test the hypothesis or address the question?

  • Generalize results: How would answering your specific question with these data bear on the big scale questions or issues that motivated the work?


Sections headings might be dictated but headings alone do not necessarily make strong structure

Sections headings might be dictated… but headings alone do not necessarily make strong structure

e.g., UW RRF proposals:

*Abstract*

  • Introduction and rationale

  • Objectives

  • Procedure

  • Time schedule

  • Need for support


Structure of a strong proposal nsf

Structure of a strong proposal: NSF

*Project Summary*

  • Background & big questions

  • Proposed work: specific questions and objectives

  • Details of research plan (including predicted results and their significance in addressing specific objectives and big questions)

  • Proposed work plan (timeline)

  • Persuasive arguments (why am I uniquely qualified to do this work? What is the benefit of funding me?)


Review a successful nsf grf proposal

Review a successful NSF GRF proposal

What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

  • How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?  If international activities are proposed, are the proposed activities relevant and do they benefit the applicant?

  • For example, panelists may consider the following with respect to the Intellectual Merit Criterion:   the strength of the academic record, the proposed plan of research, the description of previous research experience or publication/presentations, references, and the appropriateness of the choice of institution relative to the proposed plan for graduate education and research.  


Review a successful nsf grf proposal1

Review a successful NSF GRF proposal

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

  • How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?  Background information and examples of Broader Impacts activities are available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf.

  • For example, panelists may consider the following with respect to the Broader Impacts Criterion:   the personal, professional, and educational experiences, the future plans and prior accomplishments in the integration of research and education, and the potential to reach diverse audiences and benefit society.


Review a successful nsf grf proposal2

Review a successful NSF GRF proposal

You have 4 minutes. Does it contain the following?

  • Introduction and rationale

  • Objectives

  • Methods or procedure

  • Schedule

  • Need for support (and other persuasive reasons why work should be funded)

    Was the science significant, relevant, doable?

    What was effective about the structure?


Language being precise saying what you mean being clear not saying what you don t mean

Language:being precise(saying what you mean)being clear(not saying what you don’t mean)


Language being precise saying what you mean

Language: being precise(saying what you mean)

  • Choosing the right word

  • To affect is to influence; an effect is a result.

  • Continual means repeatedly; continuous means without interruption.

  • Its is possessive of the pronoun it; it’s is defined as “it is”

  • Centers on vs. revolves around

  • Composed of vs. comprises

  • Watch out for synonyms

  • Watch out for absolutes like always and never


  • Language being precise saying what you mean1

    Language: being precise(saying what you mean)

    • Choosing the right level of detail

    • - Not the highest degree of accuracy, but the appropriate level of accuracy.

    • - Not compiling details, but selecting details

  • Too little detail raises questions

  • After recognizing the problems with the weather stations, we took subsequent corrective measures.

  • Too much detail confuses

  • The average citizen of Seattle gets 0.31 rem of radiation exposure from manmade sources each year.

  • Too many details in one sentence makes reader tired


  • Language being clear avoiding things you don t mean

    Language: being clear(avoiding things you don’t mean)

    • (1) Avoiding needless complexity

    • - Needlessly complex words

  • Version 1: The objective of this study is to develop an effective commercialization strategy for solar energy systems by analyzing the factors that are impeding early commercial projects and by prioritizing the potential government and industry actions that can facilitate the viability of the project.


  • Language being clear avoiding things you don t mean1

    Language: being clear(avoiding things you don’t mean)

    • (1) Avoiding needless complexity

    • - Needlessly complex words

  • Version 2: This study will consider why current solar energy systems have not yet reached the commercial stage and will evaluate the steps that industry and government can take to make these systems commercial.


  • Language being clear avoiding things you don t mean2

    Language: being clear(avoiding things you don’t mean)

    • (1) Avoiding needless complexity

    • - Needlessly complex phrases

  • The decision will be based on economical fluid replenishment cost performance.

  • We will base the decision on the cost of replacing the thermal oil.

    • (1) Avoiding needless complexity

    • - Needlessly complex phrases

  • The decision will be based on economical fluid replenishment cost performance.

  • We will base the decision on the cost of replacing the thermal oil.


  • Language being clear avoiding things you don t mean3

    Language: being clear(avoiding things you don’t mean)

    • (1) Avoiding needless complexity

    • - Needlessly complex sentences

  • Make sure sentence contains no more than one main idea and does not wander

  • If you notice a sentence is too long, it is too complex.

  • Imagine yourself sitting across from your most important reader, and write as if you were talking to that reader. Read Big Bang examples out loud (p. 90 Alley)


  • Language being clear avoiding things you don t mean4

    Language: being clear(avoiding things you don’t mean)

    • (1) Avoiding ambiguity

    • Some ambiguities difficult to classify

    • Word choice (e.g., “as” vs. “because”)

    • Syntax (e.g., placement of “only” and of introductory phrases)

    • Pronouns (it? this?)

    • Punctuation (mostly commas)


    Language vine matthews abstracts

    Language: Vine & Matthews abstracts

    Our recent work has suggested a new mechanic for their creation.

    Wrong word

    Local anomalies of short-period in mid-oceanic ridges can be linked to bathymetry and explained in terms of susceptibility contrasts and crustal configuration.

    Ambiguity

    This process of cooling and solidification of magnetic direction as the blocks float outwards represents a pattern of reversing of Earth’s magnetism over time.

    Wrong words

    When observing the topography of the oceanic floors it is clear that a number of anomalies are present.

    Ambiguity, needless complexity

    Patterns of magnetic anomalies observed over oceanic ridges are linked to concepts of spreading of ocean floors and periodic reversals in the Earth’s magnetic field.

    Ambiguity

    By taking surveys over various ridges, consisting of long period anomalies over foothills, shorter period anomalies on flanks, and a pronounced central anomaly over median valleys, and creating a profile of the results the steep gradients and large amplitudes of magnetic anomalies observed over oceanic ridges can be explained.

    Needless complexity


    Paper assignment library resources

    Paper assignment & Library resources

    What makes a good thesis statement?

    Go to ESS 418 website…

    UW research tutorial: Research 101

    http://guides.lib.washington.edu/howdoi

    ESS library research guide

    http://guides.lib.washington.edu/ess


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