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Clear as Mud • Readability- long words, long sentences, jargon • Stress position • What can editors do? • How do you teach good writing?
Flesch Reading Ease FRE = 206.835 – (1.015 α) – (84.6 β) where: α = average sentence length β = average number of syllables per word assume cohesion and coherence are the same
Writing for a General Audience Pick one of the abstracts provided in class Write a short (< 100 word) summary of that abstract targeted at a general audience Keep the concepts of reading ease in mind
Presenting graphical information • Tables and figures • Power point presentations
A Quick Fix for Figure Legends and Table Headings (D. E. Kroodsma 2000) Most figure legends and table headings are “passive” “Active” descriptions provide the biological take-home message with the information
Examples Original: ‘‘Probability of lake use by breeding Madagascar Fish-Eagles as a function of number of suitable perch trees within a shoreline section. . . . ’’ Revised: “Madagascar Fish-Eagles favor shoreline sections of lakes with more suitable perch trees. Original: “Incidence of mate guarding by male House Sparrows in early and late morning observation periods during laying and incubation.’’ Revised: “Male House Sparrows guard their mates especially during early morning of the laying phase.” Original: “‘Percent of positive plates and nestling day. . . . ’’ Revised: “As nestlings grew older, they became infested with more microbes . . .”
Designing Slides for Presentations Traditional: Headline, bulleted list, and/or images Alternative: Succinct headline supported by images (Alley et al. 2005)
Writing Figure Legends • Choose a figure that you are familiar with • Write a figure legend for it based on the concepts we have just discussed
Fig. 3 Haplotype network showing the 19 haplotypes from North American samples superimposed on the same network as in Fig. 2. The same network as in Fig. 2 is depicted, with haplotypes sampled in the old world shown as ‘missing haplotypes’. Fig. 3 Revision:
Fig.·7. O2 consumption of G. dibranchiata erythrocytes under control conditions or exposed to the mitochondrial COX inhibitors sodium azide (1·mmol·l–1) and sodium cyanide (1·mmol·l–1). Values are means ± S.D. (N=5 for CN, N=3 for azide). O2 consumption is presented relative to the average at control conditions (i.e. consumption rate immediately prior to addition of inhibitor). Asterisks represent a significant decrease in consumption rate to the control value (no toxin) by one-tailed, paired t-test. Fig.·7. Revision
FIG. 5. Ranges of differentiation across Oceania in terrestrial and marine systems. As levels of interconnectedness decrease from right to left, they lead to differentiation on increasingly finer spatial scales. (A) Intra-island endemics complete speciation within an island. (B) Intraarchipelagic endemics differentiate among islands in an archipelago. (C) Archipelagic endemics differentiate among archipelagoes. (D) Basinal mosaics differentiate on the scale of multiple archipelagoes per lineage. (E) Marginal endemics are peripatric isolates that evolve at the periphery of more widepspread species. (F) Extreme peripheral endemics are like marginal endemics, but differentiate only on the most remote archipelagoes, such as Hawaii. (G) Panmictics are those that range across IWP. (H) Cosmopolitan species are those that occur outside the IWP. Note the absence of examples of marine intra-archipelagic and intra-island differentiation. Fig.·7. Revision
Figure 2. Frequency distribution of paternity of clutches for satellite and attached male horseshoe crabs (percentage of clutch fathered by male) when the mating group around the nesting pair contained two to four satellites. Figure 2. Revision