George D. Gopen and Judith A. Swan [The Science of Scientific Writing] (1).pdf – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. *Examples and explanations from Gopen, George D. and Judith A. Swan. “The Science of Scientific. Writing,” American Scientist 78, no.6 (November-December . Among other things, I was told to read The Science of Scientific Writing, by George Gopen and Judith Swan. Being told that you suck is great;.

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True, there is nothing grammatically wrong, and most readers will understand what is meant.

Being told that you suck is great; you get to learn so much from it! There is nothing wrong with passive sentences, sqan are common in scientific writing; however, use of the active voice, at least occasionally, will bring your writing to life. The sentence I listed earlier also minimizes the number of words between subject and verb:. My problem was that I was presenting information I wanted the viewer to know— rather than what they needed to know. Focus on Your Audience Share this: First, grammatical subjects should be followed as soon as possible by their verbs; second, every unit of discourse, no matter the size, should serve a an function or make a single point; and, third, information intended to be emphasized should appear at goopen of syntactic closure.

The Science of Scientific Writing

Subject-verb separation is just one way a writer can confuse the reader. What was my main finding and its significance?

I also learned that I needed to use a structure that would ensure they would pay attention and remember my information.

This third principle was a true eye-opener to me. That by itself would be little more than a truism. Are they science literate but know nothing about your particular topic?


A Summary of “The Science of Scientific Writing”

Only later did I realize that this was not enough. In the next post, I will talk about Part 2: It occurred to me that this principle could be applied to writing papers and proposals or giving conference talks. The problem is that the construction makes the reader work harder to parse out the context and the new information.

The revised sentence is much easier to understand and is more memorable. The point is that you can make it easy for the viewer or reader to grasp the substance of your information or you can make it difficult by using tortuous language.

A Summary of “The Science of Scientific Writing” — Lawrence A. Crowl

To make matters worse, I had no idea why that happens. If you use cryptic, equivocal, or imprecise language, you risk the audience misinterpreting your message. Unlike much that is written about writing, however, this article actually gives gopeb ways to improve your own sentences.

I learned to always distill my message before leaping into writing a paper or preparing a conference talk or seminar. We suffer from the curse of knowledge, which cannot easily be set aside.

I have read my good share of writing advice, and although I have gotten better at throwing away needless words, the structure of the sentences I write always feels clunky.

What was new or innovative? In the process of answering such questions, we discover a new way of looking at our science. Distill Your Message 2. Incidentally, there must be a link between what Gopen and Swan say about writing and our sean about goopen people understand visualizations; Ad have to learn more about this! Scientists are rarely trained to write and speak clearly and effectively; we are expected to develop these skills on our own. For more insight into how structure affects comprehension of scientific writing, see Gopen and Swan Nor is it the length of the sentence.


The process of crafting that sentence made me think harder about my go;en and what I wanted to get dwan in the paper. Gopen and Swan argue that good writing is about successfully managing the expectations of readers. Here is an excerpt: Use Storytelling Techniques In this post, I will tackle the first lesson: Why is your research important to society?

Simple means easy to understand swam uncomplicated. Sean have recently received a large amount of excellent writing advice, and I want to share some of it with you. This sentence would be suitable for both a professional audience and a lay audience. That sentence accurately describes the research finding and interpretation, but is long, contains unnecessary detail, and is not easy to grasp. Did you give up about half-way through? An improved version might read: This wording lacks the details about Species A and B, but these are not really needed.

Your audience must expend mental energy taking in the content, but they also have to strive to understand your word choice, syntax, and emphasis.

Have they heard of sea-level rise? If we reverse this order, the new information appears before we know the context: Readers expect to be provided with old information context at the beginning of a sentence, which prepares them for the new information to be given at the end.

The Science of Scientific Writing

Here is an excerpt:. I also began paying more attention to the language I used in writing and speaking. In the other sentence, the action of the subject is expressed in the verb: Are there some interesting applications based on your work?