Today, I have a guest post from Justin Maynard that covers scientific writing. Justin is a university professor and freelance paper writing specialist at Writemyessay4me.
Scientific writing is not like other forms of expression. To master it, you will need to write less like a poet and more like someone who is taking a step back from the subject being discussed. With a bit of practice, you can get the message across clearly, without appearing overly dry and uninteresting. Here are 10 must knows about scientific writing to help you get started.
- Start by Brainstorming. The first step in scientific writing doesn’t sound like it’s very scientific at all. You should take the time to write down the key ideas or concepts you want to address in the paper. Don’t edit anything during this stage. You will have plenty of time to do that later. Just get anything and everything that comes to mind down on paper. Automatic writing is another way to generate ideas for the paper. With this method, you would sit down and write anything and everything that comes to mind about your topic in five or seven minutes. Don’t stop until your deadline is up. Even writing the words “I don’t know what to write” is helpful at this stage.
- Write in the Third Person. The scientific paper is not meant to be a personal account of an experience. It is a fact-based exercise and the best option is to keep it firmly in the third person. You may want to use the third person plural (we) for good measure.
- Include Multiple References in Your Work. Vague statements alluding to the fact that a lot of work has been done in a particular field don’t have a place in a scientific paper. You will need to back up each statement you make with at least one specific example. If there is more than one example for a statement, include it in your work.
- Use Figures Instead of Writing out Large Numbers. If you are listing numbers in the paper, use figures. They are easier for the reader to follow in most cases, and especially in the case of large numbers.
- Keep Your Sentence Structure Tight. Make each sentence count when you are working on a scientific paper. If it doesn’t move the report forward by adding something to the work, then ask yourself why it needs to be included at all. Edit your work so that each one is there for a reason.
- Cut Down on Run-on Sentences. Examine your work closely before submitting it. If you get lost trying to find the main idea in a sentence, the reader will have the same problem. Cut those long-running sentences down to bite-sized chunks to make them easier to digest.
- Be Consistent With Your Labeling. Before you start writing your paper, decide on a style you will be using for labeling and stick to it. Changing the style midway through the paper is confusing to the reader and takes away from the facts you are trying to convey.
- Include a List of Abbreviations and Acronyms. Don’t assume the reader is familiar with the terms you are using in your text. They may be familiar with all of them, but the list is helpful to remind or educate people who are not as familiar with these terms. You will want to make sure that your reader understands what you are trying to say and is not distracted by attempting to interpret what these terms mean.
- Acknowledge Everyone Who Contributed to the Paper. Anyone who made an important contribution to the paper should be listed as an author. Full contact addresses should also be included. Names may be listed alphabetically. If you decide not to use this method, the assumption is that the first person listed was the main author of the paper. The other people on the list would appear based on their relative contributions to the work.
- Keep an Electronic and Hard Copy of the Work. The last thing you will want to have happen after all of your hard work to get your scientific paper written is to have it get destroyed through a computer crash or be lost or damaged in a fire or flood. Be proactive about protecting it by storing it electronically and in a hard copy format. You can choose to save a version in Google docs for a quick and easy way to be able to access it any time. Your hard copy should be stored in a fire-resistant filing cabinet to keep it secure.
By following these 10 must-knows about scientific writing, you will improve the quality of your work. It will be clearer and easier for the reader to follow, and you may find preparing and writing it a more pleasant process.
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