Synopses & Reviews
Whether you are a graduate student or a senior scientist, your reputation rests on the ability to communicate your ideas and data. In this straightforward and accessible guide, Scott L. Montgomery offers detailed, practical advice on crafting every sort of scientific communication, from research papers and conference talks to review articles, interviews with the media, e-mail messages, and more. Montgomery avoids the common pitfalls of other guides by focusing not on rules and warnings but instead on how skilled writers and speakers actually learn their trade-by imitating and adapting good models of expression. Moving step-by-step through samples from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, he shows precisely how to choose and employ such models, where and how to revise different texts, how to use visuals to enhance your presentation of ideas, why writing is really a form of experimentation, and more.
He also traces the evolution of scientific expression over time, providing a context crucial for understanding the nature of technical communication today. Other chapters take up the topics of writing creatively in science; how to design and use graphics; and how to talk to the public about science. Written with humor and eloquence, this book provides a unique and realistic guide for anyone in the sciences wishing to improve his or her communication skills.
Practical and concise, The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science covers:
*Writing scientific papers, abstracts, grant proposals, technical reports, and articles for the general public
*Using graphics effectively
*Surviving and profiting from the review process
*Preparing oral presentations
*Dealing with the press and the public
*Publishing and the Internet
*Writing in English as a foreign language
"Montgomery wants scientists to cast off the straightjacket of convention when they write for other scientists, or at least to ask a friend to loosen the ties. He covers a huge amount of ground, from papers and review articles to book reviews, technical reports, presentations and online publishing. He has some excellent practical advice for nervous publishing virgins with writer's block as well as encouragement for more experienced writers flirting coyly with metaphor and the occasional rhetorical flourish." New Scientist
Includes bibliographical references (p. -220) and index.
Scientific writing is often dry, wordy, and difficult to understand. But, as Anne E. Greene shows in Writing Science in Plain English
,writers from all scientific disciplines can learn to produce clear, concise prose by mastering just a few simple principles.
This short, focused guide presents a dozen such principles based on what readers need in order to understand complex information, including concrete subjects, strong verbs, consistent terms, and organized paragraphs. The author, a biologist and an experienced teacher of scientific writing, illustrates each principle with real-life examples of both good and bad writing and shows how to revise bad writing to make it clearer and more concise. She ends each chapter with practice exercises so that readers can come away with new writing skills after just one sitting.
Writing Science in Plain English can help writers at all levels of their academic and professional careersundergraduate students working on research reports, established scientists writing articles and grant proposals, or agency employees working to follow the Plain Writing Act. This essential resource is the perfect companion for all who seek to write science effectively.
About the Author
Scott L. Montgomery is a consulting geologist, writer, and independent scholar. He has authored hundreds of papers, articles, monographs, and reports in the geological sciences, as well as several textbooks and translations. He is also the author of several books on the history of science and scientific language, including Science in Translation: Movements of Knowledge through Cultures and Time.
Table of Contents
1 Why Write Science in Plain English?
2 Before You Write
3 Tell a Story
Make Characters Subjects and Their Actions Verbs
Use Strong Verbs
Place Subjects and Verbs Close Together
4 Favor the Active Voice
Benefits of Active Voice
Proper Uses of Passive Voice
5 Choose Your Words with Care
Use Short Words Instead of Long Ones
Keep Terms the Same
Break Up Noun Strings
Rethink Technical Terms
6 Omit Needless Words
Metadiscourse and Transition Words
Affirmatives and Negatives
7 Old Information and New Information
Put Old Information at Beginnings of Sentences
Put New Information at Ends of Sentences
8 Make Lists Parallel
9 Vary the Length of Your Sentences
10 Design Your Paragraphs
11 Arrange Your Paragraphs
General to Specific
Least Important to Most Important
Problem to Solution
Compare and Contrast
Transition Words Revisited
Appendix 1 Basic Writing ConceptsAppendix 2 Exercise Key