Most science papers share a core structure, and include certain components that are necessary to communicate a scientific story. This week, we’re going to look at those components, and break down how to effectively craft each part into a cohesive whole. Good writing habits will be a focus of this topic.
- Establishing good writing habits
- The core sections of nearly every science paper
- Acknowledgments and References
- Figures and Tables
- Peer review of proposals
- Power 1/4 Hour
- Activating a writing team
- Identifying verb tense and active vs. passive voice
Required: Pauly, Daniel and Dirk Zeller (2016). “Catch reconstructions reveal that global marine fisheries catches are higher than reported and declining”. In: Nature Communications 10244. DOI:10.1038/ncomms10244. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms10244.
Recommended: Chapters 4-5, and 8-15 of Heard, Stephen B. (2016). The Scientist’s Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively throughout Your Scientific Career. Princeton University Press. 255 pp.
Details - Week 3
Students break into teams of three. These will be ‘writing teams,’ and their job will be to encourage and support each other in moving forward throughout the semester - both inside and outside the course.
Each week, time will be allocated for students to assemble with their writing group, and take a few minute to discuss:
- What were your goals for last week?
- Did you accomplish them? What worked and what didn’t work?
- What did you write last week?
- What are my goals for this coming week?
Students will write down these points every week, in a paper or electronic journal. At the end of semester, they will receive a completion mark. 100% = did this every week.
Time = 15 min first week, 6-10 min each week thereafter, depending on group size
Identifying verb tense and active vs. passive voice
I carved out the methods section from today’s paper and put it on Google Docs.
Highlight verb tenses:
- Past tense: Green
- Present tense: Blue
- Future tense: Orange
Underline active voice. italicize passive voice.
Discuss with a partner. How much of each tense was used? To what extent were the authors consistent in active vs. passive voice?
Time = 15 minutes + 5 minutes for discussion
Slides available via speakerdeck