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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Predicting Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Systems and Developing Potentials for Adaptation

Location: Plant Physiology and Genetics Research

Title: Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words

Author
item White, Jeffrey

Submitted to: Field Crops Research
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2011
Publication Date: January 18, 2012
Citation: White, J.W. 2012. Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words, D.Lindsey. CSIRO Publishing (2011). Field Crops Research. 125:117.

Interpretive Summary: Ensuring that research results are reported accurately and effectively is an eternal challenge for scientists. The book Science Writing = Thinking in Words by David Lindsay (2011, CSIRO Publishing) is a primer for researchers who seek to improve their impact through better written (and oral) presentations. The central focus is on writing of peer-review papers that describe original research, but the book also considers reviews, oral presentations, posters and writing for the general public. This short, highly readable introduction to science writing is especially relevant for early-career researchers, who perhaps are submitting their first paper to a peer-reviewed journal. A key theme throughout is that the impact of one’s research likely depends as much on the quality of the science writing as on the research per se. The author emphasizes the need for a well planned structure for a manuscript as well as the need for simplicity and clarity in expression. The book is written in an accessible style that makes it useful to a wide audience of potential readers ranging from early career researchers to established scientists who seek to improve their writing. This book review should allow interested people to decide whether to read the book or to seek alternate sources of information.

Technical Abstract: Ensuring that research results are reported accurately and effectively is an eternal challenge for scientists. The book Science Writing = Thinking in Words (David Lindsay, 2011. CSIRO Publishing) is a primer for researchers who seek to improve their impact through better written (and oral) presentations. The central focus is on writing of peer-review papers that describe original research, but the book also considers reviews, oral presentations, posters and writing for the general public. This short, highly readable introduction to science writing is especially relevant for early-career researchers, who perhaps are submitting their first paper to a peer-reviewed journal. A key theme throughout is that the impact of one’s research likely depends as much on the quality of the science writing as on the research per se. The author emphasizes the need for a well planned structure for a manuscript as well as the need for simplicity and clarity in expression. The book is written in an accessible style that makes it useful to a wide audience of potential readers ranging from early career researchers to established scientists who seek to improve their writing. It is not a manual of grammar or style, which contributes to its readability. This book review should allow interested people to decide whether to read the book or to seek alternate sources of information.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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