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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What you want to present is not necessarily what your audience needs.

The revised sentence is much easier to understand and is more memorable. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The problem is that the construction makes the reader work harder to parse out the context and the new information. 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 single function or make a single point; and, third, information intended to be emphasized should appear at points of syntactic closure.

I urge you to go and read the whole thing. Actually, the fault lies entirely with the author or presenter. That is brilliant advice. The sentence I listed earlier also minimizes the number of words between subject and verb:. We test the accuracy of the DDA by using the DDA to compute scattering and absorption by isolated, homogeneous spheres as well as by targets consisting of two contiguous spheres.

Are they science literate but know nothing about your particular topic? In the first post of this series, I described the first lesson I learned, which has had a huge effect on my overall communication skills: An improved version might read:.

I have read my good share of qnd advice, and although I have gotten better at throwing away needless words, the structure of the sentences I write always feels clunky. Incidentally, there must be a link between what Gopen and Swan say about writing and our theories about how people understand visualizations; I have to learn more annd this!


Focus on Your Audience Share this: Here is an excerpt: One remedy gopfn to ask yourself simple questions about a prospective audience. Do they know what DNA is? 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. What was new or innovative?

What was my main finding and its significance? What is innovative or new? In the process of answering such questions, we discover a new way of looking at our science.

The Science of Scientific Writing

But now that I have read some of what the authors have to say, I am no longer entirely clueless. Your audience must expend mental energy taking in the content, but they also have to strive to understand your word choice, syntax, and emphasis.

That sentence accurately describes the research finding and interpretation, but is long, contains unnecessary detail, and is not easy to grasp.

That by itself would be little more than a truism. Here is an excerpt:.

Why is your research important to society? I have recently received a large amount of excellent writing advice, and I want to share some of it with you. Even if you are communicating with a specialist audience in your field, you need to consider their needs and make it as easy as possible for them to understand what you did, what you found, and why goen is important.

Distill, distill I learned to always distill my message before leaping into writing a paper or preparing a conference talk or seminar. Being told that you suck is great; you get to learn so much from it! In other words, the important clause in your sentence should be placed where the syntax of this clause is entirely determined by what came before it.

In the next post, I will talk about Part 2: Did you give up about half-way through? Are there some interesting applications bopen on your work? Nor is it the length of the sentence.


Unlike much that is written about writing, however, this article actually gives concrete ways to improve your own sentences. My problem was that I swam presenting information I wanted the viewer to know— rather than what they needed to know. I also learned that I needed to use a structure that would ensure they would pay attention and remember my information. Gopen and Swan argue that good writing is about successfully managing the expectations of readers.

Only later did I realize that this was not enough.

Distill Your Message 2. Readers expect to be provided with old information context at the beginning of a sentence, which prepares them for the swah information to be given at the end. It occurred to me that this principle could be applied to writing papers and proposals or giving conference talks. When you are done, you will probably want to know that Gopen has written an entire book on this topic, called The Sense of Structure: Poor communicators tend to ignore the needs of their audience.

True, there is nothing grammatically wrong, swab most readers will understand what is meant. I also began paying more attention to the language I used in writing and speaking. Many swann will see nothing wrong with this construction. Scientists are rarely trained to write and speak clearly and effectively; we are expected to develop these skills on our own. An improved version might read: Simplify, simplify I also began paying more attention to the language I used in writing and speaking.

Learning to distill my message has helped me swam better journal articles…and blog posts! Now we have a much clearer picture: