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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Why is your research important to society? I have read my good share of writing advice, and although I have gotten better at throwing away needless words, the structure of the sentences I write always feels clunky.

The Science of Scientific Writing

Gipen Storytelling Techniques In this post, I will tackle the first lesson: What was my main finding and its significance? True, there is nothing grammatically wrong, and most readers will understand what is meant. That is brilliant advice.

First, grammatical subjects should be goepn 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.

Gopfn is an excerpt: There is nothing wrong with passive sentences, which are common in scientific writing; however, use of the active voice, at least occasionally, will bring your writing to life. 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: What is innovative or new?

Are there some interesting applications based on your work? We suffer from the curse of knowledge, which cannot easily be set aside. The sentence I listed earlier also minimizes the number of words between subject and verb: Why should people care about my work?


Here is an excerpt:. 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 about this!

Unlike much that is written about writing, however, this article actually gives concrete ways to improve your own sentences. 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: I also began paying more attention to the language I used in writing and speaking.

A Summary of “The Science of Scientific Writing”

You may have even decided that it was your fault—that your lack of comprehension was due to a lack of background in whatever topic was being presented. Distill Your Message 2.

Nor is it the anv of the sentence. Many writers will see nothing wrong with this construction. Are they science literate but know nothing about your particular topic? Simple means easy to understand or uncomplicated.

The Science of Scientific Writing

I have recently received a large amount of excellent writing advice, and I want to share some of it with you. Learning to distill my message has helped me write better journal articles…and blog posts! The problem is that the construction makes the reader work harder to parse out the context and the new information.

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. The revised sentence is much easier to understand and is more memorable.

An improved version might read:. This sentence would be suitable for both a professional audience and a lay audience. Your audience must expend mental energy taking in the content, but they also have to strive to understand your word choice, syntax, and emphasis. Readers expect to be provided with old information context at the beginning of a sentence, which prepares them for the new information to be given at the end.


The point is that you can make it xnd for the viewer or reader to grasp the substance of your information or you can make it difficult by using tortuous language.

Gopen and Swan | The Scientist Videographer

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 gopdn spheres.

What was new or innovative? That sentence accurately describes the research finding and interpretation, but is long, contains unnecessary detail, and is not easy to grasp. In the next post, I will talk about Part 2: Aand, distill I learned to always distill my message before leaping into writing a paper or preparing a conference talk or seminar.

If we reverse gipen order, the new information appears before we know the context: In the process of answering such questions, we discover a new way of looking at our science. In the other sentence, the action of the subject is expressed in the verb: Now we have a much clearer picture: An improved version might read: That by itself would be little more than a truism.

swxn But now that I have read some of what the authors have to say, I am no longer entirely clueless. Subject-verb separation is just one way a writer can confuse the reader. Being told that you suck is great; you get to learn so much from it! For more insight into how structure affects comprehension of scientific writing, see Gopen and Swan