Writing in Biology A Brief Guide

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-01-26
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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At once sophisticated and practical, Writing in Biology: A Brief Guide advises students on composing research articles, literature reviews, oral presentations, and other key biology genres. The book gives careful attention to both the governing priciples of audience, purpose, and argument, and the ground rules for style, visual design, and sourcing. Writing in Biology: A Brief Guide is a part of a series of brief, discipline-specific writing guides from Oxford University Press designed for today's writing-intensive college courses. The series is edited by Thomas Deans (University of Connecticut) and Mya Poe (Northeastern University).

Author Biography

Leslie Ann Roldan is a lecturer in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mary-Lou Pardue is the Boris Magasanik Professor in Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Why and How Biologists Write
Writing is integral to the professional lives of biologists
Biology has many subfields that share a core writing style
Biologists write for multiple purposes and audiences
The structure of a research article informs the structure of other forms of biological communication
How to use this book

Chapter 2. Strategies for the scientific research article
How to use this chapter
Figures and Tables: Start with your data
Results: Connect Illustrations with text
Methods: Document your process
Introduction: Start broadly and then narrow
Discussion: Interpret your data
Title: Get noticed
Abstract: Advertise your work
Supplementary information

Chapter 3. Strategies for the laboratory report
How to use this chapter
Preparing your report
Figures and Tables: Start with your data
Results: Connect illustrations and text
Methods: Document your process
Introduction: Start broadly and then narrow to your aim
Discussion: Interpret your data

Chapter 4. Strategies for literature reviews
Focus your topic
Locate sources by using the right search engines
Search for articles strategically
Keep track of the literature
Know the difference between summarizing vs. critiquing the literature
Limit the scope and define your focus as a working title
Structure your literature review
Adapt or design illustrations
Finalize your text
Literature review checklist

Chapter 5. Strategies for oral presentations and scientific posters
Oral Presentations
Scientific Posters

Chapter 6. Style
Use strong, precise topic sentences
Within a paragraph, employ a consistent subject across most sentences
Begin with information that is familiar to your readers; then introduce new and complex information
Choose your verbs carefully: active vs. passive voice
Be concise
Check and clarify your antecedents
Avoid compound nouns
Use technical terms, but avoid jargon
Edit for correctness

Chapter 7. Sources
Keep track of your sources
Paraphrase and compress your sources
Paraphrasing properly
Cite sources of illustrations and images
Cite every source with an in-text reference
Prepare your Literature Cited
Source Checklist

Appendix. Reviewing like a biologist
Receiving a review
Writing a review
Sample Peer Review
Checklist for writing a review

Rewards Program

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