Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century
  • 9781554813049

Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century

  • 9781554813049

Writing Science in the Twenty-First Century offers guidance to help writers succeed in a broad range of writing tasks and purposes in science and other STEM fields. Concise and current, the book takes most of its examples and lessons from scientific fields, such as the life sciences, chemistry, physics, and geology, but some examples are taken from mathematics and engineering. The book emphasizes building confidence and rhetorical expertise in fields where diverse audiences, high ethical stakes, and multiple modes of presentation present unique writing challenges. Using a systematic approach—assessing purpose, audience, order of information, tone, evidence, and graphics—it gives readers a clear road map to becoming accurate, persuasive, and rhetorically savvy writers.

Introduction: Writing Science for New Readers, with New Technologies, in New Genres

Chapter One: Writing to Reach Readers

  1. To Write STEM Well, Learn to Read Rhetorically
  2. Six Categories of Rhetorical Analysis and Planning: A Systematic Method

Chapter Two: Building Experience and Confidence in Writing Science

  1. From Fear to Confidence
  2. Writing as a Necessary Tool for All in Science
  3. Overcoming Obstacles for Science Writers in College
  4. When Knowledge and Practice Seem Unconnected: What to Do?
  5. Overcoming Obstacle 2: Lack of Helpful Feedback
  6. Building Confidence as a Writer in English
  7. Resources for Students to build Writing Proficiency

Chapter Three: “Writing” Redefined Multi-modally

  1. Do We Call It Writing—or Something Else? Multimodal Design, Perhaps?
  2. Words
  3. Numbers and Mathematical Symbols
  4. Photographs
  5. Multi-color Charts, Tables, and Graphs
  6. Links to Other Sources
  7. Drawings and Diagrams
  8. Video
  9. STEM Communication and “Web 2.0” Access and Tools

Chapter Four: Writing Science Ethically

  1. Covering up incomplete or poorly-done research, or conflicts of interest
  2. Plagiarism
  3. What is “common knowledge”?
  4. Claims and over-claims: the dangers of hype
  5. Striving for accuracy in language
  6. Writing ethically in social media: Let’s look at Twitter

Chapter Five: Writing the Research Article, Part I—The Abstract, Introduction, and Methods and Materials

  1. Thinking Rhetorically about the Peer-Reviewed Research Article
  2. Giving Momentum to Your Research “Story”
  3. Writing the Abstract
  4. Writing the Introduction of the Full Article
  5. Writing the Methods and Materials Section of the Full Article

Chapter Six: Writing the Research Article, Part II—Results and Discussion

  1. Results and Discussion in the Interconnected, Multimedia World
  2. Distinguishing between the Results and Discussion Sections
  3. Writing Results
  4. Writing the Discussion

Chapter Seven: Writing the Research Review

  1. Goals of the Research Review and Comparison with the IMRD Article
  2. Features and Forms of the Research Review
  3. Rhetorical Considerations in Writing the Research Review

Chapter Eight: STEM Journalism—Writing, Reading, and Connecting with Broader Audiences

  1. Thinking of yourself as a “STEM journalist”
  2. Who are YOUR readers and why do they care?
  3. Writing your STEM popular article—Tips on voice (ethos) and organization

Chapter Nine: Science Blogs—New Readers, New Voices, New Tools

  1. STEM Blogs—What Are They and Are They Science?
  2. A World of Blogs—Finding the Blog(s) for You
  3. Studying the Major Types of Blogs
  4. Getting into Blogging for Yourself
  5. Establishing Your Ethos
  6. Building Your Design

Chapter Ten: Creating Posters and Infographics

  1. Posters and Infographics—Using the Two-Dimensional Space

Chapter Eleven: Creating Oral/Visual Presentations

  1. Presentations as Unmatched Opportunities
  2. “Presence” and “Being Present” in a Presentation
  3. Making Your Audience Your Ally
  4. The Visual in Oral/Visual: Striving for Balance
  5. Achieving Success through Preparation

Chapter Twelve: Writing Science with Style and Styles

  1. Keep Sentences Concise with Clear Transitions
  2. Guide Your Reader with “Signposts”
  3. Use Paragraphs to Emphasize—Not Hide—Your Ideas
  4. Choose Words to Communicate, Not to Exclude or Intimidate
  5. Use Numbers to Convince, Not Drown, Your Readers
  6. Revise and Edit to Write with Style

Chapter Thirteen: Editing Sentences

  1. Why We Must Edit
  2. Cut Unneeded Words
  3. To “We” or Not to “We”
  4. Action vs. Passivity—Tuning Your Voice
  5. Punctuate to Accentuate

Christopher Thaiss is Professor Emeritus of Writing Studies in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis.

  • — Emphasizes building writing confidence—for both beginning writers and more experienced students and scientists
  • — The book’s tone is encouraging and straightforward—never patronizing or oversimplified
  • Systematic rhetorical approach allows readers to break down their analysis of texts and of their own writing
  • — Filled with many real examples of popular and academic science writing
  • Exercises throughout give readers hands-on practice in rhetorical analysis, revision, peer review, and editing