Short Guide to Writing about Biology

ISBN-10: 0321385926

ISBN-13: 9780321385925

Edition: 6th 2007 (Revised)

Authors: Jan A. Pechenik

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Description:

Provides students with the tools needed to be successful writers in college and their profession, while emphasizing writing as a way of examining, evaluating, and sharing ideas. Students are taught how to read critically, study, evaluate and report data, and how to communicate information clearly and logically. nbsp; Teaches students to think as biologists and to express ideas clearly and concisely through their writing. nbsp; Courses preparing students for a profession in the field of biology.
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Book details

List price: $47.00
Edition: 6th
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Longman Publishing
Publication date: 5/19/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Preface
General Advice about Writing and Reading Biology
Introduction and General Rules
What Do Biologists Write about, and why?
The Keys to Success
Ten major rules for preparing a first draft
Six major rules for developing your final draft
Eight finer points: the easy stuff
The annoying but essential final pass
On Using Computers in Writing
On Using Computers for Data Storage, Analysis, and Presentation
Summary
Getting the Most from Your Word-Processing Program
Locating Useful Sources
Using Indexes
Using Science Citation Index
Using Current Contents
Using Medline and Other Databases
Prowling the Internet
Conducting Web Searches: Developing Productive Search Strategies
Final Thoughts about Efficient Searching: Technology Isn't Everything
Closing Thoughts
Summary
Using Search Engines Effectively
General Advice on Reading and Note-Taking
Why Read and What to Read
Effective Reading
Reading Data: Plumbing the Depths of Figures and Tables
Reading Text: Summarize as You Go
Plagiarism and Note-Taking
Plagiarism
Take notes in your own words
Split-page note-taking: A can't-fail system
Final thoughts on note-taking: Document your sources
Summary
Reading and Writing About Statistical Analyses
Statistical Essentials
Variability and its representation
When is a difference a meaningful difference? What you need to know about tomatoes, coins, and random events
Establishing a null hypothesis
Conducting the analysis, and interpreting the results
Degrees of freedom
Summary: Using Statistics to Test Hypotheses
Moving Beyond p-Values
Statistical power
Effect magnitudes
Reading about Statistics
Writing about Statistics
Citing Sources and Listing References
Citing Sources
Summary of Citation Format Rules
Preparing the Literature Cited Section
Listing the references-General rules
Listing the references-Using the correct format
A Sample Literature Cited Section
Bibliographic Management Software
Producing Hanging Indents
Revising
Preparing the Draft for Surgery: Plotting Idea Maps
Revising for Content
Revising for Clarity
Taming disobedient sentences-Sentences that don't say what the author means
The dangers of It
Problems with and
Headache by acronym
Revising for Completeness
Revising for Conciseness
First commandment: Eliminate unnecessary prepositions
Second commandment: Avoid weak verbs
Third commandment: Do not overuse the passive voice
Fourth commandment: Make the organism the agent of the action
Fifth commandment: Incorporate definitions into your sentences
Revising for Flow
A short exercise in establishing coherence
Improving flow using punctuation
Revising for Teleology and Anthropomorphism
Revising for Spelling Errors
Revising for Grammar and Proper Word Usage
A grammatical aside: Rules-that-are-not-rules
A strategy for revising: Pass by pass by pass
Becoming a Good Reviewer
Receiving criticism
Fine-tuning
Sentences in need of revision
Checklist
Tracking Changes Made to Documents
Guidelines for Specific Tasks
Writing Summaries and Critiques
Writing the First Draft
Writing the Summary
Sample Student Summary
Analysis of student summary
Writing the Critique
The critique
Analysis of student critique
Concluding Thoughts
Writing Essays and Review Papers
Why Bother?
Getting Started
Researching Your Topic
Developing a Thesis Statement
Writing the Paper
Getting underway: Taking and organizing your notes
The crucial first paragraph
Supporting your argument
The closing paragraph
Citing Sources
Creating a Title
Revising
Checklist
Writing Laboratory and Other Research Reports
Why Are You Doing This?
The Purpose of Laboratory and Field Notebooks
Taking notes
Making drawings
Components of the Research Report
Where to Start
When to Start
Writing the Materials and Methods Section
Determining the correct level of detail
Giving rationales
Describing data analysis
Use of subheadings
A model materials and methods section
Writing the Results Section
Summarizing data using tables and graphs
Constructing a summary table
To graph or not to graph
Preparing graphs
(Not) falsifying data
The question: To connect or not to connect the dots?
Making bar graphs and histograms
Learning to love logarithms
Preparing tables
Making your graphs and tables self-sufficient
Putting your graphs and tables in order
Incorporating figures and tables into your report (or not)
Verbalizing results: General principles
Verbalizing results: Turning principles into action
What is a "figure"?
Writing about negative results
Writing about numbers
In anticipation-Preparing in advance for data collection
Citing Sources
Writing the Discussion Section
Expectations
Explaining unexpected results
Analysis of specific examples
Writing the Introduction Section
Stating the question
An aside: Studies versus experiments
Providing the background
A sample introduction
Talking about Your Study Organism or Field Site
Deciding on a Title
Writing an Abstract
Preparing an Acknowledgments Section
Preparing the Literature Cited Section
Preparing a Paper for Formal Publication
Checklist for the Final Draft
Using Computer Spreadsheets for Data Collection
Graphing with Excel
Writing Research Proposals
What Are Reviewers Looking For?
Researching Your Topic
What Makes a Good Research Question?
Writing the Proposal
Introduction
Background
Proposed research
Citing references and preparing the literature cited section
Tightening the Logic
The Life of a Real Research Proposal
Checklist
Answering Essay Questions
Basic Principles
Applying the Principles
Writing a Poster Presentation
Layout of the Poster
Making the Poster
Checklist for Making Posters
Writing for a General Audience: Science Journalism
Science Journalism Based on Published Research
The simple statement and bullet leads
The narrative lead
The surprise or paradox lead
Science journalism in action: An example
Journalism Based on an Interview
Preparing Oral Presentations
Talking about Published Research Papers
Preparing the talk
Giving the talk
Talking about Original Research
Talking about Proposed Research
The Listener's Responsibility
Preparing Effective Slides and Overheads
The Pros and Cons of PowerPoint Presentations
Checklist for Being Judged
Writing Letters of Application
Before You Start
Preparing the Resume
Preparing the Cover Letter
Recruiting Effective Letters of Recommendation
The Disassembled Paragraph Reconstituted (From Chapter 6)
Revised Sample Sentences
Revised Sample Sentences in Final Form
Commonly Used Abbreviations
Suggested References for Further Reading
Sample Form for Peer Review
Some Useful Web Sites
Using the Paper Versions of Leading Indexing Services
Index
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