Welcome to Writing Science

Do an Amazon search for "writing research papers" and you'll pull up a bit over 4,000 hits. Why add another book like this anywhere? For the last 20 years, I've been training people to write in their specific disciplines. Most of these folks have been in some kind of science, from anthropology to zoology. For the last 10 years, I've been teaching undergraduates to write in the social sciences and in the health/medical sciences. What I've found is that most of those 4,000 books aren't meant for the true beginner — for the student who has NEVER had to write a discipline-specific paper and has NEVER had to read the primary research literature in their field.

Writing Science: a DIY manual for writing in the social and behavioral sciences is a project I began a few years ago. In those years, I've also come to understand a lot more about the Open Education Resources movement, Open Access journals, Open Notebook Science, and Creative Commons Licensing. Now, I've decided to go the open route and pursue formal publication later (if ever!). Besides, who better to provide feedback than my students and other users of the material?!

The AudienceWriting Science is intended for the new writer of science. You are probably an upper level high school student, a brand-new college student, or someone who has been asked to compose in "correct" scientific style. This particular version targets the social and behavioral sciences, though I think it could be useful for the life/health sciences as well (insofar as many college papers in the health sciences require APA style; in addition, the beginning writing assignments are often similar, e.g. "Write a paper about X topic in correct APA/scientific style". This is a "review paper" and is the first kind of writing covered in the text).

FeaturesWriting Science is truly intended for the novice — the book includes step-by-step instructions, explanations of the larger context so that instructions make sense, and a consistent, highly accessible topic for examples used throughout the text (the use of computer technology by very young children).

The ToneWriting Science is casual in tone. If you are a graduate student or more advanced writer, you may find this off-putting. There are lots of books like this intended for more advanced audiences — you may want to find one of those.

The State of the Art (er, I mean, "The Text") — Writing Science still needs some work, especially in Chapter Three. Also I need to write new sections about "access" and "searching" for the first chapter and need to re-arrange the final chapter on style. Feel free to make suggestions and comments! I am especially interested in user feedback, so if you've got something to say, please do — you can be as critical as need be, but keep comments civil. And in the spirit of feedback, provide suggestions for solving problems you encounter with the text. Or at least tell me what you think you'd have preferred to read.

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