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Scientific Writing and Communication: Papers, Proposals, and Presentations 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195390056
ISBN-10: 0195390059
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Angie Hofmann has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of California, Irvine. While working as a postdoctoral fellow, Angie Hofmann started editing papers. Since then, she has served as an editor on numerous publications. After her postdoctoral time, she started her career as a freelance editor and adjunct instructor. For the past eight years she has been an adjunct instructor at various universities and institutes worldwide, such as the Max-Planck-Institute (Germany), the Fritz-Haber Institute (Germany), Humboldt University (Germany), University of Carabobo (Venezuela), University of Massachusetts, and Yale University. She wrote the manual on "Scientific Writing" for biological and biomedical scientists as a teaching and reference guide.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195390059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195390056
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.4 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book was required reading for my biochemistry writing seminar, and it turned out to be an excellent investment.

The material covered is comprehensive, starting with basic principles of style and composition (effective words, sentences, paragraphs) and leading to guidelines for specific sections of a manuscript, poster, or grant. It is truly a standalone resource.

The explanations are straightforward and engaging - and, importantly, they are supplemented with MANY before-and-after examples. How to pare down sentences, how to rearrange a confusing introduction to make it compelling, how to design effective figures, etc. These before- and after-revision examples really help a writer learn to recognize, analyze, and revise flawed passages in their own writing. And if that wasn't effective enough: at chapters' end, problems are provided for you to exercise the chapter's concepts.

Beyond the essentials, the book includes strategies for drafting a manuscript (that save time and energy), and even checklists to help you evaluate your drafts. I personally loved the "Word Location" section, which neatly showed how word placement can subtly change sentence emphasis, which can make a BIG difference in guiding a reader's attention through complex material.

There are many insights in each chapter - tips you might receive from veteran post-docs, but here, compiled into one well-organized reference. Highly recommended for every lab!
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Format: Paperback
I have taught technical writing to graduate students in applied ecology for nearly 20 years. During that time I have evaluated many textbooks and adopted 4 of them. This book is flat-out the best. If I ever change textbooks, it will be for Hofmann's next edition. I especially appreciate how well the text explains "mechanical" topics like word choice, and how to construct clear and persuasive sentences, paragraphs, and papers. It provides excellent before-and-after examples. Although I'm a good writer (having authored about 70 scientific papers), this book taught me new things and helped me improve my writing. At $25, it is one of the best investments a scientist can make.
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By Justin on December 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have some good advice for new or non-native writers. There are some helpful check-lists at the end of each chapter. Most examples used are biomedical papers. There's no secret for writing, all the how-to-write books are similar. If you already have a similar book, or have taken a writing class, you probably don't need this one.
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Format: Paperback
This book describes everything scientists need to know about scientific writing and editing. Given its breath and depth, it is a useful addition to the library of both new graduate students working on their first poster or seasoned professors looking to improve their chances of receiving their next RO1 grants.

The scientific background of the author is evident through this book; it is really well structured and provides many well-chosen examples only a former scientist could provide. Exercises throughout the book give a welcome opportunity for the reader to put theory into practice.

Overall, a bargain and good read for scientists eager to improve their prose. As mention in 2 former reviews, a bias toward life sciences exists in the book. However, "Scientific Writing and Communication: Papers, Proposals, and Presentations" would be useful to a broad range of scientists, from physicists to engineers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently purchased this book while in the process of drafting a large research paper as part of my PhD Thesis. I found the book incredibly insightful and built in a way that permits useful practice of the techniques -- e.g. having assignments with answers is the way to teach scientific writing. I found found other texts, for instance "Style" by Williams, insightful, but not useful since there was no "feedback" to actually applying the concepts. Here, Hofmann becomes your instructor and you are given process based critiques on how to improve your writing.

As mentioned by other reviewers, there is an emphasis on biological sciences and some "hard coded" references to the typical principles to authorship, publication process, resource links, etc ... that are academic genre specific. These are, however, the types of things that a research adviser or other research mentor could easily correct. The book could be improved by removal of these topic specific references, but these do not distract from the overall impact of the book itself.

This is a great investment for writers of any age, but especially for pre-professional science students who are attempting to navigate between the writing they are taught in their required writing courses, the societal perception of science writing as thick or complex and their own abilities to understand and convey scientific information.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a detailed, comprehensive guide to academic and research writing and presentation techniques. The examples all seem to be from biology or bioengineering, which is something of a drawback for those in other fields. The price is very reasonable.
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I have several books on scientific writing, and writing in general, and this one by far is the most comprehensive. Must have, especially for a non-native English speaker like myself, working in life sciences in particular.
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