- Paperback: 282 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 3rd edition (September 2, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0387947663
- ISBN-13: 978-0387947662
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Craft of Scientific Writing, 3rd Edition 3rd Edition
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From review of the first edition
"This book offers effective methods for improving writing efficiency and overcoming difficulties during the preparation of technical information."
Robert L. Schmitt, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Wisconsin
"A refreshing addition to a genre dominated by English teacher-style textbooks. Instead of listing rules that constrain writers, the book uses examples to lay out the path to successful communication … Especially helpful (and entertaining) is the chapter on the writing process. Anyone who has spent more time avoiding a writing task than actually doing it will appreciate Alley's tips."
–Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Deputy Director of Flight Crew Operations, Johnson Space Center
From the Back Cover
The Craft of Scientific Writing is designed to help scientists and engineers - both professionals already active in the disciplines as well as students preparing to enter the professions - write about their work clearly and effectively. The author, who is both a writer and an applied physicist, approaches the subject in a fresh way. Using scores of examples from a wide variety of authors and disciplines (including such well-known figures as Einstein, Bohr, and Freud), the book demonstrates the difference between strong scientific writing and weak scientific writing. In essence, this book shows you how to bring your ideas across to your intended audience. In addition, it contains advice on how to start writing and how to revise your drafts. Written for use as a text in courses on scientific writing, the book includes many useful suggestions about approaching a wide variety of writing tasks - from laboratory reports to grant proposals, from internal communications to press releases - as well as a concise guide to style and usage appropriate for scientific writing. The book will also be useful for self-study and it will be an important reference for all scientists and engineers who need to write about their work. Topics covered include deciding where to begin - structure: organizing your documents; providing depth, transitions, and emphasis - language: being precise, clear, and concise; being forthright, familiar, and fluid - illustration: making the right choices; creating the best designs - handling special situations - and actually sitting down to write: drafting, revising, finishing.
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I definitely held on to this after the class was finished and I've gone back to it while working on my thesis.
As a reader of scientific literature, I always though there was something wrong with me because I could not read the articles. I would get stuck on a passage and, no matter how hard I tried, I would not be able to get past it. Now I know that this is because the writing is poorly crafted.
The Craft of Scientific Writing gives an appreciation of the flaws that we all make in our writing. There are plentiful examples of poor writing, which are contrasted with good writing styles. Also, the explanations are clear and easy to understand.
Despite appearances, there is no rule, man-made or natural, that says that scientific writing cannot be clear, crisp and fluid. If you write any kind of scientific literature do yourself a favour and read this book. It will help you to become a better writer.