- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 29, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780199760244
- ISBN-13: 978-0199760244
- ASIN: 0199760241
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded 1st Edition
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"The book is well produced ... [and] could form a solid basis for a scientific writing course." --Ecology
About the Author
Joshua Schimel is Chair of the Environmental Studies Program and Professor Professor of Soil and Ecosystem Ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a leading environmental scientist, studying how soil processes regulate ecosystems and the earth's climate. He has authored over 100 papers and has served on panels for the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other agencies.
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Also, I was expecting this book to be helpful, but dry read, but was pleasantly surprised by how engaging it was. Who would have thought that a book on science writing would actually be entertaining and funny, while being reassuring at the same time? It really is an entertaining and easy read, though.
I have already had all of my graduate students read this book, and have been talking about it incessantly at meetings. My postdoc has been doing the same thing - without any prompting from me. It has had a profound influence on the way the folks in my lab think about science writing, and has altered my perspective on writing forever. Be warned, however, that after you read this book you will want to start relentlessly editing all of the scientific writing you read.
I recommend both Schimel's book and Lindsay's for anyone who has to write about scientific research. If you want to choose only one, Lindsay is quicker, but Schimel is better.
Schimel examines the craft of writing like a molecular biologist, addressing both the component units (sentence, paragraph, section), and like a novelist, discussing the overall arc and purpose of your writing. It is barely 200 pages long, but remarkably comprehensive.
It helps that the book draws heavily upon two books that I love: Joseph Williams' book on Style, and the Heath brothers' book Make It Stick. Two outstanding choices.
What makes the book so useful is that Schimel doesn't just tell you what to do: he shows you. The worked examples, and the commentary on what makes the example good science writing, is just superb.
It also helps that Schimel distinguishes between writing about research that you have already done, and writing about research that you hope to do. So this book is useful for grant writers and report writers.
What makes the book so valuable is that Schimel a good deal of time dealing with one of the main challenges for beginning researchers: identifying and articulating exactly what it is you hope to learn from the (proposed) research.
Chapter 20: Writing for the Public, where Schimel discusses the "message box", is worth the price of the book alone.
Quite simply, this book should be handed out to every student in the natural and social sciences, the day they start school.