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Style Question How can I help readers follow my writing?

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Presentation on theme: "Style Question How can I help readers follow my writing?"— Presentation transcript:


2 Style Question How can I help readers follow my writing?

3 Style Answers Make it easy-to-follow - Present an easy-to-follow, cohesive story Show your line of thinking - Help the reader understand your thought process How???

4 Style Recommendations Think about paragraph structure Place emphasis deliberately Link ideas into logical sequence Be concise

5 Style recommendation #1: - Think about paragraph structure Each paragraph is a new thought and should have a main point Each paragraph should be only ONE new thought Sentences within a paragraph need to be connected by an obvious flow of ideas

6 Paragraph Structure Begin with a topic sentence that is short and clear. Next, add evidence, support, and illustrations of the topic sentence. End by restating the main point in new words and transitioning to the next paragraph. (Or begin the next paragraph with a transitional phrase). Then continue… Ref: Adapted from M. Zeiger

7 Good Paragraph Example The key characteristic of scientific writing is clarity. Ideally, clarity should be a characteristic of any type of communication; however, when something is being said for the first time, clarity is essential. Most scientific papers, those published in our primary research journals, are accepted for publication precisely because they do contribute new knowledge. Hence, we should demand absolute clarity in scientific writing.

8 Style recommendation #2: - Place emphasis deliberately To emphasize important information - Put it in the power positions - Repeat it - Flag it: “The most important finding was that...” To de-emphasize less important information - Condense it - Omit it! Ref: M. Zeiger

9 Emphasis: Power Positions The first and last sentences of a paragraph are the power positions. Middle sentences often are buried. Readers tend to be less conscious of what the middle is saying. They may be in a hurry and will consciously or unconsciously just read the first and last sentence of a paragraph. So, use those stress positions to your advantage! Ref: M. Zeiger

10 Emphasis: Repeat Key Words Repeat key words to make your message clear – so the reader will remember them “There is abundant evidence for the public health benefits of bednet use. These benefits include the following: blah, blah, and blah.” Readers don’t notice the repetition as much as you do Ref: M. Zeiger

11 Emphasis: Repeat key terms early in sentence Example: “Digitalis increases the contractility of the mammalian heart. Changes in the calcium flux through the muscle cell membrane cause this increased contractility.” Better: “Digitalis increases the contractility of the mammalian heart. This increased contractility results from changes in the calcium flux through the muscle cell membrane.” Ref: M. Zeiger

12 Give the reader a map! Don’t lose the reader!

13 Style recommendation #3: - Link ideas into logical sequence Each paragraph represents one thought/idea. It should be clear how each NEW thought follows from the PREVIOUS one. Show your line of thought between sentences AND between paragraphs

14 Transitions Are Essential! connect They connect information W. Li Ref: J. Dorman

15 Link Ideas: Use transitions! Not as clear: “1 is true, 2 is true, 3 is true. The conclusion is…” Preferred: “1 is true, suggesting this conclusion. Similarly, 2 is true, lending additional support to this hypothesis. Furthermore, 3 is true. Thus, it seems likely that… Ref: K. LaMarco & R. Ward

16 Link Ideas: Transition words = Conectores lógicos SpanishEnglish Por lo tanto, En conclusiónTherefore, / Thus, /In conclusion Primero, Segundo, Por últimoFirst, Second, Finally Por ejemploFor example Sin embargo, Por lo contrario, En su lugar, En vez de However, / In Contrast, / Instead Además, De igual manera, Más aún, Támbien In addition, / Similarly, / Furthermore, / Also, A pesar de, Sin embargo, No obstante Although / Despite / Nonetheless

17 Link Ideas: Transition phrases and clauses Stronger than a single-word transitions “During the DEAE elution step, we increased the salt concentration from 5 mM to 25 mM NaCl. As a result of the increased salt concentration, the recovery of transfer RNA improved two-fold.” “One theory proposes that individuals harboring this allele are more susceptible to viral infection. According to this theory,…” Ref: M. Zeiger

18 Link Ideas: Help Reader with Signposts Subheadings Transition words and phrases

19 Style recommendations #4 Be concise! Sentences should be: - Short - To-the-point The point should always be: - Blindingly obvious Ref: M. Alley

20 Be Concise Eliminate extra words: The evidence is suggestive that there is a possibility that LIF3 cells do not divide in culture.  These findings suggest that LIF3 cells may not divide in culture. Examination of the patients was carried out.  The patients were examined.

21 Other ways to be concise Use colons or semicolons: “Good writing has three qualities: brevity, clarity, and good structure.” Omit filler phrases - It is.. - There is..

22 Be simple. Be concrete. Be specific. Word or PhrasePreferred for papers Looked atExamined Prior toBefore Due to the fact thatBecause The vast majority ofMost UtilizeUse At this point in timeNow It has long been known thatLOOK UP THE REFERENCE!!! Ref: V. McMillan and M. Alley

23 Style Summary How can I help readers follow my writing? Use effective paragraph structure Place emphasis carefully Link ideas into a logical sequence with transitions Be brief

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