Tips for writing scientific papers software
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Tips for writing your first scientific literature review article BY Emily Crawford Emily Crawford often retreated to her apartment rooftop in San Francisco to write her review. Photo courtesy of Matthew Perry. When I undertook the task of writing a scientific literature review article last year, I had hoped that a Google search would reveal a handful of how-to pages thoughtfully created ttips veterans of this particular writing process.
I found nothing of the sort, so I plowed ahead on my own, inventing techniques for myself. I was running a protein over a nickel column on a Sunday evening in February when my adviser approached me about co-authoring a review article for Annual Review of Biochemistry.
But this is the nature of science  — . Tips for Writing a Discussion Keep in wrihing J Hist Ideas The introduction must be organized from the global to the particular point of tips for writing scientific papers software, guiding the readers to your objectives when writing this paper. Acknowledgments Many thanks to M. A mini-review is not necessarily a minor review: Budgen D, Brereton P Performing systematic literature reviews in software engineering. Pay very close attention to the graphical requirements for figures.
That was fine with me — as a fifth-year graduate student, I had learned to cope with, and even prefer, extreme independence. To be honest, I was excited to have this opportunity to examine the literature in depth and to create something useful out of it. Getting started Our topic was caspase substrates, a diverse group of proteins essential for programmed cell death and thus important to tips for writing scientific papers software understanding of how to kill cancer cells. I would have to assess the limits imposed by the journal 30 pages, six months as well as my own limits and the necessity to balance the writing project with lab work that was essential to finishing my Ph.
Narrowing the scope of the article to conform to these boundaries was perhaps ppaers biggest challenge of this process. Knowing that I work better when I focus on one project at a time, I spent tips for writing scientific papers software next two months carrying out all of my regular lab work while only tips for writing scientific papers software the review article and skimming the literature when I had time.
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After that, I transitioned to full-time reading and writing. Afternoons I often spent writing at my apartment or at the library on campus.
I tried to reassure myself by remembering that I had been rather good at writing term tips for writing scientific papers software in college; but this was a larger task and one with the potential for having an impact on someone, somewhere, sometime who wanted to learn about caspase substrates. In the end, I finished by the deadline well, plus one two-week extension the editor agreed to grant me and was very happy with the product and with all I had learned about caspase substrates, about the scientific literature and about the review-writing process.
I hope the following tips will help other scientists who find themselves in this kind of uncharted territory. Distilling all sorts of data from experiments done by scientists all around the world into a coherent story turned out to be very satisfying. I look forward to doing it again someday, perhaps in writingg somewhat more efficient manner.
Define the scope of sofware article.
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Make an outline, keep lists of topics that are and are not within your scope, and remind yourself to stop any time your reading wanders outside your scope. My adviser and I settled on devoting the first half of our article to a broad survey of a few key research topics for example, the physical details of the caspase-substrate interaction and devoting the second half to a few highly detailed vignettes about some of the hundreds of known caspase substrates. Your labmates and collaborators are invaluable resources. Be careful not to let this lead you too far astray. Look for areas that have not yet been thoroughly reviewed or areas for which you think you have a fresh take on old data.
Find places to write where you can concentrate, and take breaks often to stretch, get a snack or even step outside for a few minutes. On days when I struggled with concentration, I often used a check this out to structure my day. I would work for 60 minutes, then take a sanity break, then work for another 60 minutes, and on and on. Impose some structure on the mess that is the scientific literature. I developed a strategy for each research topic that I wanted to review including the broad survey section in the first half and the vignette more info in the second half.
First, I found the most recent papers on the topic and went through them, picking out what looked like important references. I worked my way backward to a set of about 10 key papers. Then I quickly read and made a summary for each, usually in the form of a bulleted list of the conclusions drawn from each figure.
Next, I combined those summaries into a writing table. I did this by hand on paper; an Excel spreadsheet also would work. Each research article was one row arranged by publication dateand the columns were results or conclusions reached. I then easily could see which papers agreed on which topics, what trends emerged over time and where the controversies in the field lay.
Check out these other helpful resources for finding an alternative to any software and for a detailed comparison of word processors. Only abbreviations firmly established in the field are eligible e. Here are some additional tips for the introduction: The title is nonsense. You should provide a clear scientific justification for your work in this section, and indicate uses and extensions if appropriate. You must avoid technical jargon and abbreviations, if tips for writing scientific papers software. Probably it is the easiest section to write, but the hardest section to get right.
I found that once I had made a table, the narrative of that particular research tips for writing scientific papers software almost wrote itself. Spend some time writing with all your PDFs and Web browsers closed and your desk cleared of any paper. This was advice my adviser gave me about a month before the due date, when he could tell that my brain and my PDF library were so overflowing with data that I was sceintific with actually producing any text.
On the other hand, with the Internet and all my PDFs in front of me, I tended to generate sentences that were very dense with information but not necessarily closely related to each other — and not always pertinent to the specific scientific narratives I was attempting to compose. I started making real progress on the writing only when I spent a few August afternoons sitting on the roof deck of my apartment building with a pen and paper and no Internet-capable devices.
Continue reading, I sometimes wrote things that were wrong or at least imperfect when constructing a section from memory. However, I often ended up with a strong scaffolding onto which I could sofhware add some of those dense, fact-laden sentences. This was easy in my case, because my adviser and I both preferred that I be the main researcher and writer and that he act as a consultant on high-level issues.
However, I am sxientific aware of other cases that did not work out nearly as congenially.
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Pay very close attention to the graphical requirements for figures. Make sure to get permission to reproduce any figures in your review. This usually is done by following the permissions instructions on the website of the journal in which the original figure appeared.
Get familiar with software like Papers or any other PDF-management softwareEndNote and Adobe Illustrator or whatever graphics program the journal suggests.
- Avoid sudden introduction of new terms or ideas; you must present everything in the introduction, to be confronted with your results here.
- You can follow her on Twitter lesleyamccollum.
- A common error in this section is repeating the abstract, or just listing experimental results.
Your labmates and collaborators also can help you with the editing process. Rather than asking one or two people to help you edit the entire article, break it up into sections and article source a different colleague for his or her expert help in revising just one section on a topic with which you know he or she tips for writing scientific papers software familiar.
Another strategy is to give part or all of your article to a first-year graduate student or to a scientist in a wrihing different field. He or she is your target audience and will let you know if there are sections that need to be revised for clarity.