Science Research Writing: Book Review

Who is this book for?

This book is designed to help non-native speakers of English write science research papers for publication in English. However, it can also be used as a guide for native English speakers who would like support with their science writing, and by science students who need to write a Master’s dissertation or PhD thesis. It is a practical, rather than a theoretical book, and is intended as a fast do-it-yourself manual for researchers and scientists.

The book is aimed at those whose English language ability is at intermediate level or above. If you have taken an IELTS test, this is equivalent to a score of above 6.0; if you have taken a TOEFL test then this is approximately equivalent to a score above 550 (paper-based test) or 91 (iBT). However, if you have managed to read this far without using a dictionary, you will be able to use this book, even if you don’t understand every word.

 Why do I need it?

The goal of scientific research is publication, but good scientists are not always good writers and even native speakers of English sometimes have difficulty when they write up their research. The aim of this book is to give you the information, vocabulary and skills you need quickly and easily so that you can write confidently using the style and structure you see in the journals you read.

 How does the book work?

The strategy in this book can be summed up as follows:

  • carefully examine good examples of the kind of writing you would like to produce.
  • Identify and master the structure, grammar and vocabulary you see in these examples and then apply them in your own writing.

The book is divided into five units, each dealing with one section of a research article. Unit 1 deals with the Introduction, Unit 2 the Methodology, Unit 3 the Results, Unit 4 the Discussion or Conclusion and Unit 5 Abstract and Title. Since the aim of this book is to enable you to write in a conventional way, each unit is designed to help you discover what the conventional model of that section of a research article looks like. In each unit you will also be given support on the grammar and writing skills needed to write that section of the research article and you will be guided towards the appropriate vocabulary.

Each unit is similar. The unit on Introductions, for example, begins by looking at a sample research article Introduction similar to those in science journals, then there is a Grammar and Writing Skills section designed to respond to frequently asked questions. Because you are probably working hard on your research and don’t have time to do much grammar work, there are very few grammar exercises in the Grammar and Writing Skills sections. In any case, getting the answer right in a grammar exercise doesn’t automatically mean you will produce the correct grammar when you write about complex topics. Answering correctly can give you a false sense of confidence and security.

After the Grammar and Writing Skills section you will create a model or template for writing Introductions using the sample Introduction, and this is followed by a detailed Key providing model descriptors, discussion and answers to questions. The unit includes extracts from real Introductions so that you can test the model and see how it works in the ‘real world’. These extracts are then used to find the vocabulary which will help you operate the model successfully. This is followed by a complete list of useful vocabulary together with examples of how the words and phrases are used.

At this stage, you will have a robust model of an Introduction, a grammar guide to deal with possible problems and a list of useful vocabulary to make the model work. Towards the end of the unit, you will be ready to test what you have learned by writing an Introduction. If you have done the tasks, you should be able to put the model, the grammar/writing skills and the vocabulary together, and a perfect Introduction will write itself almost automatically! So at the end of the unit on Introductions, you will try out what you have learned: you will write an Introduction using the model and the vocabulary list and then compare it with a sample answer in the Key.

This pattern is repeated in the rest of the units. Ideally, you should work through the book and do each task. If you read the book without completing the tasks you will have an intellectual understanding of what to do but you may find it harder to put it into practice.

Download the book from this link 

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