Style Basics PROFESSIONAL TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC STYLE BASICS

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  • Style BasicsPROFESSIONALTECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFICSTYLE BASICS

  • Choose a Style Manual Style Manuals are discipline specific!

    APA American Psychological AssociationSME Society of Mining EngineersChicago Manual of StyleACS American Chemical SocietyMLA Modern Languages AssociationAAA American Anthropological Association and many more!

  • StyleIt is not just about citation It is also a guide to style!

  • StyleSome are quirky!Like: APA style requires authors to use the past tense or present perfect tense when using signal phrases to describe earlier research. E.g., Jones (1998) found or Jones (1998) has found...

  • StyleSince v. Because

    Bad: Data was incomplete since he was distracted .

    Good: Data was incomplete because he was distracted . (after that)

    Good: Data has been incomplete since 2000. (time)

  • StyleBut, many are more general and are useful for all professional, technical and scientific writers!

  • StyleTransitions within and between sections become critical in showing not just logical relationships between data but also connections between sections ofthe project as a whole.

  • StyleGood Transition: While this study reveals much that earlier efforts did not, it is unique in that it raises a new issue in the debate engineers long though was settled.

    This transition connects back to a previous Paragraph/Study and sets the stage for a new Paragraph/Study.

  • StyleTransitions indicate very specific relationships!

    Time: then, next, afterCause-Effect: as a result, consequentlyAddition: moreover, similarly, alsoContrast: however, but, although

  • StyleEvery section of a technical or scientific paper should be able to stand alone as a piece of writing:INTROBODYCLOSE

  • StyleUSE AN ACADEMIC TONE and LANGUAGE

    Good: Conclusive studies remain elusive.Bad: We just dont know much.

  • StyleAvoid

    Slang: bummed, hanging out

    Contractions: Cant, wont, Its

    Colloquial Expressions: Write up v. Report

  • StyleDefine Jargon

    AMA (American Medical Association)

    Remember your reader is a general academic audience!

  • StyleBe concise!Based on the fact that ->becauseMonetary deprivation ->poverty For the purpose of ->forSummarize briefly ->summarizeVery few -> few

  • StyleBe precise!The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between light and the lightening bug.

    -Mark Twain

  • StylePrecision!

    At risk?Borderline?Gender (culture) v. Sex (biology)Single v. living aloneMales v. 30 year old white men with red hairThe demented v. dementia group

  • StylePrecision!

    Manic cases v. patients or persons with maniaOrientals v. Korean and VietnameseSubjects v. participantsHomosexuals v. gay men and lesbian adolescents

  • StyleUse Gender Neutral Language

    Mothering v. ParentingChairman v. ChairMan the polls v. Staff the pollsWoman doctor v. Doctor His/Her v. Their

  • StyleDont Anthropomorphize!

    Tables and Figures can show or indicate, but not compare.

    Experiments can not demonstrate, control, or interpret.

  • VisualsFormat Consistently!Have titles and labels!Use white space wisely!Be clean and clear!Dont overcomplicate!

  • Visuals

    Explain visuals in textBUT visuals should be readable alone.

  • Visuals As the bar graph in Figure 1 shows, my writing is improving.

    Figure 1. My Writing ImprovementMake sure texts and visuals are close to each other!

  • Extra Help?

    The Writing CenterM-F 10-2Sun-Wed 6-9