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.
Slang: bummed, hanging out
Contractions: Cant, wont, Its
Colloquial Expressions: Write up v. Report
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.
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
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
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!
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!
The Writing CenterM-F 10-2Sun-Wed 6-9