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Successful Scientific Writing
A Step-by-Step Guide for the Biological and Medical Sciences

4th Edition


  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107691933

£ 29.99

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About the Authors
  • Thoroughly revised and updated, the new edition of this acclaimed and best-selling guide offers a rich blend of practical advice and real-life examples. The authors draw on fifty years of experience, providing detailed step-by-step guidance designed to help students and researchers write and present scientific manuscripts more successfully through knowledge, practice, and an efficient approach. Retaining the user-friendly style of the previous editions, this fourth edition has been broadened to include detailed information relevant to today's digital world. It covers all aspects of the writing process, from first drafts, literature retrieval, and authorship to final drafts and electronic publication. A new section provides extensive coverage of ethical issues, from plagiarism and dual publication to honesty in reporting statistics. Both the text and 30 hands-on exercises include abundant examples applicable to a variety of writing contexts, making this a powerful tool for researchers and students across a range of disciplines.

    • Written in an accessible and humorous style, drawing on the authors' fifty years of experience of writing and correcting scientific manuscripts
    • Thoroughly updated for today's digital world, covering all aspects of the writing process and now including extensive coverage of ethical issues, including plagiarism
    • 30 hands-on exercises and numerous real-life examples make the book a powerful tool for researchers and students across a range of scientific disciplines
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of previous edition: '… does not disappoint. It is everything a 'how to' book needs to be, stuffed with plain common sense and sprinkled with useful tips.' The Biologist

    Review of previous edition: '… strongly recommended for all geoscientists. There are three possible ways to use it. The first is to read it as a normal book from the first page to the last … The second way is to use it as a reference … The third way is … as a textbook … Despite of what way to choose, you will find this book always very suitable. Reading of any passage is enjoyable and stimulating. The book … is a great success …' Zentralblatt for Geologie und Palaeontologie

    Review of previous edition: 'This book is beyond reproach and should be regarded as compulsory reading for all biomedical and science undergraduate and postgraduate students and all others likely to have to write or edit scientific reports.' Times Higher Education Supplement

    Review of previous edition: '… very well organized and easy to scan for useful tips … will soon become one of the more well-thumbed volumes on our laboratory bookshelf.' Trends in Neuroscience

    Review of previous edition: '… pragmatic, well-written and comprehensive … each stage - from marshalling ideas through bashing out a first draft, revising it, honing it for publication and correcting it in proof - is demystified with exercises and examples.' New Scientist

    Review of previous edition: '… an excellent, well-organised text that will ensure that aspiring authors who use it will find that writing can be a joy, rather than a burden.' British Journal of Biomedical Science

    Review of previous edition: '… a tightly written compendium of good advice, helpful examples and exercises, and a thorough coverage of topics, supported amply by references to other works … an excellent book and … a necessity for every research department and scientific/medical library.' American Entomologist

    'Successful Scientific Writing is a must-read for all scientists. It will be especially valuable for the first-time author of a scientific paper. It is indeed 'a step-by-step guide' - a comprehensive, straightforward walk through the writing process. The book's greatest strength is its distillation of information that could only have come from the practical experience of its authors. It is packed with advice on every aspect of writing the scientific paper. The section on improving 'anyone's scientific writing skills' alone is well worth the price. As a teacher of scientific writing I have used the previous editions of this book for years, and look forward to using the fourth edition as well.' Marguerite Meitzler, Council of Science Editors, Colorado

    '… as it walks the reader through the steps necessary to produce strong writing, [this book] includes lots of information about online writing, ethics and (perhaps most timely of all), plagiarism. Absolutely essential for everyone who writes about science or medicine.' GrrlScientist, The Guardian

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    Product details

    • Edition: 4th Edition
    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107691933
    • length: 303 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 155 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 37 b/w illus. 31 tables 30 exercises
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Start with a plan
    2. Conduct a comprehensive literature search
    3. Prepare for the challenge
    4. Begin well
    5. Compose the IMRAD core of a strong first draft
    6. Assemble the rest of the first draft
    7. Compile tables to develop, clarify, and support your narrative
    8. Include figures for evidence, efficiency, or emphasis
    9. Report numbers clearly and responsibly
    10. Revise for coherence
    11. Improve style and syntax
    12. Improve word choice
    13. Attend to punctuation, capitalization, and other mechanics
    14. Address your ethical and legal responsibilities
    15. Oral presentation: adapt the text and visuals
    16. Share your story in public: presenting talks and posters
    17. Publication: the rest of the story
    Thirty exercises to improve anyone's scientific writing skills
    Selected resources

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Becoming a Kinesiologist
    • Empirical Software Engineering
    • Engineering Research Methods
    • Human Anatomy
    • Human Death and Disease
    • Scientific Literature for Biotechnology
    • Scientific Writing
    • Scientific Writing & Presentation
    • Scientific Writing and Data Analysis in Exercise Science
    • Writing for Science Professionals
  • Authors

    Janice R. Matthews, Scientific Editing Services
    Janice R. Matthews is a writer and educator with a broad background in the biological sciences. Her professional focus is on facilitating clearer communication of scientific material. She has edited books, technical manuals and hundreds of scientific research papers in the veterinary and biological sciences, both in university settings and for private industry.

    Robert W. Matthews, University of Georgia
    Robert W. Matthews is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, Emeritus Professor at the University of Georgia and a member of the UGA Teaching Academy. An insect behavior specialist, his scientific publications number over 175 research articles.

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