Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps
September 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
Veterinary Pathology, July 2009
"[The book is] clearly written, has a logical step-by-step
structure, is easy to read and contains a lot of sensible advice
about how to get scientific work published in international
journals. The book is a most useful addition to the literature
covering scientific writing."
Aquaculture International, April 2009
Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps guides authors in how to write, as well as what to write, to improve their chances of having their articles accepted for publication in international, peer reviewed journals. The book is designed for scientists who use English as a first or an additional language; for research students and those who teach them paper writing skills; and for early-career researchers wanting to hone their skills as authors and mentors. It provides clear processes for selecting target journals and writing each section of a manuscript, starting with the results. The stepwise learning process uses practical exercises to develop writing and data presentation skills through analysis of well-written example papers. Strategies are presented for responding to referee comments, as well as ideas for developing discipline-specific English language skills for manuscript writing. The book is designed for use by individuals or in a class setting.
Visit the companion site at www.writeresearch.com.au for more information.
Part 1: A Framework for success.
1 How the book is organised, and why.
1.1 Getting started with writing for international publication.
1.2 Publishing in the international literature.
1.3 Aims of this book.
1.4 How the book is structured.
2 Research article structures.
2.1 Conventional article structure: AIMRaD and its variations.
3 Referees' criteria for evaluating manuscripts.
Part 2: When and how to write each article section.
4 Results as 'story': the key driver of an article.
5 Results: turning data into knowledge.
5.1 Figure, table or text?
5.2 Designing figures.
5.3 Designing tables.
5.4 Figure legends and table titles.
6 Writing about Results.
6.1 Functions of Results sentences.
6.2 Verb tense in Results sections.
7 Methods sections.
7.1 Purpose of the Methods section.
7.2 Organising Methods sections.
7.3 Use of passive and active verbs.
8.1 Five 'stages' to a compelling Introduction.
8.2 Stage 1: Locating your project within an existing field of scientific research.
8.3 Using references in Stages 2 and 3.
8.4 Avoiding plagiarism when using others' work.
8.5 Indicating the 'gap' or 'research niche'.
8.6 Stage 4: The statement of purpose or main activity.
8.7 Suggested process for drafting an Introduction.
8.8 Editing for logical flow.
9 Discussion sections.
9.1 Information elements to highlight the key messages.
9.2 Negotiating the strength of claims.
Part 3: Getting your manuscript published.
12 Evaluating journals.
12.1 Considerations when selecting a target journal.
13 Submitting a manuscript.
14 How to respond to editors and referees.
14.1 Rules of thumb for responding to editors and referees.
14.2 How to deal with manuscript rejection.
14.3 How to deal with 'conditional acceptance' or 'revise and resubmit'.
15 A Process for preparing a manuscript.
15.1 Initial preparation steps.
15.2 Editing procedures.
15.3 A pre-review checklist.
Part 4: Further developing your publication skills.
16 Skill development strategies for groups and individuals.
16.1 Journal clubs.
16.2 Writing groups.
16.3 Matching feedback strategies to different purposes.
16.4 Training for responding to reviewers.
17 Developing discipline-specific English skills.
17.2 What kind of English errors matter most?
17.3 Strategic (and acceptable!) language re-use: Sentence templates.
17.4 More about Noun Phrases.
17.5 Concordancing: a tool for developing your discipline specific English.
17.6 Using the English articles (a/an, the) appropriately in science writing.
17.7 Using 'which' and 'that'.
18 Answer pages.
Part 5: Provided example articles.
20 Kaiser, B.N., Moreau, S., Castelli, J., Thomson, R., Lambert, A., Bogliolo, S., Puppo, A., & Day, D.A. (2003) The soybean NRAMP homologue, GmDMT1, is a symbiotic divalent metal transporter capable of ferrous iron transport. The Plant Journal, 35, 295-304.
21 Britton-Simmons, K.H. & Abbott, K.C. (2008) Short- and long-term effects of disturbance and propagule pressure on a biological invasion. Journal of Ecology, 96, 68-77.
Patrick O'Connor is a research ecologist, environmental consultant and science educator. His work over the last 10 years has focussed on the use of scientific principles in designing and evaluating environmental programs for governments and statutory authorities in Australia. His research interests and scientific publications span fields of terrestrial ecology and detection of change in plant and animal communities.
- Designed to teach researchers the skills needed to get their research published in international, peer-reviewed journals - essential for the careers of all scientists.
- Illustrated with case studies and "ideal" example papers.
- Based on tried and tested courses and material that has been used in a variety of international locations.
- This book is particularly useful to scientists for whom English is not their first language.
- Examples in the book are from the biological sciences, but the book's website will have material applicable to other fields.
- Market - research scientists, particularly those for whom English is not their first language.
"Useful for self-study or in the classroom, the book is for native and non-native English speakers, for research students and those who teach them paper-writing skills, and for early career researchers wanting to hone their skills as authors and mentors." (Book News, September 2009)
"Even for a more seasoned writer, the very well laid out and accessible style of the book offers a dip-in reminder of aspects of good scientific writing practice." (Chemistry World, August 2009)
"[The book is] clearly written, has a logical step-by-step structure, is easy to read and contains a lot of sensible advice about how to get scientific work published in international journals. The book is a most useful addition to the literature covering scientific writing." (Aquaculture International, April 2009)
"Margaret Cargill's background as a linguist and research communications educator and Patrick O'Connor's experience as both research scientist and educator synergize to improve both the science and art of scientific writing. If the authors' goal is to give scientists the tools to write and publish compelling, well documented, clear narratives that convey their work honestly and in proper context, they have succeeded admirably." (Veterinary Pathology, July 2009)
“As our political and bureaucratic ruling classes continue to converge in an educational and cultural sense it is becoming vital to speak their language in order to get your point across. Reference to this book will certainly pay major dividends in that sense.” (AUSMARINE Magazine June 2010)