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(Scientific) Writing Skills: Some Book Recommendations

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Writing is an essential part of scientists’ daily life. Writing comprehensible and well-structured papers is a key to publishing; Writing convincing and concise grant proposals is a key to funding. In addition, writing for the public becomes more and more important.

Diction and clarity of the written text is hard work; however, there are great books which could help you to reflect on your mode of expression. One wonderful book is Strunk, W., Jr. & White, E.B. (2000, 1979). The Element of Style (4th ed.). New York: Longman. I not just learned a lot when reading it a couple of years ago, I also enjoyed the reading itself a lot.

I just saw that it is online available here. Moreover, a PDF version is accessible.

As writing a lot makes a successful scientist, but finding time to write and organizing the writing is again hard work, I also found it helpful to reflect my organization of writing. A helpful book for this reflection was Silvia, P. J. (2007). How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, American Psychological Association, Washington DC.

Finally, one recommendation from Christina Schütte’s grant writing workshop last week – of which a preview is accessible on google books – is Silyn-Roberts, H. (2000). Writing for Science and Engineering: Papers, Presentations and Reports. Oxford, England: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Some more general tips on scientific writing are provided by Michael A. Morrison, Professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Please feel free to add further recommendations in the comments’ section!

Author: Katrin Wodzicki

Hi, I am Katrin, the coordinator of the GGNB Career Service Unit.

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