Scientific literature introduction lesson

Introduction to the different types of scientific literature and other topics.

1. Introduction

As graduate students, you face a variety of writing tasks throughout your chosen degree programs. Naturally, these tasks will vary from one degree program to another. They are, however, similar in two respects. First, the tasks become progressively more complex and demanding the farther you go in the program. Second, in general they need to be written “academically,” although certain assigned writing in some fields may require personal reflection (such as teaching reflections) and thus may be somewhat more informal. This chapter is different from the others since it does not focus on a particular type of text. Instead, we try to help you reflect upon a variety of aspects of academic writing, ranging from style to some sociological, cultural, and rhetorical issues. Overall, we are primarily concerned with your “positioning” as a writer—the means by which you create in writing a credible image as a competent member of your chosen discipline. We begin with a focus on your writing strategies (Academic Writing for Graduate Students, 3rd Edition: Essential Skills and Tasks John M. Swales & Christine B. Feak).

All scientists are faced with pressure to publish their results in prestigious journals and all face challenges when trying to write and publish. Scientists should develop skills in three key areas:

- developing strategy: understanding what editors and referees want to publish, and why;

- developing story: understanding what makes a compelling research article in aparticular discipline area; and

- using language: developing techniques to enhance clear and effective communication with readers in English.

The skills required for successful science writing are both science- and language based, and skill integration is required for efficient outcomes.

If you are going to publish an article about your scientific research, you should take following into consideration:

  • Why publish?
  • Why is it difficult to publish?
  • What does participation in the international scientific community require?
  • What do you need to know to select your target journal?
  • How can you get the most out of publishing?