Sean Hoban Profile picture
Sep 8, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/n Tips for scientific writing: eliminate distractions (internet, phone notifications, people around you, chores). However, get up and walk around every half hour- helps with inspiration!
2/n Tips for scientific writing: when you get stuck on an idea, write yourself a note in the text and come back later. If necessary move on to another section of the paper- keep your flow!
3/n Tips for scientific writing: write in simple, clear, or even colloquial language first, to get the idea clearly from your mind to the page. Get most of the paper written this way. Polish later!
4/n: Tips for scientific writing: Make your figures, examine them carefully, and write (just for your own benefit) what they mean. Then transfer this idea back to your draft
5/n: Tips for scientific writing. Worry about citations later! As with #2, write yourself a note if you can't remember the right literature and figure that out later. Don't leave the writing for 15 minutes of rabbit hole to try to dig up a perfect reference!
6/n: Tips for scientific writing: Don't speculate too much. State only how the results can be directly interpreted and avoid storytelling.
7/n: Tips for scientific writing: Read it aloud. Does it feel convoluted to you? If yes, it will to your reader! Start paragraph or section over with an outline of clear simple logic, and fill in the outline
8/n: Tips for scientific writing: Really stuck? Talk it over with a colleague. Draw it on paper or white board.
9/n: Tips for scientific writing: Alternate writing and reading. Read and re-read the main references of those whose work you are building on. See their logic (start there). See the holes in their logic (avoid those). See where their research pointed (build on that).
10/n: Tips for scientific writing: read and re-read the journal instructions and several papers from the target journal from the past year or two. Haven't picked a journal? If you are past the outline stage and have most of your results- usually you can pick a target journal
11/n: Tips for scientific writing: regarding #10 evaluate your journal choice carefully for topic (applications, theory, taxonomic emphasis) and for sample size/ technique you used. Be realistic.
12/n: Tips for scientific writing: One of my PhD advisors put her advice on a postcard- here it is (my addition in parentheses). "Make figures & tables. Write about them (always coming back to how they reflect on your original hypotheses and the knowledge gap you started with)"
13/n Tips for scientific writing: its ok write notes to yourself on your draft ("interesting result- highlight this in discussion", "confusing- come back to this", "future work idea!", etc.) #phdchat #academics

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