WRITING EXERCISE 1
Thispaper explores most of the conventional methods for writing ascientific manuscript. It equips the learner with essential skillsand tasks to deliver a better write up. Grammatical errors are notedand corrected, and an explanation given, as to why we should use theproper grammatical format. I identified each example by differentcolors so that the distinguishing factor became apparent. Question 9illustrates the conventional SI Units, abbreviations and acronyms andalso value-unit spacing conventions.
Inthe conclusion part, we get a clear and absolute concept about theinformative ways of avoiding plagiarism and also the proper ways ofreferencing a sourced material as well.
Using direct, succinct sentences.
“There are some inorganic materials that can be used by bioengineers in the process of tissue engineering that have been shown to be very promising.”
“Some inorganic materials used in tissue engineering have shown great promise.”
The use of direct brief and concise wording (in green) has an advantage in the excerpt above. The reader gets a quick and clear concept of what the statement is all about. At least, it creates an incentive of wanting to continue to read and cover the whole paper. Comparatively, the longer and wordy the statement (in red) is, the boring and tedious it becomes for a reader. If a point is clear and accurate, then it is compelling to use a succinct sentence that brings captivity and attraction to any interested reader.
“Bacteria found in meat can be killed by radiation.”
“Bacteria found in meat can be killed by a brief but intense period of radiation between butchering and packaging.”
The green statement is elaborate, accountable, and very direct. It not only illustrates how bacteria in meat can be killed, but also gives the whole process for killing. It leaves no doubt, in the long run. Hence, the comprehension is easily achievable. However, the red statement is also direct and brief but not accountable, that is, it leaves the reader with questions such as, what is the amount of radiation applied and in what stages? It provokes a research idea.
Using of formal language.
“There isn’t very much research on the use of oil palm shell as coarse aggregate in the production of concrete.”
“Little research has been done on the use of oil palm shell as coarse aggregate in the production of concrete.”
The informal phrase in the red statement is There isn’t very much research……. It is not concise and directly tied to the driven point as compared to the formal phrase Little research….
Using words that have a scientific meaning.
“The calorimeter vibrated a little, but it was still easy to measure the peak in Figure 1 very accurately.”
“The largest source of error was vibration, which is estimated at 1 – 5 W/kg RMS. This adds at most a 4% uncertainty to peak integration.”
The informal phrase in the red statement is The calorimeter vibrated a little……Primarily, the red statement is more grammatical than scientific. It does not precisely tell us why there was an error in peak integration and to what extent the error margin was. Comparatively, the green statement elaborates that the vibration is the chief error source the vibration is described quantitatively, and the SI units shown. It is this vibration extent that creates the 4% uncertainty to peak integration. Therefore, the green description is more scientific, formal and absolutely certain.
Using the past tense to report the results. Using the present tense to discuss the results.
“The infrared spectrum of compound A was acquired. The spectrum indicated a sharp, strong peak at 1710 cm-1.”
“The sharp peak at 1710 cm-1 in the IR spectrum indicates the presence of a carbonyl group, likely a ketone.”
The statement in blue is in past tense that indicates a result report whereas the one in orange is a present tense that indicates the discussion of the results.
Using passive voice where appropriate.
“First, the three most common strains of flu virus were identified. These strains were then separately grown and harvested. The harvested virus was purified and inactivated. Finally, the inactive virus strains were blended together with a carrier fluid and dispensed into vials.”
“We first identified the virus strains in the lab. We then separately grew and harvested the virus. We purified and inactivated the virus. Finally, we blended the inactive virus strains together with a carrier fluid and dispensed them into vials.”
Basically, the advantage of using the passive voice in the blue statement is to create emphasis on “what is being done to the virus, instead of the virus being the doer.” For instance, “The harvested virus was purified and inactivated.” What is being done to the virus is more important than anything else. Hence, the emphasis is on the subject that is the virus.
Con example #1:
“The major points of the lesson were quickly learned by the class, but they were also quickly forgotten by them.”
“The class quickly learned, but then quickly forgot, the lesson’s major points.”
The disadvantage of using the passive voice in the blue statement is that the statement is clumsy, indefinite and wordy for no valid reason. However, the active voice in orange is strong and direct.
Con example #2:
“Bacteria found in meat can be killed by radiation.”
“Radiation can kill bacteria found in meat.”
The major focus of the passive voice sentence written in blue is “radiation” since it is the doer that serves the subject i.e. it kills the bacteria. The doer is more prominent than the subject in that statement.
The major focus of the active voice sentence written in orange is bacteria. It is the subject of that statement and also bolder than the doer.
Postulate reasons for unexpected data
“This difference between expected and obtained results does not conform to expectations.”
“This difference between expected and obtained results may be attributed to the small sample size, in this case.”
In a formal lab report, we ought to give the reason (s) for a discrepancy that creates an unexpected result. We thus establish credibility and accountability so that our report seems certain and valid and also ingratiating to the empirical data obtained. Subsequently, we can comfortably defend the difference between the expected and obtained results by providing our hypothesis.
Qualifying claims when necessary.
“The high absorbance of the sample at 340 nm proves that a significant amount of NADH is present.”
“The high absorbance of the sample at 340 nm suggests that a significant amount of NADH is present.”
The qualifying term in the green statement is “suggest.” This is because it leaves the impression that among the prime causes for the high absorbance at 340 nm, the significant amount of the NADH present is majorly responsible. It is just a mere suggestion, not a valid conclusive fact.
“The high absorbance of the NADH sample at 340 nm suggests that NADH has an extinction coefficient at 340 nm.”
The use of NADH twice is repetitive and hence creates a wordy scenario. The suggestion for the high absorbance at 340 nm is later given. Thus, there is no use of repeating the concept again.
Taking care with word usage, grammar, and spelling. Not relying on spelling- or grammar-checker.
Common mistake#1: affect vs. effect
Define affect (v): Altering or influencing a particular scene, object e.t.c.
Define effect (n): The result, expectation or outcome of a given condition or cause.
Define effect (v): To cause something.
Common mistake#2: it’s vs. its
The difference between it’s and its:
It’s – An abbreviation of it is, or it has
Its- A possessive form
Common mistake#3: data
The singular form of data is data or data, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It depends on the sentence construction.
Using the ACS Style Guide found at the ACS Publications website (USF terminal).
Both numerals andwords can be used to express numbers. The usage and formalities ofstyles for numerals and words are different for technical andnontechnical materials.Numerals should be used with units of time or measure, and usage ofspace between the numeral and the unit, except %, $, ° (angulardegrees), ′(angularminutes), and ″(angularseconds). For instance:
Abbreviations such as the ones listed below are also used:
The correct SI Unitsrelevant to a specific variable should be applied as well, forinstance:
37 0 C
Clearly distinguishing my results/ideas from the those of the others
Our ideas wereoriginal and different as evident by the quality of work provided.
Doyou provide a reference when (highlight in red for no& green for yes)…
Describing or discussing a theory, model or practice associated with a particular writer? YES
You summarize information drawn from a variety of sources about what has happened over a period and the summary is unlikely to be a cause of dispute or controversy? YES
You want to give weight or credibility to an argument that you believe is important? YES
Giving emphasis to a particular idea that has found a measure of agreement and support among commentators? YES
Pulling together a range of key ideas that you introduced and referenced earlier in the assignment? YES
Stating or summarizing obvious facts, and when there is unlikely to be any significant disagreement with your statements or summaries? NO
Including quotations? YES
Copying and pasting items from the internet where no author`s name is shown? YES
Paraphrasing or summarizing (in your own words) another person`s work? YES
Is it plagiarism when (highlight in red for no& green for yes)…
You see a quotation in a book and copy the quotation out word for word into your assignment and do not cite the source? YES
You see a quotation in a book or internet site and copy some of the words and add some of your own words and do not cite the source? YES
You see an interesting and different way of looking at a particular subject on an internet website. No author`s name is shown. You cut and paste the idea into your assignment and do not show the source, i.e., name of the website, in your assignment? YES
You find some interesting photos or other illustrations on a website. You copy the photos or illustrations and paste them into your report? (you do not cite the artist, photographer or website.) YES
Spector, T. (1994).Writing a Scientific Manuscript: Highlights for Success. J. Chem.Educ. 1994, 71, pp. 47 – 50.