The Science Of Scientific Writing    Set B      Paragraphs: Intro to Readers' Expectations    First Three Expectations    Exercise 1 Quiz   A Fourth Expectation: Coherence   Paragraph flexibility: explicit and implicit texts   Exercise 2     Final Page.

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OVERVIEW: The way to well-written science

How to do the Course


PART I: Paragraphs and Sentences

SET A: Paragraphs: The Maps Behind Them

SET B: Paragraphs: Using Maps to Meet Readers' Expectations

SET C: Paragraphs with Something Extra: Points and Tails

SET D: The Generic Section: Expectations and Maps as Blueprints

SET E: Scientific Sections: The Methods and Results

SET F: Scientific Sections: The Discussion

SET G : Scientific Sections: The Introduction

SET H : Sentences

SET I : The Paper as a Whole



PART II: The Paper and its Sections


SET 1: Argument Parts

SET 2: Indicator Words

SET 3: Refining Claims

SET 4: Locating Arguments in Prose

SET 5: Rationale's Essay Planner

SET 6: Evidence in Arguments: Basis Boxes

SET 7: Assessing

SET 8: More on Assessing

SET 9: Analysis Maps

SET 10: Assessing Again

Synthesis 1: Position-Early Paragraphs

Synthesis 2: Position-Final Paragraphs

Synthesis 3: Writing a Discussion I

Synthesis 4: Writing a Discussion II

*Exercise 2*

1. Pick a research paper in your field, perhaps one you have already read before, even better, one you have written! The paper itself should be accessible to the instructor in some way (e.g. online, or as an emailed attacchment) and in a format (e.g. HTML) that allows you to copy and paste the text. It should have a separate Results section.

2. On the Rationale worksheet, paste in the URL of the paper or a note as to how the instructor will be able to otherwise view the paper.

3. Pick any three consecutive paragraphs from the Results section that are four or more sentences in length and paste them into the Scratchpad of the Rationale Text panel. Give each paragraph a "Readability Rating" (0 = unreadable, 10 = highly readable) - type it your rating above the relevant paragraph.

3. Using a single Rationale workspace, create one Rationale map for each paragraph- put them one under another. Make sure you distinguish between the core content (i.e. reported actions of the researchers) and non-core content (anything that was not part of the experimental procedure). If an item of non-core content seems to sensibly connect to an item of core content, attach it to that item as a colored Rationale Note. If there is non-core content that does not seem to connect to any core content box, put it in a colored Note, but leave it unattached.

4. If you think any (or all) of the maps do not conform to the criteria suggested in Sets A and B (summarised below), revise the map so that it does. Place the map to the right of the original.

(i) The core of the paragraph is concerned with only one type of writing (Reporting). Note : every single sentence need not include a reference to the authors for it to conform to the reporting style. But the use of the past tense is a necessary feature of the reporting style because it emphasises that the authors' own as-yet-generally-unaccepted observations are being discussed. The present tense in contrast is used when referring to features of systems that are generally believed to be true.

(ii) All of the information in the paragraph can either be included in the core content of a single map, or as boxes of non-core content that can be sensibly connected to the main map content.

(iii) The core content is not overwhlemed in volume by the non-core content.

(iv) The statement in top box of core content is appropriate as a nesting statement for the rest of the map.

(v) There are no more than two sentences of non-core content above the top box of the core content.

5. For any maps that you have revised in Step 4, write up a new paragraph from the revised map, and place it below the original in the Scratchpad. It should have the following four features:

(i) A clear distinction between the Frame of Reference (FOR) and Elaboration sections

(ii) The FOR is no more than 3 sentences in length

(iii) The FOR concludes with a framing sentence that independently, or nearly independently, provides a frame of reference for the rest of the paragraph

(iv) The paragraph is coherent to the extent that its purpose is clearly discernible