Short Guide to Writing about Biology, A, 9th edition

  • Jan A. Pechenik

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For courses in Writing Across the Curriculum or Writing About Biology.
Developing the tools to effectively write about biology
Teaching biology and strong writing skills simultaneously is a challenge, especially when students exhibit a range of abilities. The Ninth Edition of A Short Guide to Writing about Biology provides tools to strengthen student writing and reinforce critical thinking.
Written by a prominent biologist, this best-selling guide teaches students to express ideas clearly and concisely. It emphasizes writing as a way of examining, evaluating, and refining ideas: students learn to read critically, study, evaluate and report data, and communicate with clarity.
Using a narrative style, the text is its own example of good analytical writing. In this new edition, students learn how to avoid plagiarism (Ch 1 and 3), read and interpret data (Ch 3, 4 and 9), prepare effective Materials and Methods sections in research reports and more (Ch 9), and prepare manuscripts for submission (Ch 9). The text also provides advice on locating useful sources (Ch 2), maintaining laboratory and field notebooks (Ch 9), communicating with different audiences (Ch 6 and 10), and crafting research proposals (Ch 10), poster presentations (Ch 11), and letters of application (Ch 12).
Also available with MyWritingLab™
This text is also available with MyWritingLab – an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program that provides engaging experiences for teaching and learning. Flexible and easily customizable, MyWritingLab helps improve students’ writing through context-based learning. Whether through self-study or instructor-led learning, MyWritingLab supports and complements course work.


Published by Pearson (July 14th 2021) - Copyright © 2016

ISBN-13: 9780137521043

Subject: Composition

Category: Rhetorics


Table of Contents

Part I General Advice about Writing and Reading Biology

  1. Introduction and General Rules
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • What Do Biologists Write About, and Why?
    • The Keys to Success
    • Avoiding Plagiarism
    • On Using Computers in Writing
    • On Using Computers for Data Storage, Analysis, and Presentation
    • Summary
    • Technology Tip 1. Using Shortcuts and AutoCorrect
  2. Locating Useful Sources
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Easy Ways to Access The Primary Literature
    • Using Indexes
    • Using Science Citation Index
    • Using Current Contents Connect
    • Using Medline and Other Databases
    • Prowling the Internet
    • Conducting Web Searches: Developing Productive Search Strategies
    • Final Thoughts About Efficient Searching: Technology Isn’t Everything
    • Closing Thoughts
    • Summary
    • Technology Tip 2. Using Search Engines E ffectively
  3. General Advice on Reading, Note Taking, and Avoiding Plagiarism
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Why Read and What to Read
    • Effective Reading
    • Reading Data: Plumbing the Depths of Figures and Tables
    • Take Notes in Your Own Words
    • Final Thoughts on Note Taking: Document Your Sources
    • Summary
  4. Reading and Writing About Statistical Analyses
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Statistical Essentials
    • Summary: Using Statistics to Test Hypotheses
    • Moving Beyond p-Values
    • Reading About Statistics
    • Writing About Statistics
    • Summary
  5. Citing Sources and Listing References
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Citing Sources
    • Summary of Citation Format Rules
    • Preparing the Literature Cited Section
    • A Sample Literature Cited Section
    • Technology Tip 3. Bibliographic Management S oftware
    • Technology Tip 4. Producing Hanging Indents
  6. Revising
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Preparing the Draft for Surgery: Plotting Idea Maps
    • Revising for Content
    • Revising for Clarity
    • Revising for Completeness
    • Revising for Conciseness
    • Revising for Flow
    • Revising for Teleology and Anthropomorphism
    • Revising For Spelling Errors
    • Revising for Grammar and Proper Word Usage
    • Becoming a Good Reviewer
    • Checklist
    • Technology Tip 5. Tracking Changes Made to Documents 115

Part II Guidelines for Specific Tasks

  • Prelude: Why Are You Writing Papers and Proposals and Giving Talks?
  1. Writing Summaries, Critiques, Essays,and Review Papers
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Writing Summaries and Critiques
    • Sample Student Summary
    • Writing Essays and Review Papers
    • Checklist for Essays and Review Papers
  2. Answering Essay Questions
    • Basic Principles
    • Applying the Principles
    • Summary
  3. Writing Laboratory and Other Research Reports
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Why Are You Doing This?
    • The Purpose of Laboratory and Field Notebooks
    • Components of the Research Report
    • Where to Start
    • When to Start
    • Writing the Materials and Methods Section
    • Writing The Results Section
    • Citing Sources
    • What to Do Next?
    • Writing the Discussion Section
    • Writing the Introduction Section
    • Talking About Your Study Organism or Field Site
    • Deciding on a Title
    • Writing an Abstract
    • Preparing an Acknowledgments Section
    • Preparing the Literature Cited Section
    • Preparing a Paper for Formal Publication
    • A Note About Co-Authorship
    • Checklist for the Final Draft
    • Technology Tip 6. Using Computer Spreadsheets for Data Collection
    • Technology Tip 7. Graphing with Excel
  4. Writing Research Proposals
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • What Are Reviewers Looking For?
    • Researching Your Topic
    • What Makes a Good Research Question?
    • Writing the Proposal
    • Tightening the Logic
    • The Life of a Real Research Proposal
    • Checklist
  5. Presenting Research Findings: Preparing Talks and Poster Presentations
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Oral Presentations
    • Writing the Talk
    • Giving the Talk
    • Dos and Don’ts for Oral Presentations
    • Common PowerPoint® Errors
    • Checklist for Being Judged
    • Poster Presentations
    • Checklist for Making Posters
  6. Writing Letters of Application
    • What Lies Ahead?
    • Before You Start
    • Preparing the CV
    • Preparing the Cover Letter
    • Getting Effective Letters of Recommendation

Appendix A Commonly Used Abbreviations

Appendix B Recommended Resources


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