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Writing English-language science articles

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Title: Writing English-language science articles


1
Writing English-language science articles
increasing your chances of success
  • Andrew Smith
  • Soil Land Systems, School of Earth
    Environmental Sciences
  • The University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Honorary Professor, Research Center for
    Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of
    Sciences, Beijing
  • - with thanks to Margaret Cargill
  • Adelaide Graduate Centre

2
Andrew Smith relevant experience
  • Many refereed publications plant science soil
    science (especially soil biology)
  • Referee (reviewer) plant science soil science
    (especially soil biology)
  • Journal editing (Mycorrhiza, Plant Soil)
  • International PhD students not native
    English-speakers
  • English-language science writing 5-day
    workshops and short presentations mostly in
    China

3
Writing English-language science articles
  • Part 1 writing the article
  • Part 2 afterwards (dealing with reviews and the
    journal editor)
  • Part 3 writing Science English some hints

Andrew Smith
4
Why do we publish research?
  • Tell the world about new research discoveries
  • Satisfy requirements of institutes funding
    agencies
  • Meet PhD degree requirements (some programs)
  • Improve our personal scientific reputation
  • Increase career prospects and chances of
    promotion

5
Why do we publish research?
  • Tell the world about new research discoveries
  • Satisfy requirements of institutes funding
    agencies
  • Meet PhD degree requirements (some programs)
  • Improve our personal scientific reputation
  • Increase career prospects and chances of
    promotion

Is the research worth publishing?
  • There should be clear aims (not a data
    collection)
  • Results should be reliable (good methodology)
  • Outcomes should be clear (a take-home story)
  • It should interest others (in your field, at
    least)

6
Major reasons why articles are rejected
  • The paper (article) is unsuitable for this
    journal
  • The work does not seem important enough for this
    journal
  • The purpose of the work is not at all clear
  • The work does not appear to be novel (new,
    original)
  • There are major errors in calculations
  • Too few samples have been taken
  • There are major errors in experimental design
  • More work is required for the research to be
    publishable
  • These issues relate to the start of the research

7
How to increase the chance of success
  • Select a suitable target journal and use its
    style
  • Emphasize the aims of your research
  • Make clear that it is novel (new, original) and
    important
  • Present only relevant results (use good
    statistics)
  • Make your story consistent throughout the paper
  • Write well-constructed Introduction and
    Discussion sections
  • Give an attractive Title and Abstract (Summary)
  • Write correct English as much as possible!
  • These are the take-home messages in this
    presentation

8
The story is all-important!
  • What is the scope of the proposed paper the
    story you are going to present?
  • In other words
  • Why did you do the research described in this
    paper?
  • What are the aims (questions are you asking) in
    this paper?
  • As presented, these may not be the same as when
    you started the research
  • The reader only knows what you tell them.
  • Be clear in your mind about the story (aims)
    before you start writing

9
Choosing a target journal
  • Do this as soon as possible
  • Check its style, using the latest instructions to
    authors, some of its published papers as
    examples for style
  • High rating journals (high impact factors)
    turn-around is quick, but acceptance rates are
    low - is the risk worth taking? There may be
    pressures from supervisors institute to submit
    to a top journal!
  • Example New Phytologist
  • 2000 Impact factor 2.2 50 acceptance
  • 2006 Impact factor 4.2 24 acceptance
  • (only 13 of papers from China are being
    accepted)
  • Page charges? e.g. some US journals but these
    may be waived if in doubt contact the editor

10
Journal style for submission
  • Select the target journal and check its style,
    using the latest instructions to authors, some
    of its published papers as examples
  • Methods - after Introduction, or at end?
  • Results and Discussion - separate or combined?
  • What is the text format required? Often 12 point
    Times New Roman, double-spaced, with 2.5 cm
    margins
  • English or American style? sterilise or
    sterilize? centre or center?
  • Are there any restrictions on length or numbers
    of illustrations?

11
More on style of presentation
  • Select the journal and check its style, using the
    latest instructions to authors, and some of its
    published papers as examples.
  • Check the text abbreviations used, e.g.
  • - (Ray et al., 1998), (Ray et al. 1998) or (Ray
    et al 1998)?
  • - mg.kg-1 or mg kg-1?
  • - mmol.l-1 or mmol l-1 or mmol.L-1 or mM? etc
  • Use standard spacing, e.g.
  • - 55, not 55
  • - 3 cm, not 3cm
  • - 5oC, not 5 oC etc
  • Errors inconsistencies irritate reviewers
    (referees) editor!

12
The IMRAD paper
Title
Broad to focused text
Abstract
Introduction
Methods
Results
Focused to broad text
Discussion
References
From M. Cargill
13
The IMRAD paper variations
Title
Abstract
Introduction
Methods
Results Discussion sometimes combined
Results
R D
Discussion
R D
R D
References
14
The IMRAD paper variations
Title
Abstract
Introduction
Methods
Results
Methods sometimes after Discussion
Discussion
Methods
References
15
Suggested order of writing
6
Title
5
Abstract
Introduction
3
Information needed for the story
Methods
2
The research story
Results
1
Discussion
4
References
From M. Cargill
(2,3,4)
16
Results first step
  • Select the results relevant to the story as a
    whole in your paper write a dot-point summary
    of experiments, field trials etc, to be
    described, for reference as the paper is written.
    List Tables and Figures to be included.

17
Writing the Results section
  • Select the results relevant to the story as a
    whole
  • Do not include material to go in Methods
  • If Results section is separate from Discussion,
    do not discuss results at length here (very brief
    comments are OK)
  • Use Tables, Figures or both? Be consistent as
    much as possible take into account the impact
    of data as presented
  • Do not include both a Table and a Figure that
    show the same data
  • In the text, mention the results in the same
    order as in the Table or Figure do not repeat
    detailed information (e.g. numerical values)
  • Use sub-headings if the target journal allows this

18
Tables or Figures?
  • Tables
  • Do not clutter (e.g. too many columns too close
    together too many decimal places (e.g. plant
    weight 7.350 g)
  • Figures
  • Figures can have more impact e.g. bar diagrams
    or graphs with time-courses but can also be
    cluttered (e.g. too many narrow bars too close
    together)
  • If results show no significant differences
    between some treatments, just say so in text
    e.g. shoot P concentrations were 3.0-3.5 mg
    kg-1 there were no significant differences
    between treatments (results not shown) this
    simplifies Tables or Figures.
  • Check your target journal for its preferred
    styles

19
More on Results
  • What to do with other useful results (long
    lists of plants, animals, micro-organisms, soil
    types properties, gene-sequences, etc)?
  • Published appendices not popular with most
    journals
  • Electronic on-line supplementary material?
    (check to see if the journal offers this, and
    how easily available it is to readers)

20
Materials Methods
  • May be at the end of the paper (check Journal)
  • Allow the reader to 1) understand what you did,
    and 2) repeat it, using the same methods
  • Explain details that may be unfamiliar (e.g. soil
    types source analytical methods, locations of
    field-work)
  • Explain replication also sampling methods (e.g.
    in field surveys)
  • Tables may be helpful to summarize complex
    nutrient solutions, soil properties etc
  • Give equations used in calculations
  • Explain statistical procedures
  • Give appropriate references

21
The Introduction
1
  • The first broad sentences are important to
    attract the editor, reviewers and readers
  • They set the scene the context and the aims,
    or questions that will be asked
  • They depend on the target journal specialist or
    more general e.g.
  • Mycorrhizal fungi colonize the vast majority
    of plants worldwide and are important in
    transferring phosphate to plants. Arbuscular
    mycorrhizal fungi are the most common type (Smith
    Read 1997). However, the role of mycorrhizas in
    the transfer of other nutrients is not well
    established, and this is especially the case for
    toxic soil elements such as cadmium. Cadmium
    pollution of soils is an increasing problem in
    many countries, including China.
  • Six information elements

22
The Introduction
1
  • Mycorrhizal fungi colonize the vast majority of
    plants worldwide and are important in
    transferring phosphate to plants. Arbuscular
    mycorrhizal fungi are the most common type (Smith
    Read 1997). However, the role of mycorrhizas in
    the transfer of other nutrients is not well
    established, and this is especially the case for
    toxic soil elements such as cadmium. Cadmium
    pollution of soils is an increasing problem in
    many countries, including China.
  • The first two sentences are not needed for the
    specialist journal Mycorrhiza. The paper can
    start The role of mycorrhizas in transfer to
    plants of soil nutrients other than phosphorus is
    not well established etc.

23
The Introduction
1
  • For a journal specializing in environmental
    pollution, the paper might start
  • Cadmium pollution of soils is an increasing
    problem in many countries, including China. Many
    of the plants both in natural and managed
    ecosystems are colonized by mycorrhizal fungi
    that transfer a range of mineral nutrients to
    their hosts. It is not yet well established if
    cadmium affects mycorrhizal colonization, or is
    transported via mycorrhizas. etc.
  • Write the Introduction bearing in mind the
    research speciality (expertise interests) of
    the readers - and also make the title of the
    paper fit the journal later

24
The Introduction
2
3
4
  • 2 Review briefly previous research relevant to
    your paper, then
  • 3 Highlight gaps, uncertainties or
    inconsistencies in previous research to show
    why you did your research.
  • Mention (e.g.) plant species used, important
    techniques, the location, type of survey, and why
    it was done. Emphasize what is special about your
    work Soil types? Crop plants? Location? Climate?
  • 4 End with a statement giving the aims of the
    research (questions asked, hypothesis being
    tested)
  • When you have written the paper go back to the
    Introduction - check that it leads into the rest
    of the paper
  • Especially re-read the first sentences can you
    think of a better start to set the scene
    probably!

25
The Discussion
1
2
3
  • The most difficult part!
  • 1 Summarize your main results do not repeat
    them in detail the reader can remember the
    details
  • 2 Discuss results in relation to the relevant
    issues raised in the Introduction (the gap in
    knowledge and your aims statement)
  • Do not write a long review with many new
    references (or repeat the Introduction)
  • 3 Emphasize interesting differences, or
    developments from, earlier work, e.g.
  • - Whereas Smith (1990) found that additional Zn
    decreased Cu uptake by wheat, we have found or
    the present study showed that additional Zn
    increased Cu uptake by barley. The reasons for
    this difference are unresolved. They may be due
    to etc. Keep speculation limited.

26
More on the Discussion
1
2
3
4
  • 1-3 Some journals allow sub-headings useful if
    you have a lot of results that you want to
    discuss separately, e.g.
  • Growth responses
  • Mycorrhizal colonization
  • Phosphorus uptake
  • But do not go into results in detail discuss
    their relevance to your aims in the Introduction
  • Now go back to the Introduction to check the aims
    stated
  • Possibly suggest useful future work
  • 4 Give (briefly) the main conclusions (with
    Conclusions subheading if the journal allows
    this).

27
Results Discussion combined
R D
R D
  • More difficult to write! Use sub-headings if
    possible
  • I suggest you write the results paragraphs first
    (i.e. the results story), then fill in the
    discussion sentences
  • Make sure the discussion sentences lead into
    the next results paragraph
  • Remember your aims in the Introduction
  • Last, give (briefly) the main conclusions (with
    Conclusions subheading if the journal allows
    this)
  • And possibly suggest useful future work

28
Acknowledgments
  • Thank technical staff, colleagues for helpful
    advice or use of their facilities, and providers
    of financial support (usually in that order)

References
  • Check and follow carefully the style required by
    the journal (style for authors, title, journal
    etc) errors greatly irritate reviewers and
    editor!
  • Check all references carefully for spelling,
    especially names of organisms and journals
  • Citing literature you have not read is dangerous,
    in case the author from whom you are really
    citing got it wrong

29
Summary Abstract
  • Check the style in the journal length, bullet
    points, etc
  • Make clear the aims or questions being asked
    reasons for the experiments, field surveys, etc
  • Summarize main results and conclusions details
    depend on length restrictions
  • Do not go into detail not necessary to make the
    story clear (e.g. lots of numerical values) -
    length restrictions will influence detail that
    can be given
  • Look at Summaries in your target journal

30
Choosing your title
  • Check styles in the journal, using some published
    papers as examples. Some options for style
  • Descriptions, e.g. Estimation of phosphorus
    fertilizer requirements of wheat in southern
    Australia
  • Descriptions to be avoided Effects of. e.g.
    Effects of applied calcium on salinity tolerance
    of wheat - very general gives little
    information!

31
Choosing your title
  • Check styles in the journal, using some published
    papers as examples. Some options
  • Descriptions, e.g. Estimation of phosphorus
    fertilizer requirements of wheat in southern
    Australia
  • Statements, e.g. Applied calcium can improve
    salinity tolerance of field-grown wheat
  • Two-part descriptions or statements, e.g.
    Ectomycorrhizas of the Myrtaceae fungal
    fruit-body production in forest plantations in
    southern China.
  • To be avoided Ectomycorrhizas of the Myrtaceae.
    1 Fungal fruit-body production etc Part 2 may
    never appear

32
Choosing your title
  • Check styles in the journal, using some published
    papers as examples. Some options
  • Descriptions, e.g. Estimation of phosphorus
    fertilizer requirements of wheat in southern
    Australia
  • Statements, e.g. Applied calcium can improve
    salinity tolerance of field-grown wheat
  • Two-part descriptions or statements, e.g.
    Ectomycorrhizas of the Myrtaceae fungal
    fruit-body production in forest plantations in
    southern China
  • Questions, e.g. Does applied calcium improve
    salinity tolerance of field-grown wheat?
    Possibly can be used if previous literature is
    inconclusive or controversial
  • Check your title after you have finished writing
    the paper can you improve it?

33
Keywords or phrases
  • Usually about 5 (check journal) can be added
    (usually after the Summary) after you have
    written the paper
  • No need to repeat words or phrases in the title,
    unless you like to be absolutely safe computer
    search engines should find keywords in titles
  • Avoid general words or phrases e.g. plant
    nutrition is better than just nutrition, soil
    pollution is better than just pollution etc
  • You can give information not in titles, e.g.
    names of plants studied, additional mineral
    elements measured, even locations of surveys
  • Imagine yourself doing a search for information
    about the field of your paper are your keywords
    helpful?

34
Lists of Tables Figures
  • Table headings Figure captions must stand
    alone say what is shown even if this is
    repetitive, so name plants or soils used, number
    of replicates etc, unless you say Other details
    as for Table 1, or as for Fig. 1)

Tables Figures
  • Each goes on a separate page (usually Tables
    first)
  • Check for clarity and visual impact (no
    cluttering)
  • Include statistical information as appropriate
    (standard errors, superscriptsa,b, or both)
    check journal for preferences
  • Poor quality Tables Figures irritate reviewers
    and editor

35
The last check for quality
  • Read the paper very carefully for inconsistencies
    of style or abbreviations, e.g.
  • - if you defined phosphate as P did you then
    use P or phosphate in the text, or both at
    random?
  • - if you defined P treatments as e.g. P0, P20,
    P40 did you then use these abbreviations
    consistently?
  • - if you used specific Zn uptake did you
    define this term?
  • Check that references are included in the list,
    and that the style in the list is consistent and
    as required by the journal
  • When submitting (online or mailing) what is
    needed? Cover page with title, authors,
    addresses, e-mail of the author for
    correspondence?

Andrew Smith
36
If the article is rejected..
  • Overcome your feelings of humiliation, anger etc.
  • Can the paper be submitted elsewhere without more
    research? If so
  • Can you make the story clearer emphasize better
    why the work is important? Or
  • Is more work needed?
  • If so, is this possible?
  • If you completely rewrite the paper is it
    possible to resubmit (new submission) to the
    original journal? (Write to the editor to ask)

37
Writing English-language science articles
  • Part 1 writing the article
  • Part 2 afterwards (dealing with reviews and the
    journal editor)
  • Part 3 writing Science English some hints

Andrew Smith
38
How to increase the chance of success
  • Select a suitable target journal and use its
    style
  • Emphasize the aims of your research
  • Make clear that it is novel (new, original) and
    important
  • Present only relevant results (use good
    statistics)
  • Make your story consistent throughout the paper
  • Write well-constructed Introduction and
    Discussion sections
  • Give an attractive Title and Abstract (Summary)
  • Write correct English as much as possible!
  • These are the take-home messages in Part 1

39
The Editors first impressions
  • Common style problems
  • The text is too small (e.g. 10 point, single
    space)
  • There is no cover page (title, authors
    addresses)
  • The Tables and Figures are poor
  • References are not in the correct style
  • The English is poor
  • If there are many of these problems the Editor
    may return the paper without sending out to
    reviewers (referees)
  • Other issues
  • The paper is not suitable for the journal
  • The paper is not important enough high-ranked
    journals

40
Reviewers reports common criticisms
  • The paper is too long
  • The Summary does not accurately summarise the
    results
  • The Introduction is not well focused is too
    broad
  • The Methods section does not describe all methods
  • The sampling method is unclear
  • The statistical treatment is unclear or
    inadequate
  • Results are duplicated in Tables, Figures and
    text
  • Not all Tables or Figures are needed
  • The Discussion does not focus on the results
  • The authors have not cited all relevant
    literature
  • The English needs much attention
  • These criticisms may result in the paper being
    rejected or requiring major revision. Most can
    often be covered by revision, if the editor
    decides to allow this.

41
Editors decisions
  • Accept without change
  • Accept after minor revision
  • Might be acceptable, subject to major revision
  • Reject, but encourage re-submission
  • Reject
  • Individual journals dont usually use both of
    these they can be considered as alternatives

42
Returning the paper after revision
  • Include a covering letter that lists the
    reviewers comments (or copies of the reports
    with criticisms numbered)
  • Say how you have dealt with major issues, one by
    one
  • Indicate other changes that you have made minor
    text changes have been made
  • If you think that the reviewer is wrong, say so
    (but politely)!
  • Thank the editor and (unknown) reviewers for
    their helpful suggestions
  • Say that you believe that the paper is now
    greatly improved and that you hope it is now
    acceptable
  • There is a high chance that a paper that the
    editor decided might be acceptable subject to
    revision will now be accepted but check the
    new material ( English) very carefully!

43
Major reasons why papers are rejected
  • The paper is unsuitable for this journal
  • The work does not seem important enough for this
    journal
  • The purpose of the work is not at all clear
  • The work does not appear original
  • There are major errors in calculations
  • Too few samples have been taken
  • There are major errors in experimental design
  • More work is required for the research to be
    publishable
  • The work needs rewriting, and only as a short
    communication

44
After rejection
  • Overcome your feelings of humiliation, anger etc.
  • Can the paper be submitted elsewhere without more
    research? If so
  • Can you make the story clearer emphasize better
    why the work is important? Or
  • Is more work needed?
  • If so, is this possible?
  • If you completely rewrite the paper is it
    possible to resubmit (new submission) to the
    original journal? (Write to the editor to ask)

45
The take-home messages again
  • Select a suitable target journal and use its
    style
  • Emphasize the aims of your research
  • Make clear that it is novel (new, original) and
    important
  • Present only relevant results (use good
    statistics)
  • Make your story follow the aims throughout the
    paper
  • Write well-constructed Introduction and
    Discussion sections
  • Give an attractive Title and Abstract (Summary)
  • Write correct English as much as possible!

46
English
  • is a difficult language for scientific writing.
    Some hints
  • Verb tenses
  • Use the present tense for established facts,
    e.g.
  • - Addition of calcium usually lowers NaCl
    toxicity.
  • - Most tropical forest trees are mycorrhizal
    (Janos 1995).
  • Use the past (imperfect) tense to describe
    results that may not be general, e.g. Brown
    Jones (2002) found that phosphate uptake by maize
    was not decreased by addition of arsenic.
  • In the Results use the past tense (were, or
    was), e.g. Arsenic uptake was higher at lower
    P levels (Fig. 1). Or Plant dry weight
    depended on soil Zn levels (Experiment 1).
  • BUT Table 1 (or Fig. 1 etc) shows that

47
Science English compound noun phrases
  • - Common in scientific writing, e.g.
  • phosphate or P uptake for uptake of
    phosphorus P
  • root weight not roots weight for weight
    of the roots
  • day temperature for temperature during the
    day
  • Mycorrhiza-specific P transporter for a
    transporter for P that is only found in
    mycorrhizas. etc
  • However, use adjectives where they exist, e.g.
  • environmental conditions not environment
    conditions
  • fungal biomass not fungus biomass
  • analytical method not analysis method etc

48
Sample Summary noun phrases verb tenses
  • Assunçao et al. (2003). Differential
    metal-specific tolerance and accumulation
    patterns among Thlaspi caerulescens populations
    from different soil types. New Phytologist 159
    411-419 slightly modified.
  • Thlaspi caerulescens populations from contrasting
    soil types (serpentine, calamine and
    nonmetalliferous) were characterized with regard
    to tolerance, uptake and translocation of zinc
    (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) in hydroponic
    culture.
  • High-level tolerances were apparently
    metal-specific and confined to the metals that
    were enriched at toxic levels in the soil at the
    population site.
  • With regard to metal accumulation, results
    suggested that, unlike Zn hyperaccumulation, Cd
    and Ni hyperaccumulation were not constitutive at
    the species level in T. caerulescens.
  • In general, the populations exhibited a
    pronounced uncorrelated and metal-specific
    variation in uptake, root to shoot translocation,
    and tolerance of Zn, Cd and Ni. The distinct
    intraspecific variation of these characters
    provides excellent opportunities for further
    genetic and physiological dissection of the
    hyperaccumulation trait.

49
Science English avoiding repetition
  • Unnecessary repetition is common, e.g.
  • Roots of the rice plants grew very poorly in the
    presence of As. Roots of the rice plants grew
    much better when P was added to the nutrient
    solution.
  • If the paper is entirely about rice there is no
    need to say rice plants.
  • No need to repeat the detail at the beginning of
    the second sentence. The following is OK
  • Roots grew very poorly in the presence of As.
    They grew much better when P was added to the
    nutrient solution. Or
  • Roots grew very poorly in the presence of As, but
    grew much better when P was added to the nutrient
    solution.

50
Science English articles
  • The definite article the and the indefinite
    article a, an
  • The is used to refer to a particular
    (definite) object or situation (or particular
    objects or situations), e.g.
  • - The journal needs a statement certifying that
    all the authors have been consulted and agree
    with the paper as submitted.
  • - The roots grew much better when P was added
    to the nutrient solution.
  • A or an is used for one of many possible
    objects or situations it is not used for plural
    indefinite nouns, e.g.
  • - Phosphorus is an essential element for
    pIants.
  • - Soil pH is a major variable and can stress...
    .
  • There are other essential elements and
    variables.

51
Articles complications
  • They are often omitted, e.g.
  • - The journal needs a statement certifying that
    all authors have been consulted and agree with
    the paper as submitted. All authors means all
    the authors of this paper the other thes must
    remain.
  • - Roots grew much better when P was added to
    the nutrient solution (Fig. 1). Roots refers
    to the roots in the experiment not roots of all
    plants in the world.
  • - Soil pH is one of the important environmental
    variables that affect plant growth.
  • Here it is understood that soil pH and
    growth are general properties the
    important is there because some variables are
    less important.

52
Sample Summary
  • Assunçao et al. (2003). Differential
    metal-specific tolerance and accumulation
    patterns among Thlaspi caerulescens populations
    from different soil types. New Phytologist 159
    411-419. No articles
  • Thlaspi caerulescens populations from contrasting
    soil types (serpentine, calamine and
    nonmetalliferous) were characterized with regard
    to tolerance, uptake and translocation of zinc
    (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni) in hydroponic
    culture. No articles
  • High-level tolerances were apparently
    metal-specific and confined to the metals that
    were enriched at toxic levels in the soil at the
    population site.
  • With regard to metal accumulation, results
    suggested that, unlike Zn hyperaccumulation, Cd
    and Ni hyperaccumulation were not constitutive at
    the species level in T. caerulescens.
  • In general, the populations exhibited a
    pronounced uncorrelated and metal-specific
    variation in uptake, root to shoot translocation,
    and tolerance of Zn, Cd and Ni. The distinct
    intraspecific variation of these characters
    provides excellent opportunities for further
    genetic and physiological dissection of the
    hyperaccumulation trait.

53
Science English singulars and plurals
  • The more complicated the sentences, the more
    difficult it is to get them right, e.g.
  • - Soil pH is one of the important environmental
    variables that affect plant growth. is
    (singular) and affect (plural) refer to the
    singular and plural nouns pH and variables.
  • - The journal needs a statement certifying that
    all authors have been consulted and agree with
    the paper as submitted. needs (singular),
    refers to journal have agree (plural)
    refer to authors
  • - The high arsenic content of the soils
    collected from mine sites in northern China was
    responsible for the poor plant growth. was is
    correct because it refers to content, singular.

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Science English connections
  • Connecting words phrases - use with care
  • Do not start paragraphs (or sentences) with
    And, But, Meanwhile, As for etc.
  • Use but, However, Although, In contrast,
    etc to foreshadow a change or difference in
    emphasis.
  • Examples
  • Smith (2002) showed..., but Jones (2003) showed
    something else
  • Smith (2002) showed... however, Jones (2003)
    showed something else or
  • Smith showed.. However, Jones - depends on
    sentence length.
  • Although Smith (2002) showed..., Jones (2003)
    showed something else
  • Phosphate uptake by wheat was decreased when As
    was present. In contrast, P uptake by barley was
    not decreased by As.

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Science English connections
  • Use Therefore, Thus, Hence, Further,
    Furthermore etc to foreshadow agreement or
    continuation of the same theme.
  • Examples
  • At the end of several sentences about Cd
    toxicity. and lastly it was found that the
    soils contained very high levels of Cd. It is
    therefore or thus likely that this was the
    cause of the human health problems. Or - Hence,
    it is likely that
  • Soils in the area around the mines were very
    high in Cd, Ni and Pb. Furthermore, As levels in
    the soils were unexpectedly high. In contrast,
    soils from control sites did not contain etc.
  • Avoid over-use of then. Do not say Plants
    were harvested. Then roots and shoots were
    separated, then weighed and then dried. You can
    say After plants were harvested, roots and
    shoots were separated, dried and weighed. Or
    for longer procedures, use lists Plants were 1)
    2) 3) etc
  • Look in journals for useful sentence templates

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The take-home messages again
  • Select a suitable target journal and use its
    style
  • Emphasize the aims of your research
  • Make clear that it is novel (new, original) and
    important
  • Present only relevant results (use good
    statistics)
  • Make your story follow the aims throughout the
    paper
  • Write well-constructed Introduction and
    Discussion sections
  • Give an attractive Title and Abstract (Summary)
  • Write correct English as much as possible!
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