However, moving into more difficult classes and begining research, in general writing becomes a significant part of what we as science students do. There’s writing papers, presentations, and grant proposals, as well as articles should you wish to publicize your findings for the masses. All of these forms require different skills, and are an integral part of the scientific process.
But scientific writing differs significantly from many other kinds of academic writing. The most important thing to remember when writing scientifically is to be concise. Sometimes, we have the tendency to cram in fancy terminology and complicated sentences, but in general writing seems tighter and we seem most knowledgeable when the reader can actually understand what we’ve written. So stating things directly and avoiding using complicated words without defining them is important when your subject matter is already difficult to understand as it is.
Another important thing to remember is the use of passive tense. In general, it is better to avoid using first person pronouns (I, we, us) in a scientific paper, and the best way to do this is passive tense, which puts the indirect object at the head of the sentence. Consider the following example:
Active: We then separated the mixture.
Passive: The mixture was then separated.
Passive voice places the verb at the end, and removes the need for the “we” altogether.
Hopefully this advice can help you with all that writing you were trying to avoid!
- Joanna Slusarewicz